By Bonnie K. Goodman
Vermont Senator and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has finally endorsed rival and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Sanders endorsed Clinton at a joint rally at Portsmouth High School, New Hampshire. To gain the endorsement, Clinton relented to many of Sanders’s progressive requests for the Democratic Party’s platform, including health care, college tuition, climate change and raising the minimum wage.
Speaking at the rally surrounded by banners reading, “Stronger Together,” Sanders announced he is endorsing Clinton. The Vermont Senator declared, Clinton “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. 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.”
Continuing, Sanders explained why he is supporting Clinton after the divisive primary season. Sanders said, “I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. 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 took aim at presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Sanders pointed out, “This campaign is changing soon. Trump is expected to announce his running mate any day now, and the GOP platform is taking shape. This is the last week we can pull together and show how unified we are before Trump and the Republicans come after us – and the values we hold dear – in Cleveland.”
Clinton in turn also gave some remarks. The presumptive nominee said, “I cannot help but reflect how much more enjoyable this election is going to be now that we are on the same side.” Clinton vowed to beat Trump, “We are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November and, yes, together, build a future we can all believe in.”
Clinton also praised Sanders and the way he created a movement, saying he “brought people off the sidelines and into the political process.” Clinton said Sanders “has energized and inspired a generation of young people who care deeply about our country and are building a movement that is bigger than one candidate or one campaign.” Clinton also expressed, “Thank you for your endorsement, but more than that, thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice.”
At the same time as the rally, Clinton’s campaign sent out a fundraising email. The email read, “Today, I am so honored that Senator Sanders is joining me on the campaign trail and is ready to take on Trump and the GOP,” Clinton also asked the Vermont Senator’s supporters to “stand with Senator Sanders and me.”
Trump’s campaign criticized Sanders’ decision to endorse Clinton. Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller commented, “Bernie’s endorsement becomes Exhibit A in our rigged system – the Democrat Party is disenfranchising its voters to benefit the select and privileged few.”
Sanders appearance with Clinton ends the primary campaign and unifies the party’s leadership. Although it remains to be seen whether Sanders’ supporters will follow their candidate and support Clinton. Many Sanders supporters appeared at the rally shooting “Bernie” while others shouted “unity.” When Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) spoke introducing Sanders and Clinton, some in the crowds chanted “no.” Both Clinton and Sanders’s campaign are still negotiating further joint events and campaigning.