TV interviewers continue to grill Democratic presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper as to why he balked at calling himself a capitalist the other day.
Tuesday it was Seth Meyers’ turn when he sat down with Hickenlooper on NBC’s Late Night.
“Whoever is going to be the Dem nominee will have to deal with this because Donald Trump is a name caller,” Meyers began, adding that Trump “likes to frame people in very narrow terms.”
“You did not want to identify as ‘capitalist’ the other day. Donald Trump said you were ashamed of capitalism.”
Since then, Meyers acknowledged, Hickenlooper has indeed identified as a capitalist.
The late-night host wondered about possible solutions this country can come up with to income inequality within the framework of capitalism.
Yet again, Hickenlooper took a stab at explaining.
“If you ask if I was a nerd in high school, it’s maybe not the first label I would chose, but it’s hard to argue with,” he joked.
“I started 20 businesses; I created over 1,000 jobs. I helped revitalize a large part of downtown Denver. If you are going to put a label on me, you might as well call me a capitalist,” he added.
“But the labels divide us,” the former Colorado governor cautioned. As he had cautioned the others who similarly questioned him since he announced his White House bid.
Hickenlooper reminded Meyers about 75% of American families are living month-to-month.
“Capitalism, and the American dream, is supposed to provide security and opportunity for the middle class, and for poor people,” he said. “Right now it’s only helping people at the top.”
“Rather than attaching labels to everything, we need to be figuring out how to get people to come together and really reinvent capitalism in a way that works for everybody,” he suggested.
Meyers wasn’t giving up so easily, remarking that there is this idea young people are “drifting toward socialism, as if there hasn’t been a failure in capitalism that has led them down that path.” Meyers suggested people can criticize the current form of capitalism and how it’s “forgetting about certain people.”
Which is kind of what Hickenlooper had just said.
That said, Meyer’s “are you or are you not a capitalist?” interview seemed to be Hickenlooper’s best to date, so that’s progress.