The Democrats’ day of unity

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at 2008 Orlando, Florida rally

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at 2008 Orlando, Florida rally

President Barack Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United States via video on Thursday. The video was released after Obama met with Bernie Sanders at the White House, at Sanders’ request. Obama’s endorsement of Clinton was part of a dramatic series of events orchestrated to celebrate and build upon Clinton’s clinching of the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, and to showcase a newfound unity in the Democratic Party in support of Clinton.

The Democratic unity continued on Thursday evening, when U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gave a full-throated endorsement of Clinton on MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow Show, after delivering a blistering speech attacking Donald Trump before the American Constitution Society. Also speaking at the ACS was Vice-President Joe Biden, who gave what some called an endorsement of Clinton, although a less formal one. Biden said, “whoever the next president is, and in my view, God willing, it’ll be Secretary Clinton.” Also somewhat buried during this big day of stagecraft was former Clinton Democratic primary rival Martin O’Malley‘s endorsement of Clinton.

The endorsement of Clinton by Elizabeth Warren was seen as especially crucial, since Warren represents the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Indeed, some Bernie Sanders supporters previously excoriated Warren after Warren had failed to endorse Sanders. O’Malley likewise represents a more liberal strain of the Democratic Party. All in all, it was a tremendous day of Democratic Party unity, holding the promise that these high-profile surrogates will all hit the campaign trail in support of Clinton and other down-ticket Democratic Party candidates in this year’s elections. 

Somewhat behind the curve regarding Thursday’s Democratic Party unity, however, was Bernie Sanders. President Obama’s video endorsing Hillary Clinton was apparently produced days ago. That awkward time frame — including the video’s release just one hour after Sanders left his White House meeting — is perhaps a reflection that Obama has not forgotten Sanders’ call for Obama to be primaried in 2012, or Sanders’ (and his surrogates such as Cornel West‘s) criticisms of the president before and since then. Indeed, after the meeting, Sanders took to the microphones in the White House driveway and again talked about “issues that we will take to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July.” Likewise, at a Washington, D.C. rally later in the day, Sanders talked about what he will do as president. While it’s clear that the next step in the Democratic Party’s new-found unity is to try to enlist Bernie Sanders’ supporters in the fight against Donald Trump and the Republicans, it’s possible that Sanders, if he becomes the lone holdout, will be left behind.

Photo by Nathan Forget, used under Creative Commons license.

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