Breaking Down the Bernie Sanders & Killer Mike Video Series
Despite an ongoing media blackout against him, Bernie Sanders is still winning over the hearts and minds of voters across the country. His decades-long stance on issues and fervor for change has inspired a new political revolution that’s making people #FeelTheBern—including one half of the rap duo Run The Jewels. That’s right: Killer Mike gave one of the most passionate endorsement speeches we’ve ever seen last month at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 people.
“I have said in many a rap, I don’t trust the church or the government, a Democrat, Republican, a pope, a bishop or those other men,” he said to the crowd. “But, after spending five hours tonight, after spending five hours with someone who has spent the last 50 years radically fighting for your rights and mine, I can tell you that am very proud tonight to announce the next president of the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders.”
We thought that was it, but then Christmas came early and Killer Mike became the gift that keeps on giving. Today, December 15th, he dropped a six-part interview with the Internet’s fav white-haired, 73-year-old democratic socialist that took place in Mike’s barbershop–appropriately called The SWAG Shop. Here’s what we learned—broken down video by video.
After bonding over chickens raised in backyards in their respective home states of Georgia and Vermont, Mike and Bernie got down to business by talking about the tenants of socialism and capitalism. It all comes down to a livable minimum wage that doesn’t involve working incredibly long hours a week. Issues that range from youth crime, livable conditions, and education come back to the fact that the minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour. That’s just as crazy as learning that the two men met because of a tweet that Mike sent out to Bernie.
Quote That: “In the richest country in the history of the world, we should not be having the highest level of childhood poverty of any every major country on Earth.”
2 Chainz once released a poetic song called “I’m Different” that was about—you guessed it—being different. This second part of the video series takes a page from the anthem, and gives Bernie a chance to say why he’s different from all the rest of the politicians he’s running against. After getting 2% of the votes during his first election bid in 1972 and then 1% the year after that, he didn’t give up. He kept trying and eventually became the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Now he’s fighting back against the greedy subset of Americans who are taking the income they make as heads of companies or corporations, by evading taxes and moving business overseas. By the end of the talk, it’s clear that the American mindset has become more “Get Rich or Die Tryin” than “We’re All In This Together,” and that has to change if we are going to end the stranglehold of wealth inequality that America has become known for.
Quote That: “I think it’s fair to say my political career is different from everybody else’s because I didn’t get into politics to figure out how I could become President or a Senator. I got into politics because I give a damn.”
“A Rigged Economy”
Mike brought Hillary into the conversation to talk the danger of establishing political monarch families like the Clintons and the Bush fam, while Bernie set his target on billionaires like the Koch brothers who can literally buy campaigns because of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The political revolutionary also reminded Mike of his plan to bring more money to all Americans, and that Wall Street and corporate donors who rig the system are not here for his brand of democratic socialism. The conversation moved from media blackout on the rigged economy, to Bernie’s early days campaigning with SNCC and Martin Luther King, Jr. Yeah, Bernie has OG civil rights cred, and that matters because that is what the ruling class always does: divide and conquer. Bernie is trying to bring everyone together—and he’s doing it with Killer Mike.
Quote That: “Yeah we broke down segregation at a lunch counter. What the hell difference does it mean if you can’t afford the hamburger–if you can’t afford to send your kid to school.”
“Free Health Care: It Ain’t a Big Deal”
The talk moved from civil rights to medical rights, as Mike and Bernie got real about the universal healthcare that you can find in Canada, the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, France, and so many other countries. It isn’t a radical idea yet the United States remains one of the few places where you can go bankrupt paying for medical emergencies. That’s crazier, but what’s crazier is this big complicated mess called the prison industrial complex. Mike’s identity as a black man means that he, from birth, he was more likely to go to prison than go to college. In fact, there are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. It all comes from a racial disparity that stems from a failed drug war and ends with discrimination post-prison in job placement, voting, and housing.
Quote That: “You have people in this community trying to get by on $12-13K a year. Why in god’s name would someone stay up nights trying to cut their Social Security benefits? Cut their Medicare and Medicaid benefits? That’s pretty pathetic.”
“This Country Was Started as an Act of Political Protest”
Mike wants people to get off their asses and vote because people put blood, sweat, and tears into making sure we have that right. We agree with that and so does Bernie. Fist bumps and hearing Bernie say “crapping on people” brought out the realness about the origins of political protest that helped shape America and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. Bernie famously got interrupted months ago by protesters and respectfully listened, while at a Trump rally, a black activist was beaten up. Mike goes off on the terrifying Mussolini and Hitler vibes he’s getting from the GOP front-runner. Oh, and Mike revealed that he says “fuck Trump” to crowds in Mexico City and to Jesus Christ.
Quote That: “Obviously this country faces enormous problems. Obviously the political system is decked on behalf of the wealthy, but that doesn’t mean you walk away from it. It means you engage and fight back.”
“Democrats Win When People Vote”
The video interview ends on a high note, not with talk about marijuana (that happened earlier), but with an endorsement and an affirmation that Bernie truly has the chance to win. Obama’s brilliant grassroots campaign was historic. But, at this point in the campaign, Bernie has more individual campaign contributors than any other politician in American history—even more than Obama. The Bernie Sanders campaign is generating excitement. That’s an undeniable fact. With that said, the end of the interview turns to Bernie’s questionable gun rights record—an issue that has marred an otherwise on-point political platform.
They agree on background checks, but disagree with the freedom to buy assault rifles. In the wake of a year of intense and persistent mass shootings, gun control has become one of the biggest issues in the country and it’s an issue that Bernie needs to re-evaluate his stance on. Despite this agreement and the divisiveness of his stance on gun control, this six-part interview has shown that Bernie is a champion for the people that support him, from Killer Mike, Lil B, college students to Republicans. From the SWAG shop to the streets, it’s time to stand up in support of Bernie Sanders.
Quote That: “What anybody who knows anything about politics understands is Democrats win when people vote. Republicans win like they did last year when nobody votes.”
Images and video via Killer Mike and the Associated Press.