Today in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders held a remarkable unity rally in which Sanders enthusiastically endorsed Clinton for president. Standing in front of a giant American flag with his beaming former rival, Sanders said:
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.
Sanders went on to say, “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.”
Both Clinton and Sanders gave substantial speeches at the boisterous event, which highlighted each of their strengths and interests. For example, Sanders focused on economic issues, while Clinton spoke passionately about gun violence, saying, to big cheers, “surely we can agree that weapons of war have no place on the streets of America.” However, one area on which Clinton and Sanders both clearly agreed was the need to defeat Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election. For instance, Sanders said that Trump’s position on health care is the “same old Republican contempt for working families,” while Clinton said, “Donald Trump thinks wages are too high. . . . He does want to get rid of the federal minimum wage altogether.”
As most voters who followed the Democratic Party primaries know, Clinton and Sanders began on a note of unity at their first debate last October, but then their competition took some nasty turns. In particular, Sanders hammered at everything from Clinton’s judgment to her qualifications to be president, while Clinton often took a less direct approach, calculating that the day when she needed Sanders’ endorsement, and that of his supporters, would inevitably arrive. In contrast to the much nastier Republican Party primary contest, Clinton and Sanders notably did not run a slew of negative ads against each other. Nevertheless, supporters of each candidate slugged it out for months over social media, and there were plenty of hurt feelings on both sides.
It’s unrealistic to think that such hurt feelings will immediately dissipate in the wake of today’s unity rally. Indeed, there seemed to be a number of unhappy Sanders supporters on social media today, along with some Republicans, including Donald Trump and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, looking to continue sowing disagreement in the Democratic Party. However, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton seemed to reaffirm today that the stakes in the November election, especially the danger of Donald Trump picking U.S. Supreme Court justices and choosing both domestic and foreign policy priorities as president, are simply too high to do anything other than unite as Democrats.
Photo by Daniel Oines, used under Creative Commons license. https://is.gd/7qKk6O