For the 13 million people who cast their vote for Senator Bernie Sanders and the millions more who could not vote in the Democratic primary due to party affiliation or poverty, Tuesday’s concession speech leaves no doubt as to Sanders’ aims for the Presidency of the United States. He stated, in no uncertain terms, that Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination process, and he will do everything in his power to see that she is the next president.
Sanders said, with great emotion:
Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that. 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.
There is no doubt that with the possibility of Donald Trump becoming president, Democrats, Independents, and even thinking Republicans are all aware that we are in a battle for the survival of the country. Secretary Clinton is our best chance to defeat him. Sanders knows it, and he is going to bring his considerable weight to bear for the good of the country, which at this time is a vote for the Democratic nominee, the only candidate who already holds a voter base that means they can defeat Trump.
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.
For those of us who are self-described Berniecrats, it is clear that all of the reasons we voted for Sanders in the primary still hold true. It is also clear that only if we band together to put a Democrat in the White House, and fire the do-nothing congressional Republicans by voting them out as well, can Sanders and the progressives actually make a difference in this country. Americans are desperate for change and as Sanders says, “Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that.”
And the profound lesson that I have learned from all of that is that this campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, or any other candidate who sought the presidency. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face. And there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that.
The bulk of America is treading water. Many are barely getting by. They are stricken by small emergencies and are unable to recover in an economy which stifles them, yet allows those few rich men (like Trump) to thrive despite their lack of humanity and compassion, simply because of the advantages which we afford the already advantaged. Sanders made that clear when he contrasted the two major candidates, saying that Hillary Clinton knows we must fix the rigged economy, assure a living wage for all Americans, and create jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
Donald Trump, according to Sanders, not only doesn’t understand the plight of the working poor, he believes states should have the right to abolish the concept of a minimum wage. Without this rigged economy, Trump would not be the powerful man that he is: it is in his best interest to protect the class and financial disparity in this country. He is one of the billionaires who is helped, why would he ever fight against his own best interests when we have 50 odd years of behavior that show that NOTHING else is more important to Trump?
Sanders drove home the point that this election is extremely important and that we must continue to make positive changes. We must elect a president who will choose Supreme Court justices who support all Americans and who will end Citizens United.
This election is about which candidate will nominate Supreme Court justices who are prepared to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision which allows billionaires to buy elections and undermine our democracy; about who will appoint new justices on the Supreme Court who will defend a woman’s right to choose, the rights of the LGBT community, workers’ rights, the needs of minorities and immigrants, and the government’s ability to protect the environment.
In every issue that is pivotal to the American people, from health care to wages, to human rights, Hillary Clinton is a better choice than Donald Trump. Sanders showed the same sort of fire, the same sort of reverence for the common man that we have come to respect as he talked about the changes that his candidacy and the awakening of the millennial giant have wrought in the Democratic party platform, calling the recently accepted Democratic Platform “by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”
It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s what this campaign has been about. That’s what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee which ended Sunday night in Orlando, 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. Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.
Sanders has, without shaming the deeply held beliefs of those who still hold on to the hope that he is electable without the Democratic nomination, weakened the Bernie or Bust movement to the point that it is no longer viable.
He has the country’s best interests at heart. A split vote would give the nomination to Donald Trump, as is inevitable. Hillary’s base will not vote for a third party candidate, they don’t have to, Clinton won. It would be a catastrophic failure of democracy. It is time to put our strength with his, and keep pushing, pulling and dragging this country back from the brink of unredeemable oligarchy, to extend to all Americans basic human rights, like education and healthcare, and yes — vote for Hillary Clinton.
Call me a shill, call me a false progressive, but never say that I used my vote to jeopardize the futures of every child in this country. Never say that I used my vote to give Donald Trump a better chance at defeating Hillary Clinton. And never say that I chose to throw away 8 years of progress because I didn’t get my first pick.
Sanders closed his speech with these words, and it is only right that I close this article the same:
I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children.
Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here today.
This is an excerpt from the speech:
And here is the complete, nearly two-hour event, Sanders takes the stage at 38:00:
Featured image via video screen capture