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US Elections 2020

RFI Exclusive: Feeling the Bern in 2020? Larry Sanders on his brother's hopes for the US presidency

RFI's David Coffey with Larry Sanders, older brother of potential US Democratic candidate for the US presidency 2020, Bernie Sanders at RFI studios.
RFI's David Coffey with Larry Sanders, older brother of potential US Democratic candidate for the US presidency 2020, Bernie Sanders at RFI studios. Vincent Pora
26 min

RFI's David Coffey meets with Larry Sanders, older brother of US Democrat hopeful, Bernie Sanders, who lost the ticket to represent the Democratic Party in 2016 to Hillary Clinton.

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.On Wednesday the US Senate voted to drop two impeachment charges against incumbent president Donald Trump. On largely party-line votes, the Republican-controlled Senate cleared Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, keeping him in office and setting up a nine-month battle for the White House against the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.

Feeling the Bern in 2020?

With hindsight, and the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee in the run up to the elections four years ago, many to the left within the Democratic party believe that if Sander's had not been prevented from getting the nomination by the more conservative core of the Democrats, the USA and the world would be a much different place in 2020 under President Bernie. 

Dorothy and Eli Sanders with sons Larry and Bernie
Dorothy and Eli Sanders with sons Larry and Bernie Sanders Family

Larry Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935. The sons of Polish Jewish immigrants, both Larry and his younger brother Bernie, experienced the precarity of never knowing whether their father would be able to provide for them, as he was a salesman working on a commission basis. 

The Sanders boys were also aware of their family back in Poland, and their subsequent fate at the hands of the Nazi régime - something that was only whispered in the Brooklyn household.

In France this week to promote the Global Presidential Primary, under the auspices of France for Bernie, Larry explains why his brother Bernie Sanders is the best choice for president. 

Larry and Bernie Sanders as children growing up in Brooklyn, NYC
Larry and Bernie Sanders as children growing up in Brooklyn, NYC Sanders Family

"I think what Bernard has done is be so clear about the things you can do, that a government and a society can do together, to make life better for people. He hasn't convinced the whole country, but he's convinced a large part of it. And he's so obviously honest and consistent that I think it breaks through and people understand that 'Oh it isn't that we have to take whatever comes, we can make a difference'.

"So I'm not convinced. They keep saying 'Oh, Bernard hasn't been hit hard enough'. Well there are not many people in America... I think there are three people in Alaska... that don't know he's a socialist! 

"Basically people know who he is."

Supporters wave Bernie Sander's placards at a US Rally
Supporters wave Bernie Sander's placards at a US Rally Reuters

For Larry Sanders, the clear and present danger is climate change. But when asked if America has ever been so divided in living memory, Larry recalls the communist witch-hunts of Senator Joe McCarthy and the blacklisting of intellectuals, celebrities and politicians in a wave of anti-Communist paranoia that swept the USA exactly 70 years ago this weekend. 

But as it stands, it seems to be a long-shot for President Donald Trump to lose to a divided Democratic Party candidate, as the hopefuls jockey to get the nomination to stand against the incumbent in November of this year. So is Sanders the only viable choice to stand up to the impending vitriol of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign?

Click on the audio link above for the full interview. 

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