Day 6

'The bold bet is the safe bet': Bernie Sanders impersonator believes the senator has a shot at the 2020 ticket

When James Adomian started his act as Bernie Sanders, he wasn't sure that it would actually connect with audiences. But when support for the senator for Vermont skyrocketed, he had to punch up his set.

The third Democratic caucuses are taking place this weekend in Nevada

James Adomian attends the 2019 Politicon as Bernie Sanders. Adomian started his Sanders impersonation ahead of the 2016 election when the Vermont senator faced Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. (Ed Rode/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders impersonator James Adomian is, perhaps unsurprisingly, feeling the "Bern."

While Sanders might be considered "radical" by some political standards, the New York-based comedian believes he's needed now, more than ever — and that "the bold bet is the safe bet."

"I believe that we're in a situation that is more like the early 1900s than anything in living memory," Adomian told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.

As candidates head into the Nevada Democratic caucuses on Saturday, following previous caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders has taken a strong lead, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll.

But with big name Democratic contenders in the race, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the competition is fierce.

That hasn't deterred Adomian, who started his act as Sanders ahead of the 2016 election, when the senator from Vermont faced off against eventual Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

WATCH: When Bernie Sanders met Bernie Sanders

'A bigger movement'

Adomian is an unabashed supporter of the presidential hopeful. When he first started his Bernie standup act, he wasn't sure that it would actually work.

"For the first couple of shows I did, my comedic angle was kind of like: 'This isn't going to work, but here we are,'" he said. "I thought it was going to be that kind of like a protest candidacy."

Then, as support for Sanders gained steam, Adomian says he had to change up the act quickly.

"I realized all this is a bigger movement than I even realized, as someone who liked him very much."

Sanders has gained significant support in his bid for the Democratic nomination, particularly among younger voters. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Indeed, Sanders has gained wide appeal, including from young voters who are optimistic about the 78-year-old's brand of democratic socialism.

Adomian believes that while those ideas — like universal healthcare and eliminating student debt — may seem radical to some, many voters are ready.

"There's a divide between what the media, powerful corporate media wants to say is possible in American politics and what the people are ready for," he said.

But beyond his ideas, Adomian says that Sanders's strength lies in his ability to communicate effectively both in his language and his body language — which the comedian is happy to work into his routine.

"There's the hands, there's the hand motions, there's the, you know, the gesticulations and so forth," Adomian said, emphasizing the words in Sanders's trademark gravelly, New York accent.

'He's a loud New Yorker'

As the primaries continue, Adomian has taken his show on the road alongside comedian Anthony Atamanuik in Trump v. Bernie: The Debate.

Since 1988, the non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates has organized debates. According to the New York Times, advisors to U.S. President Donald Trump met with the organization to complain about the 2016 debates.

Trump has said that he would skip this year's presidential debates unless a new group is established to oversee the events.

Adomian, left, is pictured with comedian Anthony Atamanuik, right. The pair are on tour for their show Trump v. Bernie: The Debate. (Ed Rode/Getty Images)

Adomian doubts Trump would duck the debates, saying that he would be "booed by the entire country." But if he is up against Sanders onstage, Adomian says Trump would be "clobbered." 

"Bernie is a New Yorker. He's a loud New Yorker," he said. 

"Donald Trump, like Bloomberg, represents everything Bernie wants to run against: the billionaire who has pushed us all around and bullied us too much."

Written by Jason Vermes, segment produced by Pedro Sanchez.

To hear the full interview with James Adomian, download our podcast or click Listen above.


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