On this Sunday's broadcast of The Circus on SHOWTIME, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told correspondent John Heilemann it's "likely" he would have won the 2016 U.S. election if he were the Democratic nominee for president.
Sanders is currently on a 'Unity' tour with DNC chairman Tom Perez and DNC vice chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Transcript of the exchange:
JOHN HEILEMANN: You obviously recognize the power of populism in a way that Hillary Clinton didn't and a lot of other people didn't in American politics last year. Were you surprised on election day?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: If you allow me, I know this word populism is floated around a lot. What I recognized was pain. All over this country people are hurting and they are hurting very badly. Trump understood that, by the way, and that's why he said, 'The whole system sucks. I'm going to blow it up.'
Well, it turns out he lied.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Do you think had you been the Democratic nominee that you would have beaten Donald Trump?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Who knows. I mean --
JOHN HEILEMANN: Really?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I mean, yeah, I think it's likely, but you never know.
As you well know I am not into speculating, it doesn't matter.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Well it matters a little bit.