'Cross-country runner' Sanders still in US race: brother

12th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Bernie Sanders may be lagging in the race for the US Democratic Party nomination, but across the Atlantic his elder brother is betting on the former cross-country runner's stamina to clinch victory.

Britain-based Larry Sanders, 81, was among 'Democrats Abroad' members meeting in Berlin from Thursday, rooting for Bernie Sanders to defeat first Hillary Clinton and then the Republicans' presumptive nominee, celebrity billionaire Donald Trump.

"He is determined, he will go all the way," said the elder Sanders, who lives in Oxford and is active in Britain's Green Party. "He expects there is a good chance that he can still win the nomination, although it's an uphill battle."

Sanders senior said his 74-year-old brother is hoping that his party's delegates will realise he is the best-placed candidate to beat Trump, who "would be a dreadful disaster for the United States and for the world".

"Bernard was a cross-country runner," said Larry. "They run uphill, they run downhill. Somehow or other it always seems to be in the mud.

"And the main thing that determines a good cross-country runner is absolutely determination and stamina, and Bernard has both. He had it when he was a child and he still has it now."

- 'Make a difference' -

Of the overseas Democrats who voted in the primaries, 69 percent chose Sanders, the senator from Vermont, against 31 percent who backed former secretary of state Clinton, the party's front-runner inside the US.

Larry Sanders said many Americans abroad believe that Bernie's policy proposals are not radical or utopian, but in fact daily reality in their European and other host countries.

They "are frequently living in countries which have social policies like free universal health care, like paid leave for various reasons, that are day-to-day things that work for people and that are not -- as some opponents of Bernard say in America -- impossible, utopian dreams," he said.

"They are daily experiences. And these people who are living abroad recognise that and are therefore more likely to support Bernard's ideas."

Asked about his own role in shaping some of those ideas, the elder Sanders said: "I was ahead of him in school, so I did introduce him to some ideas ... The last 60 years or so he's been on his own, intellectually anyway."

At the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia in July, Larry Sanders hopes to vote as a delegate for his brother.

"It will be one of the great moments of my life, to get a chance to vote for him," he said, his voice choking.

"He stands for real change in a very dangerous world ... There is one candidate who has a chance to make a difference and that's my brother, and that's astonishing."

If it doesn't work out, he added, and "if Hillary is the nominee, then Bernard will work for her. That's what he has said, and he is a man of his word."


© 2016 AFP

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