In a stunning move, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave up his last remaining leverage in the Democratic Party and endorsed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that,” Sanders declared at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”
Sanders has toyed with endorsing Clinton for weeks, and even gave a speech last month which hit all the notes of a concession speech but in which he did not finally withdraw from the race. The Vermont senator seemed dedicated to remaining in the race until the Democratic National Convention in two weeks, aiming to get his ideas enshrined into the party’s platform.
Near the end of his speech, the senator mentioned the party’s platform committee meetings, which ended Sunday night. At that event, “there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced by far the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party,” Sanders explained. This, more than anything else, accounts for his decision on Tuesday to put an end to his upstart candidacy.
“I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president,” Sanders said. He hit upon the central issue of Supreme Court justices:
“This election is about who will nominate Supreme Court justices who are prepared to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision, a decision which is allowing billionaires to buy elections and is undermining our democracy,” the senator declared.
He expressed his belief that Clinton will nominate justices “who will defend a woman’s right to choose, who will defend the rights of the LGBT community, who will defend workers’ rights, the needs of minorities and immigrants, and the government’s ability to protect our environment.”
Sanders called the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour “a starvation wage,” a line that Clinton later repeated. He also said that a Hillary presidency would “move the United States toward universal healthcare.”
He also insisted that the 2016 election “is about climate change, the greatest environmental disaster facing this country.” Sanders attacked presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who “is choosing to reject science.” Such unsubstantiated claims and attacks are nothing new, and are still untrue, regardless of how frequently they are repeated.
Nevertheless, Sanders’ withdrawal and endorsement of Clinton might be seen as effectively ending the enticing prospect that the Vermont senator’s supporters might oppose the former secretary of state to the bitter end. The move does not guarantee that Clinton will win in November, but it does highlight Trump’s electoral weaknesses.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver explained that Donald Trump has a 20 percent chance of winning in November. Sanders’ support for Clinton will likely help make sure his chances do not increase due to liberal Democrats refusing to support the former secretary of state. The most recent FiveThirtyEight projections give Trump slightly better odds, 23.2 percent (polls-only) and 27.8 percent (polls-plus).
Americans need to see how far to the left Sanders has pushed Clinton, and see that the change she represents is really more of the same: expanding Obamacare, further marginalizing people of faith, and entrenching liberals on the Supreme Court. Note to Trump: you must reveal just how off the reservation she is.
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