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An unconventional debate between a billionaire Republican and a democratic socialist is shaping up in California after presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders expressed an interest in squaring off against each other.

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, is still in a primary battle against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, while Trump effectively clinched the Republican Party’s nomination earlier this month when his two remaining rivals dropped out.

In an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” late Wednesday, Trump said he was willing to participate in such an event against Sanders.

“If I debated him, we would have such high ratings,” the New York developer and reality television star said. “I think I should … take that money and give it to some worthy charity.”

Sanders appeared to agree in a post on Twitter on Thursday.

“Game on,” he tweeted. “I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.”

Trump and Sanders have gone through a series of debates against rivals within their parties but Republican and Democratic presidential candidates usually do not debate each other until the parties have selected a nominee.

The hashtag #BernieTrumpDebate began trending in the United States with news of the possible debate.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email to Reuters on Thursday there were no formal plans yet for such an event. Representatives for the Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kimmel said he asked Trump about the debate at the suggestion of Sanders, who is scheduled to appear on the show Thursday night.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who was elected to Congress as an independent and has made economic equality a keystone of his campaign, had first challenged Clinton to a California debate. He said he was disappointed when the former secretary of state declined. The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment to a possible Trump-Sanders debate.

Clinton has tried to woo Sanders supporters as she works to secure the party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election. But some worry his supporters – who are largely young, working-class and disillusioned with party establishment – will turn instead to political neophyte Trump, who has championed a populist agenda.

Sanders has said he will do everything he can to ensure that Trump does not win the White House.

 

Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Trott

Photo: A woman wearing a hat with the word “Bernie” smiles towards a man wearing a hat stating “Trump” as they stand in line-up to take part in a campaign rally for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at Saint Mary’s Park in Bronx, New York March 31, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson 

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Political Spending At Trump Properties Plunges Sharply

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

The number of federal political committees that have spent money in the first half of 2021 at Trump Organization properties has dropped dramatically from the same period two years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show. Those continuing to spend: a smaller circle of loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump and candidates jockeying for his favor in contested Republican primaries.

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