Sanders expected to endorse Clinton today

When he joins her on the campaign trail in New Hampshire today, Bernie Sanders is widely expected to endorse Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

A statement jointly released by the Sanders and Clinton campaigns combines the themes of both campaigns: ” … U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will join Hillary Clinton for a campaign event at Portsmouth High School to discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

The Communications Workers of America, the largest union to endorse Sanders, has already announced it will back Clinton.

The endorsements come on the heels of the Democratic Party Platform Committee’s adoption of a final platform draft that includes a call for a $15 federal minimum wage and several other planks pushed by committee members representing the close to 1,900 delegates who will come to the Democratic National Convention as supporters of Bernie Sanders.

Clinton will go to the convention with more than enough delegates to clinch the presidential nomination.

The 187-member Platform Committee adopted its final draft after two days of marathon re-write sessions in Orlando, Florida.

Speaking about the draft adopted by the Platform Committee, Sanders said “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process – many for the first time – we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

This view was echoed by Clinton senior policy adviser Maya Harris, who said “We are proud of the work that Democrats did in Orlando and for coming together to further strengthen the most progressive platform in the history of our party.”

Aside from doubling the federal minimum wage and automatically tying future hikes to cost of living increases, the platform draft now includes a strong criminal justice reform plank that calls for the Department of Justice to investigate all shootings involving police officers.

It also supports Congress putting a price on carbon and methane to discourage continued use of fossil fuels that are causing severe climate change and says lawmakers must consider the impact on the climate of all federal decisions and invest heavily in wind and solar power.

Moreover, the final platform draft urges passage of progressive immigration reform and calls for legalization of marijuana.

Platform language passed by drafters last month in St. Louis already included commitments to abolish the death penalty, break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions, establish a modern Glass-Steagall Act, end corporate tax loopholes, ban private prisons and expand Social Security.

The progressive platform amendments adopted in Orlando and St. Louis were in addition to pledges made last week by Clinton.

On Saturday, she announced a health care program that her campaign developed in consultation with Sanders. The new plan would allow those older than 55 to participate in Medicare, clear the way for a public option for health insurance and dramatically expand community health centers which provide primary care, dental care, low-cost prescription drugs and mental health counseling.

Moreover, last Wednesday, Clinton announced a plan that would make public colleges and universities tuition free for the vast majority of American students.

Writing for the NBC News online service, political reporter Alex Seitz-Wald stated, “Clinton won the nomination and now effectively controls the party, but it was Sanders who drove the process in Orlando.

“While many questioned his decision to stay in the primary race long after losing the nomination, none of the progress of his ideas on the platform would have happened if he had dropped out.”

Even so, Sanders supporters lost three votes taken by the platform committee: there is no rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, no plank condemning the revolving door between government and corporations, and a Sanders-backed measure to “end the occupation” of Palestine failed.

Nevertheless, writes Seitz-Wald, ” … both campaigns used the platform process to find common ground, moving ahead with plans for Sanders to endorse Clinton …”

The platform must now be presented for ratification at the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in three weeks.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America, has switched its endorsement from Sanders to Clinton.

A statement released by the union praises Clinton’s “commitment to making life better for working families.”

The statement also says, “She’s walked with us on the Verizon picket line. She supports the call to get big money out of politics. She is committed to ending special treatment for Wall Street and the one percent.”

Sanders issued a statement saying “While we have made great progress in the Democratic platform advancing the issues that have inspired millions of Americans in this campaign, the fight is just beginning.

“If we are going to transform America and create a government which works for all and not just the one percent, we need to elect candidates who will fight for these principles. We need to elect a Democratic congress and President and make certain that the language in the Democratic platform is translated into law.’

Sanders concluded, “We must ensure that progress for working families in America does not end on the pages of the Democratic platform but becomes reality.”

Photo: AP


Larry Rubin
Larry Rubin

Larry Rubin has been a union organizer, a speechwriter and an editor of union publications. He was a civil rights organizer in the Deep South and is often invited to speak on applying Movement lessons to today's challenges. He has produced several folk music shows.