​What makes Bernie Sanders run?

Bernie Sanders: Calling for political revolut... 08:07

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is riding a wave of support that may be surprising to a lot of people, though perhaps not so surprising to the people in his political base , Burlington, Vermont, which is where our Jim Axelrod caught up with him:

The striking thing about Bernie Sanders is not that he's a man whose time has come. It's that he's been waiting so long for his time to get here.

He's even learned to take selfies. "Oh, God!" he laughed. "I can't walk down the street without selfies, yes!"

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Sanders on the campaign trail in 2015 sounds, word for word, verbatim what he was talking about in nearly 30 years ago. "We need to radically change the priorities of this nation," he told "60 Minutes" back in 1988. "We have the wealth to provide a decent standard of living for all our people."

"More and more Americans are catching on to what I have been talking about for decades," he said.

Axelrod asked, "Do you feel a little bit of satisfaction? Like, 'Suddenly you people are listening?' Were you waiting for America to catch up with you?"

"Well, I'm glad that it's happening," he laughed.

After 40 years of trying to gain traction with his message, Sanders, the 74-year-old Democratic Socialist Senator and former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, is suddenly dancing with Ellen ...

... and being parodied on "Saturday Night Live" by dead-ringer Larry David:

And yes, Sanders, heard about the sketch. "Who didn't tell me? Like, I heard from 20 different people."

Did he laugh? "Yeah, very funny."

He's now running neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by calling for a revolution:

"The only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution, when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires."

"'Political revolution' -- that's a big term," said Axelrod.

"Look, in the last election, Jim, 63 percent of the American people didn't vote. Eighty percent of young people didn't vote. Big money is increasingly buying political elections.

Bernie Sanders on what Americans really want 02:04

"A political revolution means that we involve tens of millions of people int he political process today to stand up and fight for their rights, to stop the disappearance of the American middle class, and say that our government belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors."

"I'm just wondering if you're misreading what it is the American people want."

"I'm not. Check out the polls!"

"I know how much you love conventional wisdom -- in May, when you say, 'Hey, I'm gonna do this,' conventional wisdom holds, 'Senator Sanders is a fringe candidate. He's a Socialist. He's not gonna get any traction.'"


"Now here we are, and it looks like you got a little more traction than the experts thought you would. Why?"

"'Cause you and the punditry and the corporate media, you know, have a view of the world which I think is very out of touch with what the American people are feeling."

"You really don't like us?"

Bernie Sanders: "Socialist" is not a dirty wo... 01:17

"No, no, it's not a question of not liking you. I like you. You're a very nice guy!" Sanders said. "What corporate media is about is very often deflecting attention away from the most significant issues facing our country and giving us entertainment all the time.

"And I get upset that media, by and large. is more interested in dumb things that somebody says, or how much money I'm raising. No one cares about that. We gotta focus on the real issues facing America."

If Sanders is the Junior Senator from Vermont, his matter-of-fact style is all Brooklyn, where he was born and raised among working-class immigrants , many of them Jews like himself, whose families had fled discrimination in Europe.