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Sanders kicks fight against Trump into high gear

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SAN FRANCISCO: US Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday called on California Democrats to unite against President Donald Trump, kicking the 2020 presidential campaign into high gear.

He called Mr Trump "a racist, a sexist, a homophobe and a religious bigot" in a speech capping off a state Democratic convention that drew 14 of the 24 candidates.

"Together we are going to defeat a president who has the most corrupt administration in history," Mr Sanders said, "and a president who knows nothing about real American values."

The party's left-leaning delegates greeted Mr Sanders and liberal US Senator Elizabeth Warren like rock stars.


Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper drew boos when he said socialist policies would not propel the party to victory, and other moderates were booed for rejecting the idea of a universal public health care system.

Former vice-president Joe Biden, who leads Mr Sanders in polls for the Democratic nomination, did not attend the convention.

Mr Sanders noted the 14 candidates who addressed the convention, as well as some who had "chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room", offer a variety of ways to approach a campaign against Mr Trump.

Addressing concerns among some Democrats that a moderate would be more electable than a fiery progressive, Mr Sanders said such an approach would not generate the enthusiasm needed to defeat Mr Trump.

"We will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy into the campaign and unless we give millions of working people and young people a reason to vote and a reason to believe that politics is relevant to their lives," he said. - REUTERS