Bernie Sanders doesn't have the greatest TV presence. During his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he sat hunched over Colbert's desk, he didn't really make eye contact with the camera, and he certainly didn't ham it up like Donald Trump did on The Tonight Show last week. But his ineptness makes Sanders all the more loveable, particularly because he spent most of his time on The Late Show discussing what matters to him: the issues.
Colbert begins the interview asking Sanders about his success in the polls ("Honestly Stephen, this is what I expected," he says, to enormous cheers.), but things really pick up when Sanders digs into his favorite subject: capitalism. When he starts spouting statistics and dissecting income and taxation inequality (at about 1:53), the passion in Sanders' voice is impossible to miss:
Sanders: Look, clearly we want a society which encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. But what we also want is a society in which all of our people can enjoy a decent standard of living, and not a society in which the very rich get much richer while virtually everybody else gets poorer.
Colbert: But in concrete terms what does that mean, is that like an 80% tax rate, or—
Sanders: In concrete terms, what it means is that it is a moral outrage that the top one-tenth of one percent today owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and that 58 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent. That major corporations making billions of dollars a year, in some cases, don’t pay a nickel in federal taxes. That is the outrage, and that has got to change.
Over the course of the interview, Sanders also discusses the comparisons between himself and Trump, the reason he won't accept "socialist" as an insult, and the commonly held view that he'll never win the primary because he won't hold up against a Republican candidate in the presidential race. Given Colbert's young east-cost studio audience, a cheer follows almost every sentence he says. But he doesn't seem to care—he's too focused on communicating his message.