As he hit the UK General Election campaign trail, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said he hoped for an endorsement from the U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Last week, Corbyn’s wish was granted.
Speaking at an event in the UK, Sanders said he was "very impressed" by Corbyn and there was “a real similarity” between them.
“What Corbyn has tried to do with the Labour Party is not dissimilar to what some of us are trying to do with the Democratic Party, and that is to make it a party that is much more open and inviting for working people and young people and not have a liberal elite making the decisions from the top down,” Sanders told The Independent newspaper.
Originally seen as outsiders, both men have proved capable of galvanising popular support and bringing young voters back to the ballot box.
Who is Sanders?
The 74-year-old Vermont senator challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. presidential race last year.
In the party’s primaries, Clinton won 16 million in the popular vote, 3 million more than Sanders.
Her presidential ticket was then confirmed at the Democratic convention and Sanders endorsed her nomination.
Who is Corbyn?
Over half a million registered Labour supporters cast their ballots for the party’s leadership in 2016 following a divisive internal challenge from the center.
Corbyn came out on top, winning 61.8 percent of the vote, a larger margin of victory than the previous poll which saw him take charge.
The 68 year-old is now the main challenger to the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in Thursday’s election.
1. Veteran Players
Sanders is the longest-serving independent in the U.S. Congress, representing the state of Vermont in the Senate and House of Representatives since 1991.
Corbyn spent 33 years as a backbench MP for the London seat of Islington North before he was elected party leader.
2. Left-Wing Credentials
Both are happy to call themselves socialist.
Sanders has been credited with shifting the Democrats’ policy platform significantly to the left.
While Corbyn has promised to deliver "the socialism of the 21st century."
Their policies focus on social justice, climate change, battling big banks and financial institutions, higher taxes for the rich plus increased spending on public services, including health and education.
3.Popular support & Youth vote
Corbyn swept to victory as the Labour Party leader in 2015, with 59.5 percent of first preference ballots. 64 percent of members under the age of 25 voted for him.
According to the UK YouGov polling firm, only 12 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they would vote Conservative in Thursday’s poll, while 69 percent would vote for Corbyn.
"Support for Labour among younger voters has gone up and gone up dramatically but then the crucial question is whether these young people will come out to vote," said John Curtice, President of the British Polling Council.
Sanders’ support came from the bottom up, reaching the young, working-class and neglected communities. His nomination campaign won 46 percent of Democrats’ pledged votes and created a landslide in many states among the under 40s.
Both Sanders and Corbyn used digital media to target the youth vote.
Last August, Corbyn unveiled a seven-point “digital democracy manifesto” calling for a greater equality in ownership of, and access to, digital resources.
He has gained huge support on social media with followers using the hashtag “#JezWeCan.”
Sanders, adopted a similar strategy, attracting millions to his “#FeelTheBern” campaign.
4. Party Divisions
During last year’s primaries, Sanders challenged the status quo represented by Clinton in the Democratic Party.
Even though Clinton won the nomination in the end, some of his supporters thought the process was rigged in favor of the former Secretary of State.
After the UK’s historic vote last June to leave the European Union, members of Corbyn's shadow cabinet resigned en masse.
Labour Party politicians also submitted a no-confidence vote amid accusations that Corbyn had led an ineffective and half hearted campaign for Britain to remain.
"He was never really accepted by the upper levels of the party membership," says Fiona Hill, director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe.
Sanders is a famously grumpy old guy, even his friends would say he is a charter member of the “get off my lawn” caucus, according to the Washington Post.
Corbyn comes across as a more mild-mannered individual with a better sense of humour.
He is said to be most at ease when talking to real people and is passionate about the causes he believes in.
His team has been running a "let Jeremy be Jeremy" campaign to show who he really is.
2. Party roles
Even though Sanders ran in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, he still didn’t officially join the party.
“I was elected as an Independent and I will finish this term as an Independent,” Sanders said last year.
Corbyn received a larger mandate as the leader of the Labour party following last year’s vote.
“We have much more in common than that which divides us. Let’s wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work we’ve got to do as a party together,” Corbyn said.
3. World Views
Foreign policy is a favored theme for Corbyn.
As a veteran anti-war campaigner, he has never voted for military intervention as an MP.
He often advocated against various British actions abroad.
In contrast, Sanders barely talked about foreign policy during his campaign.
Even though he voted against the Iraq war, Sanders did support the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and its military presence in the country.
Regarding Middle East policy, Corbyn has long been a critic of Israel even though he says he backs the nation’s existence.
He has repeatedly advocated economic sanctions against the country.
While Sanders opposes the Israeli settlements and consistently advocates for a two-state solution.