Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got his first endorsement from a Senate colleague as Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) decided he feels the Bern.
Many congressional Democrats, who are also superdelegates, quickly threw their support behind Hillary Clinton before the Democratic primary even became a competitive race. There are only a few Senate Dems left who haven’t endorsed, unlike the GOP side of the aisle where few have backed one of the three remaining candidates.
Merkely told MSNBC that Sanders “has been a very bold and very determined voice on the biggest issues facing America, whether it has been restructuring our financial system, campaign cash, global warming, these issues and certainly living wage jobs.”
“And so on each of those areas he’s been consistent long before he ran for the presidency,” Merkley said. “He’s tapped into the deep frustration of Americans with a system that has become highly rigged, both politically and economically, and he’s the right voice, I feel, the most effective voice in terms of taking our country in the direction it needs to go.”
“…He came to the Senate and he was a bipartisan force for veterans with a fabulous bill. He proceed to champion the expansion of our health care clinics as part of the Affordable Care Act. On just issue after issue, he’s been in the fight, he’s been clear, and he’s certainly been willing to take on powerful forces, whether it’s the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry or it’s taking and getting the gambling, the Wall Street gambling, shut down.”
But if Bernie can’t get enough delegates to win the nomination, the Oregon senator says he thinks fractured Democrats will make up in time for the general election.
“We are blessed with two candidates who have great experience, great expertise, great minds, and great hearts. And so the Democratic side of the ticket is in a completely different place than the circus on the Republican side,” Merkley said.
“Once the primary is decided, you’re going to see both sides reach out together, come together, because that’s essential for the success of America going forward. So, I do completely expect whoever comes out behind to, one, for the winner to reach out and, second, for the loser to reach out and put us on a track hand in hand together.”
Sanders, who has narrowed Clinton’s lead to 10 points in a new Siena poll, rallied supporters in Washington Square park in New York tonight in what his campaign said was the third-largest crowd he’s drawn on the campaign trail.
Actor Tim Robbins warmed up the crowd, declaring that Bernie is winning young people, independent voters and “the people who do the hard work.”