Dick Van Dyke makes the case for older voters to support Bernie Sanders

SANTA BARBARA — Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke fired up the crowd at a Bernie Sanders rally here on Saturday, because, as he put it, he likes “to give promising young politicians like Bernie a break.”

Sanders, who turns 75 in September, would be the oldest person ever elected president. But he is a whippersnapper compared with the 90-year-old Van Dyke.

And, in a way, Sanders is an honorary millennial, given his strong base of support among young voters.

So Van Dyke used his brief time onstage at Santa Barbara City College to make the case for why older voters should back the Vermont senator, too.

“Mostly I want to be here to talk to my generation,” the actor said. “I have a really important message for them. I was born in the Coolidge administration. Can you believe that? So I’ve seen a lot of politics. I was 5 years old when the stock market crashed; I lost everything.

“What I want to say to my contemporaries is, as Bernie says, in the ’50s and ’60s, real democracy was really working from the bottom up, like it’s supposed to. There were no economic crashes during those decades because regulations were in place.”

Van Dyke was ostensibly referencing the Glass-Steagall U.S. Banking Act of 1933, which was a response to the crash of 1929 and which Sanders wants to reinstate. Glass-Steagall, requiring commercial banking and securities activities to be separated, remained in place for decades, but it was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

In 2009, Time magazine included Bill Clinton on a list of 25 people to blame for the financial crisis, largely because he rolled back Glass-Steagall.

Van Dyke’s implication was that electing Sanders would usher in a return to financial regulations that are more favorable to the middle class — and that older voters who remember the prosperity of a bygone era should throw their support behind him.

But Van Dyke didn’t get to complete the thought. About five minutes into his remarks, Sanders arrived. Van Dyke introduced him as “the sanest man in America.”

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