Bernie Sanders’ brotherly love

Updated 6:01 PM EDT, Thu May 7, 2015
02:20 - Source: CNN
Brotherly Love: A touching interview with Bernie Sanders' brother, Larry
(CNN) —  

If you truly want to take the measure of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, just check out his wild white mop of hair.

That’s how his UK-based brother Larry, watching from an ocean away, knows that proximity to power has not changed the self-described socialist and independent senator now making an insurgent, some say quixotic, run at the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Larry, who moved to England in 1969, is also no stranger to long-shot political campaigns: He stood in Thursday’s UK general election as a Green Party candidate in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency – with no realistic chance of winning.

The poor odds on Bernie’s presidential bid might be the price of his having never forsaken his left-wing roots, despite becoming a senator and chairing influential committees like Veterans Affairs that have the power to dole out millions of dollars.

“In terms of his dedication to his own views, he hasn’t shifted an inch,” Larry said of the 73-year-old brother he calls Bernard, with the accent on the second syllable. “Somebody said this – I think it is true. His hairdo is a giveaway.”

Other big-time politicians are more concerned about appearance and get a fancy coiffure once they are in positions of power and influence. “You have to look a little different. (But) Bernard, outside and inside, has not altered,” Larry told CNN in an interview in his kitchen, about a mile from the dreaming spires of Oxford University.

It’s not just blood that unites the pair, who grew up together in Brooklyn – they’re also political brothers-in-arms who have a passion for issues that sets them against big party power brokers.

Although they live thousands of miles apart, the brothers remain close and often speak by phone. Larry, the elder by six years, plans to join his sibling on the U.S. presidential campaign trail at some point.

Bernie paid tribute to his big brother last month, when he launched a presidential campaign that will see him take on prohibitive Democratic Party favorite Hillary Clinton.

“I owe my brother an enormous amount. It was my brother who actually introduced me to a lot of my ideas,” he said at the launch event.

Larry said that Bernie first really became politically engaged in 1960s Chicago when he went to university.