Harkin: Sanders knows it's over, Trump is 'reincarnation of P.T. Barnum'

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works at the institute.

Chicago (CNN)Despite the sharp tone of his rhetoric against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders will find an accommodation with her after Tuesday's primaries and speak on her behalf at the Democratic National Convention next month, an old Senate ally predicts.

Former Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat and frequent populist partner of Sanders during his years in the Senate, says Sanders ultimately will back Clinton despite their pitched primary battle.
"I have every reason to believe that when Hillary finally gets the delegates -- and she is going to get them, there's no way that Bernie can get them now -- and he knows that it's over with in terms of his being the candidate, that he will then to begin to negotiate for the platform and the policies and they'll begin to work that out," Harkin told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. "I'm predicting, and I'm hoping anyway, that at the convention he'll give a good stemwinder speech like he always does."
    Harkin, who supports Clinton, said he hopes that in time voters will "see her as I see her, as not only smart and honest and trustworthy... but someone who has a real deep human side to her that a lot of people just don't see." But he pulls no punches when assessing her likely rival in this fall's election, Donald Trump.
    Tom Harkin with Hillary Clinton in Iowa in 2015.
    "Donald Trump cannot win the presidency of the United Sates. He can be a personality and bravado and people can laugh and they know what he is -- they know his 'Apprentice' program, and he's bigger than life, and his plane and all that kind of stuff -- but they don't know who he is. And between now and November the electorate is going to find out who he is," Harkin said.
    "He's the latest reincarnation of P.T. Barnum," he added. "I think he's an inveterate liar. For example, I think he lies about his wealth. He changes his position from one day to the next. He's a personality."
    Trump's poor standing among women, Millennials, and Hispanics will catch up to him, Harkin predicted, as will a news media that he believes has given Trump too much leeway to date.
    "From now on, people are going to vote for their future," said Harkin, who served four decades in Congress -- three of those in the Senate -- before retiring last year. Trump "only won... between 40 and 45% of the Republican vote. That's the Republican vote. What about all the independents out there and moderate Democrats? As you know, David, after the last election the Republican Party had this big get-together and decided what they needed to do for the next election was target young people, women, and Hispanics. And that's Donald Trump? No."
    "I think the news media also feels some kind of burden or they feel that maybe they gave him too much of a free ride. They gave him too much publicity just for who he is and his bravado and all that. I think the news media now is going to say now we've got to start talking about what he is, what does he really stand for and pointing those things out. And once they do that, I think Donald Trump will start kicking back, just as he is wont to do. No matter what he'll fight back, he'll punch back, and pretty soon the American people are going to see him for what he is -- not a big person, but a very small person."
    To hear the whole conversation with Harkin, which also touched on his time in Congress, his work on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and much more, click on http://podcast.cnn.com. To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at http://itunes.com/theaxefiles.