PHILADELPHIA — The man himself tried to soothe the “Bern” at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night.
Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a rousing speech in which he implored the rebellious band of political revolutionaries who backed his presidential campaign to line up behind his former primary rival, Hillary Clinton.
After several minutes of roaring applause, Sanders addressed the elephant in the room. Many of his supporters insist they will refuse to back Clinton, the party’s presumptive nominee. Throughout the primary, Sanders and his team alleged that the Democratic National Committee was biased in favor of Clinton. The leak of emails over the weekend — which showed that DNC staffers were working to undermine Sanders’ bid for the presidency — fueled protests at the convention that even led to boos for Sanders himself earlier in the day. In his speech, Sanders acknowledged the anger many of his supporters feel.
“I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process. I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am,” Sanders said.
“But to all of our supporters here and around the country, I hope you take enormous pride in the historic accomplishments we have achieved together. My friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution, our revolution, continues,” he continued.
Sanders endorsed Clinton on July 12, but he never formally suspended his campaign. Though he urged his supporters not to protest at the convention, in his speech, Sanders said he looked forward to seeing delegates vote for him during the roll call on Tuesday. Nevertheless, Sanders unequivocally urged his backers to vote for Clinton in November rather than Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom he framed as divisive.
“We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger, not leadership which insults Latinos and Mexicans, insults Muslims, and women, African-Americans, and veterans, and Sikhs to divide us up,” Sanders said. “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that, based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”
Sanders didn’t just paint Clinton as preferable to Trump. He also touted her progressive credentials, including her support for increasing the minimum wage, immigration reform and Supreme Court justices who would support abortion and LGBT rights. Sanders also further noted the concessions that he and his team managed to win in the Democratic Party platform, which he framed as a “coming together” between the two campaigns.
“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her here tonight,” Sanders said.