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Bernie Sanders calls for political revolution as he launches 2020 presidential campaign

Bernie Sanders has launched his 2020 presidential campaign. Photo: AP

Bernie Sanders has kicked off his presidential campaign by proclaiming that he is the Democrat best prepared to beat President Donald Trump in 2020.

Speaking just miles from the rent-controlled apartment where he grew up in Brooklyn, Mr Sanders forcefully made the case that he is nothing like fellow New Yorker Mr Trump.

He told a crowd: "My experience as a child, living in a family that struggled economically, powerfully influenced my life and my values. I know where I came from.

"And that is something I will never forget."

The Vermont senator said his campaign is designed to defeat Donald Trump next year. Credit: AP

The Democrats in the 2020 race have taken varied approaches to Mr Trump, with some avoiding saying his name entirely, while others make implicit critiques of his presidency.

Mr Sanders has never shied from attacking Mr Trump in stark terms, and during his speech at Brooklyn College he called the US leader "the most dangerous president in modern American history" and said Mr Trump wants to "divide us up".

The Vermont senator positioned himself in opposition to Trump administration policies from immigration to climate change.

Beyond the issues themselves, Mr Sanders, who grew up in the Jewish neighbourhood of Flatbush in a middle-class family, drew a stark contrast between himself and the billionaire in the White House who hails from Queens.

Mr Sanders' supporters gathered to hear him launch his campaign. Credit: AP

"I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs," said Mr Sanders, who has lived in Vermont for decades.

Mr Sanders also said he "did not come from a family of privilege that prepared me to entertain people on television by telling workers: 'You're fired.'"

"I came from a family who knew all too well the frightening power employers can have over every day workers."

As he began his speech, Mr Sanders hinted at how he sees the race – a campaign that runs beyond the key battlegrounds. "This is a 50-state campaign," he said. "We will not concede a single state to Donald Trump."