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Dick Van Dyke: Trump as scary as Cuban Missile Crisis


Los Angeles (CNN) – Hollywood has always been a mostly Democratic town — a star-studded cash machine enthusiastically backing both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But in 2016, Bernie Sanders has racked up an eclectic list of big name supporters, as well: Ryan Gosling, Miley Cyrus, Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee.

Add to that list — 90-year old Dick Van Dyke. He introduced Sanders at a campaign stop in Santa Barbara over the weekend… drawing loud applause as he danced at the podium to Bruce Springsteen in classic Van Dyke style.

The actor best known for his work in the movie Mary Poppins and as the star of the classic 1960’s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show joined “CNN Newsroom L.A.” to talk about the race for the White House, why he’s in Bernie’s corner and the fact that Donald Trump scares him half to death.

Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke: “The first time I heard Bernie speak, he described exactly what I’ve been noticing for the last four decades. He’s telling the truth about what’s been happening. We’re almost an oligarchy at the moment. So I want him to be heard.”

John Vause: “Do you think he has a real shot to win the nomination at this point or is he just doing this now to push through his agenda onto the party platform?”

Van Dyke: “I think he’s still got a chance because he’s nipping at her heels, right now. The main thing is that his message continues on. If voices like his are silenced, my grandchildren will be living in an oligarchy, pure and simple.”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during A Future to Believe In rally on June 9, 2016, in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MOLLY RILEYMOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images

Vause: “A lot of stars have said they support a particular candidate, but you’ve actually been out on the campaign trail for Sen. Sanders… You’ve been around awhile, have you seen a movement like this before with a politician like Bernie Sanders who is pulling out the kids and the crowds?”

Van Dyke: “I haven’t really seen it. For awhile, Ralph Nader was saying some of the same things. In the 50’s and 60’s, there were no economic crashes because regulations were in place and the American people hit the streets and did something the government wouldn’t do — the Civil Rights Act. And it didn’t go down well with the corporate world. Are you familiar with the Lewis Powell Memorandum?”

Vause: “No.”

Van Dyke: “He’s a fella that ended up in the Supreme Court. He wrote a memorandum to the National Chambers of Commerce in which he said, ‘There’s too much democracy and it’s a threat to capitalism.’ He suggested they defend themselves by breaking up the solidarity which American citizens were showing at the time, to drive a wedge between ’em and get us one against the other — which worked pretty well, I think. What happened was they took of the regulations for the financial world, Wall Street and the banks went crazy, the bubble burst and millions of Americans lost everything. Nobody went to prison. The Dodd Frank Act has put some of those regulations back in. It’s a little weak, I think. But if the Republicans win this, we can say goodbye to that and a lot of other things.”

Vause: “If Bernie Sanders does not get the nomination, are you a Hillary Clinton supporter?”

Dick Van Dyke 3Van Dyke: “Anything to keep Trump out of there. He’s been a magnet to all the hidden racists and xenophobes in the country. That’s who’s supporting him. No, I haven’t been this scared since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Vause: “I saw that you wrote that in the Hollywood Reporter. I thought that was quite a big leap because obviously the Cuban Missile Crisis was an incredibly terrifying moment for the entire world and you’re equating Donald Trump with that?”

Van Dyke: “Because the human race is hanging at a very delicate balance in a lot of areas right now: ISIS, North Korea, Russia and China. I’m just so afraid that he’ll put us in a war immediately. Isolationism is a thing of the past. It’s a global community now. He wants to get out of NATO which I think is a tragic mistake. He scares me.”

Vause: “We had this rally in San Jose. There were a lot of people outside and they clashed with police. There was a face-off between the anti-Donald Trump people and his supporters. When you see that, does that remind you of any particular turbulent time that the U.S. has gone through before.”

Van Dyke: “The ’68 convention in Chicago when Eugene McCarthy was running. I was there for that and it was scary. I don’t think it was as bad as now. People shouldn’t demonstrate against Trump. He’s got a right to speak and I think that’s a terrible mistake to do what they’re doing. Let him speak. Let him have his say. It’s America.”

Vause: “When you go to those rallies and you speak to those young people, are they surprise that you’re there? What’s the reaction that you get?”

Van Dyke: “They’re happy to see me and I always say, ‘I’m happy to give young politicians like Bernie a break because, to me, he’s a kid. I’m 90!”

Produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.

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