What Does Levi Sanders Think About His Dad's Campaign? Here's What We Know About The Silent Son
It's not unusual for presidential candidates to trot out their children — whether young or grown — on the campaign trail in a bid to seem more "approachable," "likable," and "relatable" to the greater American public. But the relationship between Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and his 46-year-old son Levi Sanders has been intriguing reporters since the elder Sanders announced his candidacy in 2015. Just who is Bernie Sanders' only biological child, and what does he think about his father's campaign?
Sanders hasn't talked much about son Levi while on the campaign trail, nor does the Vermont senator use his wife as a political trophy or a mouthpiece to tell strange newlywed stories about purchasing 100 cans of soup. Sanders is strictly politics and tends to stay mum about his personal life.
Yet in recent months, Levi Sanders has been increasingly appearing alongside his self-identified Democratic socialist father, notably at the Sanders' victory speech following the New Hampshire primary. His son's growing presence is spurring articles exploring Levi Sanders' role as an integral player who never called his father "dad." (Thanks to People magazine, we also know that Bernie Sanders is a "fun grandpa.")
Earlier this year, Levi Sanders spoke positively of his father's campaign platform to The New York Times. "He [Bernie Sanders] is someone who gives hope that things can change," Levi Sanders said. "I could go on and on."
Other than that, it's hard to find direct quotes about how Levi Sanders feels about his father's campaign. Instead, the younger Sanders shows who his father really is through anecdotes from his childhood. As the child of Bernie Sanders and Susan Campbell Mott, who were never married, Levi Sanders had an atypical relationship with his father — or, at least, a relationship that was forward-thinking at the time.
Levi Sanders told People in an interview in January:
When I was a little kid, I started with B. Then it was Ber and then Bern and now it's Bernard. Or the Bernster. I've never called him Bernie. And I never have called him Dad. Even when I was six years old, I thought it was childish. He was a friend, not an authoritarian.
Although Sanders and Mott broke up not long after their son's birth, the two remained amicable. According to The New York Times, Sanders remained close to Levi Sanders, and his son became a "constant witness" to his political activity, beginning with his first run for political office in the early 1970s. We can only guess that Levi Sanders endorsed his dad's campaign — and political life — from the start.