The rivals for the Democratic nomination put the race behind them on Tuesday, and appeared together on stage in New Hampshire where Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for President.
Sanders noted a “significant coming together” between the two campaigns in recent weeks, which have seen both Clinton and the Democratic establishment methodically tack to the left while drafting the party’s platform.
“We produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party,” Sanders told the crowd. “Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Hillary Clinton president — and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.”
Although the drafting committee over the weekend voted down an amendment offered by Sanders’ representatives that would have enshrined opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership into the party platform, the Sanders camp walked away from the proceedings generally pleased. One policy adviser noted that Sanders got 80 percent of what he was looking for in the platform, including language supporting a $15 minimum wage and a carbon tax.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Sanders also credited Clinton for two key positions she has articulated in the last two weeks regarding access to healthcare and college affordability.
“Hillary Clinton wants to see that all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their health care exchange, which will lower the cost of healthcare,” the independent senator said, referring to a government-run health insurance program that would compete against private insurers.
A public option was stripped out of the Affordable Care Act before Congress approved the law. Clinton had previously been a supporter of the public option, but took to lambasting Sanders on the campaign trail for his calls to expand government-run healthcare.
Turning to the rising costs of higher education, Sanders on Tuesday stated: “Hillary Clinton believes that we must substantially lower student debt, and that we must make public colleges and universities tuition free for the middle class and working families of this country.”
That, too, was a position Clinton only adopted earlier this month, borrowing largely from Sanders’ initial calls to make tuition at public universities free for all students.
Before offering his endorsement of Clinton, Sanders gave a nod to what his 13 million supporters had accomplished over the last year, in accruing nearly 1,900 delegates during the primary contest.
“That is a lot of delegates, far more than almost anyone thought we could win,” Sanders said.
“But it is not enough to win the nomination,” he added, noting that Clinton heads into the convention carrying 389 more pledged delegates.
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that,” Sanders said to an eruption of cheers from the crowd. “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.”
The Sanders endorsement arrives just at a time when the Clinton campaign could use a boost. A Washington Post ABC News poll released this week showed that 56 percent of Americans disagreed with the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against the former Secretary of State for mishandling government secrets.
The presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump — who has seen his poll numbers rise in the last few days despite allegations of anti-Semitism — reacted to Tuesday’s Democratic unity rally by calling Sanders a sellout on Twitter.
“Bernie Sanders, who has lost most of his leverage, has totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. He will endorse her today — fans angry!” the businessman tweeted on Tuesday.