Moments before interviewing Bernie Sanders live on YouTube channel The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur took the time to talk with me about politics and embracing social media platforms as a way to enact change.
I started by asking him what it takes to get more young people actively engaged in political discourse. As the most diverse generation in US history and currently representing more than a quarter of the population, to think Millennials don't influence American politics would be a gross misunderstanding.
However, combatting apathy and encouraging young people to actively participate is another problem altogether. On this point, Uygur says,
The key to reaching Millennials is authenticity. That's what Bernie Sanders has captured.
Young voters aren't looking for your average politician to saunter into the Oval Office and continue perpetuating the norm -- that much is very clear. Uygur says,
A lot of people in Washington look at Bernie Sanders and think 'This is a guy who has no chance of winning because he's not a smooth politician.' They're missing it entirely. That's exactly why he's resonating with Millennials... He's a guy who tells it like it is. He's been saying the same thing for 40 years. He's honest, he's authentic and that's why it's working.
His advice for getting involved? "Just do it."
So far, this presidential election season has been like none other. Between Bernie Sanders making unlikely wins and Donald Trump terrifying us all, never before have campaigns been so unpredictable. That's exactly why I asked Uygur to predict who's realistically going to win and ultimately become our next president.
He said he exercises caution when making predictions of this nature because all good ones should be based on solid facts. While he "doesn't just make them up to have fun" and all the different variables make a prediction difficult, Uygur had this to say:
I thought Bernie Sanders would do really well and he has. Is he going to win? Yet to be determined. But right now, if you're looking at just the odds, Hillary Clinton has a better chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
That being said, Uygur firmly believes "anything can happen." He brought up the excellent point that there is still time for new candidates to enter the race. As unprecedented as that may be, he says,
I'm not convinced that we have all the general election candidates yet. So, someone who's not even in the race right now might be the next president. This is not a normal election.
And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, don't believe them. Uygur says,
If anybody thinks they know exactly what's going to happen, they're BS-ing you because the facts are not in yet.
I was too curious to know, though, who the surprise general election candidates could be, and luckily, Uygur humored me with these educated guesses:
It could be Jesse Ventura, Bloomberg... Mitt Romney? Paul Ryan? Or someone we couldn't possibly imagine.
That leaves a lot up in the air, which is why now is a more crucial time than ever for people -- young and old -- to get involved in politics. For people who are still on the fence when it comes to deciding between Hillary and Bernie, Uygur believes the answer should be clear. He says,
Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate, steady as we go. There's a reason why people would vote for that... If you don't want a lot of change and you think things are pretty good, well, Hillary Clinton will be a pretty good steward of the current system as it is.
But if you're looking for things to change in a significant way, Uygur says,
It's a no-brainer. Go Bernie Sanders.
Cenk Uygur is known for being an early adopter of social media and a savvy predictor of political movements. He established one of the first video news shows on the Internet and predicted Bernie Sanders was going to run for president back in 2008.
When I asked him if he knew of any technological tools we don't already know about but should be using, he surprised me by saying,
Probably not. [laughs] The great irony is that even though we are the first people to do daily streaming and we've been doing it for 10 years. We were the first on Facebook, YouTube, Facebook Live, all these things -- me as a person, I'm a bit of a tech spaz.
While Uygur admits he won't be the first to find out about an app, there is one hurdle we all have to get past when it comes to expressing our opinions and recording live videos (which he's all about, obviously). Uygur wants everyone to know,
It's alright, dude. Just do it in your hat. Do it unshaven. Do it at home. Do it at a diner. It doesn't matter.
So, for people who are afraid to post a video or report a story because their contouring isn't on fleek, Uygur says,
You're never going to get on the road that way. Just throw it up and let's go.
There you have it, folks. Get out there, get involved and make change happen. It's now or never.
You can find clips from Cenk Uygur's live interview with Bernie Sanders here.