Bernie Sanders Schools Chris Matthews On Making Change

WATCH: Bernie Sanders Schools Chris Matthews On How To Make Change (VIDEO)

On Thursday, Bernie Sanders got together with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and an audience of college students at the University of Chicago. What happened next is not for the faint of heart. But if you’ve ever wanted to see the notoriously cross-grained Hardball host get out-curmudgeoned, then what follows is your dream come true.

Chris Matthews meets his match in Bernie Sanders.

What cranky old Chris Matthews wants to know is, how can Bernie Sanders make that whole hopey-changey thing work in Washington, when President Barack Obama tried and failed. But for the senator from Vermont, the answer is simple: Despite Obama’s mandate from voters, he tried to reach across the aisle and work with Republican lawmakers. If Bernie Sanders wins, he won’t make that mistake again: Instead, he’ll bypass them and go straight to the people who voted him (and them) into office.

It took a while for Bernie Sanders to get this through Chris Matthews’ thick skull, yet he firmly-but-graciously refused to let Matthews shout him down. For the first 10 minutes of their 14-minutes-and-24-seconds chat, Matthews kept acknowledging that Bernie Sanders’ agenda has merit, and then asking how the hell Sanders will get the 60 votes he’ll need from the Senate to pass anything. And Sanders kept patiently (okay, not-always-so-patiently) explaining that he won’t: He’ll encourage voters to pressure their lawmakers into passing his bills instead.

“You are asking me how you make change. And I’m telling you, you make change not by sitting down with Mitch McConnell. You make change when millions of people in this country demand change. That’s the way change has always happened.”

When Sanders mentioned his proposal to make public colleges tuition-free, Chris Matthews turned three shades of purple while ranting about how rich people would never go for that because — unlike marriage equality — tuition-free college degrees would cost them money. Bernie Sanders countered:

“Chris, Chris, you and I look at the world differently. You look at it inside the Beltway. I’m not an inside-the-Beltway guy. I am an outside-the-beltway guy.” 

“But,” Matthews sputtered, “”the people who vote on taxes are inside the Beltway.” Bernie Sanders is having none of that: As far as he’s concerned, if voters work together and demand what’s fair, lawmakers will be forced to grant it, or get voted out. And by golly, Sanders will use his presidential bully pulpit to make that happen.

“And those people are going to vote the right way when millions of people demand that they vote the right way. On this issue, I have no doubt that — as president of the United States — I can rally young people and their parents to say that if Germany does it, Scandinavia does it, countries around the world do it, we can do it. We bailed out Wall Street, it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class.”

So now we know: If Bernie Sanders wins the White House, he won’t change what he’s doing one bit: He’ll keep speaking at rallies, drawing crowds, and turning up the heat. Good for him.

Watch Bernie Sanders school Chris Matthews on how we change business-as-usual in Washington.

Full video with Bernie Sanders and Chris Matthews on MSNBC (14 minutes, 24 seconds)

Featured image: Video screen grab/MSNBC.

Elisabeth Parker is a writer, web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante.