Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders wants a government that works for the people -- not the business sector. The Vermont senator, who refers to himself as a Democratic Socialist, has brought his seemingly radical attitudes to the mainstream, garnering a strong following and helping shape the public discourse about what U.S. citizens should expect from their politicians.

Those political ideologies had to come from somewhere, and friends of Sanders think they know the source. They describe a 16-year-old Bernie Sanders, then living in Brooklyn, enduring the heartbreak of his favorite team leaving his borough for Los Angeles, where better financial prospects awaited.

According to Richard Sugarman, one of Sanders' closest friends, the experience of watching his team leave was deeply affecting.

Jackie Robinson

"I asked him: 'Did this have a deep impact on you?' and he said: 'Of course! I thought the Dodgers belonged to Brooklyn,'" Sugarman says, according to a feature in The Guardian by Les Carpenter. "It does lay out the question of who owns what."

Huck Gutman, who served as Sanders' chief of staff for six years while he served as a U.S. Senator, echoes those sentiments.

"At that age, especially then, (the Dodgers) seemed innocent," says Gutman to the Guardian. "We all knew it was all about money. It was about the new opportunity on the west coast."

"It was the (first indication) that those with a lot of money may have an interest that is different than the community's interests."

Fast-forward nearly 60 years and you'll find a Sanders who still wears the scars of that experience. He presents himself as a model of governance for the people, and as such refuses campaign contributions from corporations.

If you put his ambitions in a sports context, he wants a world in which sports teams act on behalf of the fans' interests, not the organization's bottom line. And even if the Dodgers are just a small part of his political makeup, it's easy to see in Sanders the scar tissue lingering from a teenage heartbreak.

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