- Van Jonesco-founder of #cut50, a national bipartisan initiative to reduce the U.S.'s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years. He was President Barack Obama's green jobs adviser in 2009 and founded Green for All. He is also a CNN political commentator.
Following victories by Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz in Wisconsin, the candidates are turning their attention to the major contest next week: the New York primary. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are slated to square off for a debate in New York on April 14, ahead of the April 19 primary. We speak with Van Jones, CNN political commentator, about the Democratic showdown.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask about this closed primary. I mean, you have a lot of people who’ve gotten extremely excited about this primary, after the debates and the primaries and the caucuses, when it looked like there was a real contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. But the chance to switch affiliation from independent, which is the big draw that Bernie Sanders has, to Democrat was back in October, before all of that started.
VAN JONES: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Is there a concern there around this?
VAN JONES: Well, definitely. And all these deformities and deficiencies in our electoral system always come into sharp relief. Usually, by this time, Wisconsin doesn’t matter, New York doesn’t matter, the whole thing’s wrapped up. Why is that not the case in this moment? Because the second Sanders surge is a real thing. He’s gone to victory after victory after victory. He was able to raise $43 million last month, when he should have been out of the race by normal standards.
AMY GOODMAN: Compared to Hillary Clinton’s $29.5 [million].
VAN JONES: Compared to Hillary—and Hillary Clinton’s—53 percent of her voters—her donors are already matched out—maxed out. They can’t give any more; they’ve already given so much. Three percent of Bernie’s are. That gives you a sense of the broad base of working-class people giving three bucks, 10 bucks, 30 bucks. And yet, because of the way this thing was structured, most of the races were in the South, where Hillary Clinton was going to win, and you do have these barriers to participation.
That said, this is the war to settle the score. New York City is the capital of the world. You have now these two titanic forces inside the Democratic Party clashing on the world stage here in New York City. Every single progressive, every single young person of color or people who care about these issues has a chance to do things that matter in the next two weeks. And I don’t think that we should just assume that because Hillary Clinton has—this is her third declared home state, between Arkansas and Illinois, that Bernie Sanders and other progressive forces can’t be heard from here in a way that matters.