Bernie Sanders’ brother Larry was in Edinburgh last night urging Scottish-based Americans to vote for the left-winger making a bold bid for the US Presidency.
With the race for the White House reaching a critical stage, Larry Sanders, 80, said his younger brother had the potential to “smash” Donald Trump if he were to defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
Appearing at an event organised by left wing activists at the St Augustine Church, Mr Sanders made his pitch to Americans based on this side of the Atlantic.
Mr Sanders senior may not have the political clout of his brother, but he is a well known face in Oxford – his adopted home where until recently he served as a Green councillor.
Asked about his brother’s prospects should he end up facing Mr Trump, Mr Sanders said: “I think he will smash him. The polls show that a very large proportion of Americans dislike Trump. Bernard is a very formidable campaigner. Trump has got a large proportion of his support from people who have been very badly treated by the economic system, which for 40 years has been shifting wealth and income from the bulk of the population to the very rich. People are feeling that. The explanation that Trump is giving that it is somehow the fault of Mexicans or Muslims is crazy, but to some people it makes sense.
“To some extent Bernard appeals to the people who face the same problems, but his is a rational response. I think he will win the Democratic vote, the large part of the independent vote, which is very large in America. And I think he will win votes from the Republican party and that’s why I think he’ll win big.”
But in order to achieve that, Bernie Sanders first has to defeat Mrs Clinton – a task that Americans based abroad can influence.
“There will be a polling place in Edinburgh but they can cast a vote through e-mail. First, I urge them to cast a vote because I do believe in Democracy.
“But it would be very nice if they voted for Bernard. Like a small state they will elect delegates to the Democratic Convention and if Bernard gets enough delegates I might be one of the delegates – that would give me enormous pleasure.”
Incidentally, Mr Sanders reckoned his brother was encouraged by the leftward swing of Scottish politics. But in a blow to the egos of MSPs, he added: “But I don’t want to pretend that he follows that closely.”