Nearly a month after the conclusion of the final Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in a sometimes perfunctory address that focused heavily on the economic issues that animated his surprise upstart challenge to the former secretary of state.
In a mechanical opening at the joint rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sanders listed his accomplishments in winning the support of millions of Democratic voters before acknowledging that, yes, Clinton won the primary, that she would be the Democratic nominee, and that he would support her against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Senator Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process,” Sanders said. “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.”
After that turgid start, though, Sanders pivoted to describing the common causes between the two sometimes bitter rivals for the Democratic nomination.
“I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton,” the Vermont Senator said. “And why she must become our next president.”
Sanders at first framed the endorsement as a necessary choice, saying she was “far and away the best candidate” of the two remaining available options.
He then went onto list areas of overlap between the two, describing the causes that drove his campaign as causes that “Hillary Clinton believes in,” citing expansion of health care, closing of the wage gap, overturning Citizens United, defending a woman’s right to choose, increasing the minimum wage, fighting poverty, and combating climate change.
He did not back down, though, from his basic disputes with Clinton, which during the campaign was focused on her insider status and ties to Wall Street.
“It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That is what this campaign has been about. That is what Democracy is about,” he said.
But, he went onto say, that he was pleased with the a Democratic platform that was crafted over the weekend largely in the progressive image of his own campaign.
“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 said. “Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled House, and a Hillary Clinton presidency.”
The most ringing portion of the endorsement came at the end, with Sanders bringing up some of the personal reasons why he had chosen to support Clinton. But even this portion felt a bit lifeless, with Sanders citing Clinton’s intellect and passion on children’s issues, and failing to address her integrity, which he directly challenged during the campaign and which will continue to be an issue the Republicans attack in the wake of the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation into her email scandal.
“I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years,” he said. “I remember her as a great First Lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a First Lady was supposed to play. And as she helped lead the fight to universal health care. I served with her in the U.S. Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of our children. And I know her and all of you know her as one of the most intelligent people that we have ever met. Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her today.”