Bernie Sanders on Ellen (FULL) from Dennis Molema on Vimeo.

After winning the people’s choice in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, underdog presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stopped by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to review the plight of the American poor and middle class with the daytime talk show host’s 3.9 million-viewer audience (and to disco dance).

Many of DeGeneres’ viewers would likely be inclined to support Sanders’ main rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, in the absence of a more compelling candidate.

Levity is not a register we’re accustomed to in the senator from Vermont, whose campaign appearances and congressional speeches traditionally involve fiery condemnations of “the billionaire class,” delivered as if from a pulpit. But seated next to DeGeneres, a more playful and conversational Sanders answered a series of questions that included which Republican candidate he’d choose to be stranded with on a desert island, what he’d be called were he a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and whether or not he’d ever been in handcuffs.

But soon enough he got serious. After thanking DeGeneres “for the very positive energy you provide to the American people,” he framed the predicament facing Americans as follows:

This country today faces enormous challenges. … Our middle class is disappearing, we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, the highest rate of childhood poverty. Our infrastructure is collapsing. We are the only major country on earth that doesn’t provide family and medical leave, the only major country that doesn’t provide health care at all. Those are the issues that we should be talking about. And I get sick and tired of people doing nothing else but attacking people for all kinds of crazy reasons. So we need to have serious conversations in this country about the real issues facing us.

DeGeneres responded: “I agree with you that it’s a crazy divide between the extreme wealth and the poverty, and the fact that there are children going to sleep at night without eating.”

Later she added: “You are such a unique guy, and I think that’s why people are responding to you. … You’re not like the politicians that people are used to hearing, and you are saying things that is [sic] resonating to a lot of people.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.