Disney legend Dick Van Dyke personally introduced Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in Santa Barbara. He did more than just charge up the crowd with his dancing and youthful and charismatic presence; he came with a message for older voters.
Van Dyke, who has shown support for Sanders before, appealed specifically to his generation of voters:
“Mostly I want to be here to talk to my generation. 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. We need the person who can break the stranglehold that corporate America has on this country right now.”
The actor was calling to mind an era where there was more financial regulation on corporations and in consequence, a stronger and more prosperous middle class. Van Dyke, who recently turned 90, has seen many presidencies in his lifetime and his endorsement of Bernie Sanders sends a strong message for voters in California prior to the June 7 presidential primary election. The actor ended his speech with a characteristically youthful dance before Sanders took the stage.
The Walt Disney Company has always worked with figures from all sides of the political spectrum; Disneyland’s opening day emcee, for example, was Ronald Reagan, and Michelle Obama partnered with Disney and even met with Bob Iger himself in order to promote healthier food advertising. Dick Van Dyke is one of many Disney greats who have used their cultural power (and dance moves) to move people politically.
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