Bernie Sanders talks fixing the Democratic party and handling Trump with Stephen Colbert

Bernie Sanders talks fixing the Democratic party and handling Trump with Stephen Colbert

As much as some Americans would like to see Bernie Sanders as our president-elect — and no, it's not possible — we're going to have to deal with Donald Trump for at least four years. Speaking with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, Sanders offered his assessment on what the Democratic party needs to do following its surprise loss to Trump, who will also have GOP control of the Senate and the House. 

"What it would say is that Democratic Party cannot be continued to be run by, what I call, the 'liberal elite,'" Sanders said. "Good-meaning people — they're not my enemies, they're partners of ours. But the party has got to transform itself to be a party ... that feels the pain of working-class people, of the middle-class, of low-income people, of young people, brings people into the party." 

Sanders was also quick to note that there were still a lot of Americans who support the party, citing Hillary Clinton's win in the popular vote over Trump. To that end, he's entering the White House with a low approval rating among Americans. 

"Please do not think all of the people who voted for Donald Trump agree with his sentiments about women or African-Americans or his rejection of the science regarding climate change," he added. "But for a variety of reasons they did end up voting for him. Our job now, in my view, is to figure out how we create an effective opposition." 

Colbert then probed Sanders on what the best- and worst-case scenarios would be under a Trump presidency. The good news is that Trump has constantly flip-flopped on important issues — in his 60 Minutes interview, for example, he noted that he wanted to keep some of the positive aspects of Obamacare. "Trump is not an ideologue," Sanders added. 

The worst case, however, is a lot more grim. Sanders explained that with Republicans controlling the House, Senate and at least one Supreme Court seat, they could "change the rules of the game." 

"If you do those things — unleash billionaires to buy elections, make it hard for millions of people to participate — [Republicans] think they can control this government indefinitely," he said. 

"Our job is to bring tens of millions of people together to say, number one, this country is not an oligarchy — it's a democracy," Sanders concluded. "And number two, you're not going to split us up by attacking our Muslim friends or our gay friends or women or anybody else. We're going to stand together and fight for a government and an economy that works for all of us." 

Watch the second half of Sanders' Late Show interview below: 

Correction: Nov. 15, 2016
A previous version of this story misquoted Bernie Sanders. He said people should not think that everyone who voted for Donald Trump agrees with "his rejection of the science regarding climate change."