The 77-year-old Vermont senator and the 26-year-old Bronx rapper met at a Detroit nail salon in July to film a video for the former’s 2020 presidential campaign, and on Tuesday, she released a clip of their interview discussing the minimum wage. Surprised? You shouldn’t be — Cardi B has been weighing in on politics, and feeling the Bern, for quite some time.
Cardi and Bernie discussed various issues, including student debt and climate change, for the video filmed at TEN Nail Bar last month, according to CNN. Sanders told the outlet that it was part of his push to “involve more young people in the political process” who are voting in large numbers, but there are still not enough.
Their full conversation will be released on Thursday, but Cardi B teased a preview of their chat on wages.
“What are we going to do about wages in America?” she asked Sanders, recalling how hard it was for her to make ends meet before becoming famous.
“That is an excellent and important question, because right now, we have tens of millions of people who are earning what I consider to be starvation wages. Can you imagine somebody today earning $9 an hour?” Sanders replied.
“It don’t make no sense,” Cardi B said.
In a separate Instagram post in July, Cardi B thanked Sanders for meeting with her in and said he had answered questions she had gathered from her followers previously. “Stay tuned to see how he will fight for economic, racial, and social justice for all. Together, let’s build a movement of young people to transform this country,” she wrote.
While Cardi B clearly has her favorite candidate picked — more on that later — she’s also making a broader push for people to pay attention to the primary. In a separate video on Instagram, she called on bloggers, YouTubers, and influencers to get educated on the race.
“We get distracted with people putting Trump on blast, like CNN constantly putting Trump on blast for the evil shit he has been committing in this country, because he puts things on Twitter that distract us from all the bullshit that he actually be doing. So instead of us posting the little bullshit that he be posting on Twitter, why don’t we post every single day these positive things that these Democratic candidates want to do for our country?” she said. “This man has a big chance of winning in 2020, and we can change that.”
Sanders returned the gratitude.
Today @iamcardib and I finally met. We had a great conversation about the future of America.
And let me tell you: Cardi B is right.
Together, we’ll get millions of young people involved in the political process and transform this country. Stay tuned for our video coming soon! pic.twitter.com/L9mQ8InMZu
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 30, 2019
Cardi B and Sanders go back. So does Cardi’s interest in politics.
“Vote Daddy Bernie, bitch”
Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, has been into Bernie Sanders for a while now.
In 2016, she said she wanted to vote for the democratic socialist in an interview with the New York City radio station Power 105.1, though she was skeptical he could actually accomplish all he set out to do. “Like, for example, he wants to stop racism. It’s like, that’s not going to happen! There’s certain things you just can’t do. What are you going to do? Go burn a bunch of Confederate flags in Virginia Beach and goddamn Mississippi?” she said.
She also made a video in which she encouraged supporters to “vote for Daddy Bernie, bitch.”
In 2016, Cardi B said she liked Hillary Clinton because she was a “strong woman,” but she did feel like Clinton was a “little fake.” But she was hypercritical of Donald Trump and ultimately backed Clinton in the general election, telling her social media followers to do the same ahead of Election Day.
After 2016, Cardi B has remained engaged — and the affinity between her and Sanders has continued. In 2018, Sanders retweeted Cardi B’s comments on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Social Security. “Cardi B is right,” he wrote.
Cardi B is right. If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security so that seniors are able to retire with the dignity they deserve. https://t.co/B8cOkoOdLc
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 18, 2018
Now that Sanders is in the 2020 race, Cardi is firmly in his corner.
“I’mma always go with Bernie,” she told Teen Vogue in April — saying it’s because he doesn’t say things to “be cool,” but because he means them. “Like, there’s pictures of him being an activist from a very, very long time [ago],” she said.
She tweeted in mid-July that she is “really sad how we let [Sanders] down” in 2016. “Seeing this country become a better place been really is passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign,” she wrote.
I been reading about Bernie Sanders and I’m really sad how we let him down in 2016 This man been fighting for equal rights,HUMAN rights for such along time.Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign.
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) July 16, 2019
Sanders has publicly welcomed her support. In an interview with MSNBC following her tweet, he thanked her for her support and said he had spoken with her and found her “very sharp” and with a good understanding of politics and history. In a subsequent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, he reiterated his appreciation for her support and said she is “deeply concerned” about what’s happening in the country. Cardi B published the clip on Instagram and said she was sure her high school history teacher was happy.
If Sanders wins the White House, Cardi B might expect an invitation. In an interview with Pod Save America, host Jon Favreau asked Sanders whether she would perform at the inauguration. “We’re putting together a committee to take a look at that,” Sanders replied.
It’s worth noting that Cardi B isn’t the only rapper in Sanders’s corner. Atlanta rapper Killer Mike was a vocal supporter of the Vermont senator in 2016 and still believes he’s the one candidate who can beat Trump.
“The Keep It Real Party”
Sanders is not wrong in his assessment that Cardi B is well versed in politics and history. She’s been weighing in on political issues for a while, and she’s made no secret of her disdain for President Trump.
In January, Cardi B posted a video addressing the government shutdown and blasting the president for his antics. “This shit is crazy,” she said. “Like, our country is a hellhole right now, all for a fucking wall. And we really need to take this serious.”
The video quickly went viral, with some Democratic lawmakers even weighing in.
It was hardly the first instance in which Cardi B had made her thoughts known in the political realm — she’s weighed in on various issues, including the United Nations’ role in Libya, US gun laws, and tax policy.
“I love political science. I love government. I’m obsessed with presidents. I’m obsessed to know how the system works,” she said in a 2018 interview with GQ.
In the same interview, she said she was constantly in tune with the news. “I’m always looking at it on my phone,” she said. “I hate when you talk about something that’s going on in the community, people think, because you’re famous, you doing it for clout. But you concerned about it because you are a citizen of America; you are a citizen of the world. If I want to get cool points, I could take a picture with a thong and my ass and y’all gonna give me the same amount of likes. I’m gonna trend even bigger.”
Cardi B has said her favorite president was Franklin Roosevelt because of his work to get the United States out of the Great Depression. It’s an affinity she shares with Sanders, whose vision of democratic socialism is a callback to FDR and a revival of New Deal politics.
She is not a fan of Trump. She has attacked the president over his inaction on Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, his criticism of kneeling football players, and his family separation policies. She was one of multiple stars tapped to read parts of Michael Wolff’s Trump exposé Fire & Fury for the 2018 Grammys.
Cardi B got into a Twitter spat with conservative commentator Tomi Lahren in January, in which the former at one point legendarily replied, “Leave me alone I will dog walk you.” (Lahren may have wanted to look into Cardi B’s feud with Nicki Minaj before wading into that one.) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) even got in on the action.
Aren’t you the same girl who whines about Trump inciting violence? Now you applaud it because it’s against a female conservative you disagree with politically? Convenient. P.S. I do fully acknowledge @iamcardib is smarter than YOU. https://t.co/S066IdLMB6
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) January 20, 2019
The same month, Stephen Colbert launched a petition-by-tweet for Democrats to let Cardi B give the rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union.
More recently, she responded to conservative pundit Candace Owens, who apparently did not learn the Tomi Lahren lesson about fighting with Cardi and challenged her to a debate. Cardi B’s response: Her goal is to get young people to pay attention to politics and advocate for whoever they choose to support. She took the high road.
And Cardi’s interest doesn’t stop at federal politics; she knows what’s up in her home state of New York. She endorsed Cynthia Nixon in her Democratic primary bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and encouraged New Yorkers to vote.
She’s even joked about running for office herself. She told Kimmel in 2018 that she recognizes if she were New York City mayor, there would be “so many things that I’m responsible for, and so many things to do,” including getting rid of rats and raccoons. (Which, living in New York right now, agreed.) And in 2016, while part of the cast of Love & Hip Hop, she made a video declaring her fake bid for the White House under the “Keep It Real Party.”
“My actual goal is to educate the Youth on our candidates.”
Most of the time, celebrity endorsements of political candidates don’t matter. But there is one exception: Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah endorsed Barack Obama in 2007 during the Democratic Party primary against Hillary Clinton, made campaign appearances with him, and donated to his campaign. And, as I explained last year, it appears to have made a difference:
University of Maryland researchers Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore estimated in a 2008 paper that Winfrey’s endorsement of Obama was responsible for 1 million additional votes for him in the primaries. They also found that Winfrey’s endorsement increased the overall voter participation rate and the number of contributions Obama received.
They found the so-called “Oprah effect” — the same thing that boosts the sales of books she recommends or products she endorses — also translated into support for Obama, and in a significant way.
Though she does have nearly 50 million Instagram followers and an additional 6 million followers on Twitter, Cardi B doesn’t have the amount of media prowess and celebrity power that Oprah had at the time. It’s not clear whether her endorsement will make much of a difference for Sanders. But it’s not a bad thing for her to make her opinions known — and, more broadly, to encourage people to get involved in the political process.
On Tuesday, she encouraged her Twitter followers to watch the first night of the second Democratic debate, in which Sanders will participate.
Hey guys make sure ya watch the debate tonight!
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) July 30, 2019