Larry Sanders, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s older bother and a Green Party member in the U.K., responded to the criticisms Hillary Clinton makes against Bernie Sanders in her new book, What Happened, in a recent interview with BBC News.
In her book, Clinton writes about Sanders, “He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.” Larry Sanders responded to this statement, “Well, I don’t agree at all. But what I think she is doing, it’s not only about going back over the past, but it’s a part of the continuing struggle that’s taking place between Clinton-type supporters and Bernard and his supporters for the future of the Democratic Party.” He continued, “If Bernard succeeds in getting a universal health care bill through, which he has gone further than anyone has before, that would save thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and Hillary Clinton is still opposing that.”
Larry Sanders then dismissed a question about whether Bernie Sanders will run for president in 2020: “His goal has never been a particular victory for himself. It has been to change the way in which America works. In order to do that, he’s been in politics all this year, and if he succeeds on things like health care, he will change life for the better for hundreds of millions of people.”
The interviewer then asked whether Bernie Sanders bears the responsibility of Trump’s election. “He worked incredibly hard. I think he worked harder than Hillary in the last month of the campaign to help get her elected. I think he did everything that he did with one goal in mind, which is that you can’t run a country decently if you have both parties that are not connected to the bulk of the people. The Hillary faction of the Democratic Party took so much money from so many private sources that they were not dishonest, but there were limits in what they could do.”
Bernie Sanders has been compared to Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K., Jean-Luc Melenchon in France, and other progressive populists in Europe who have substantial followings but have not yet become the leader of their respective nation. Asked why these leaders haven’t won yet, Larry Sanders replied, “I think the odd thing that most of these things that are called ‘progressive,’ are in fact things that when people are asked, the majority of people think they are a good idea like universal healthcare, higher minimum wages and so on. But there is enormous power. This is a real contest between very powerful forces, and so far for many years now the forces of very large wealth have been successful.” He pushed back on the notion that America is a right-wing or centrist country and cited the increasing popularity of Bernie Sanders and his progressive policies as proof. “I don’t think the Democrats can get elected unless they have a program similar to one Bernard has enunciated. If they’re simply like the Republicans, only a little bit different, a little bit nicer—and its not hard to be nicer than a rogue like Trump—they will not necessarily succeed, and more importantly the things that people need won’t happen. It’s not just politics. Thousands of people die every year because of the inadequacies within the American system.”