Democrat Bernie Sanders is expected to endorse former rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the first time on Tuesday. After losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Clinton over a month ago, Sanders will join her at a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he won by 22 percentage points in the Democratic primary.
The rally was organized to end their bitter rivalry and to solidify Clinton’s support from the Democratic Party. It is held about two weeks before Clinton is set to become the party’s official presidential candidate at the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Clinton’s camp pressed Sanders for an endorsement for weeks in private negotiations with Sanders’ officials. Viewing an endorsement as leverage in discussions over Democratic Party policies, Sanders successfully convinced Clinton last week to include many of his liberal policies in her platform. This includes expanded healthcare coverage, implementing a $15 minimum wage, greater banking regulation, a tax on carbon emissions and free in-state college tuition for all families earning less than $125,000 per annum (or 80% of American families).
“We have made enormous strides,” boasted Sanders to reporters in a statement made two days before his anticipated endorsement. “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.”
However, Sanders was unsuccessful in pushing all of policy positions on the party, as he lost the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both Clinton and Sanders oppose the new free-trade deal in its existing form, but Sanders did not want it to even appear for a vote.
Clinton’s campaign hopes Sanders’ endorsement will rally the support of young liberals who saw Sanders as the anti-establishment candidate and whom he consistently won over with margins as high six-to-one in the primary. Recent Reuters/Ipsos polls show that approximately only 40 percent of Sanders’ supporters presently say they will support Clinton.
President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a favorite of the party’s liberal wing, have already announced their support of Clinton. President Obama and Senator Warren have already made a joint appearance with Clinton on her campaign trail.
The Communications Workers of America labor union and the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, two prominent liberal organizations that previously supported Sanders, shifted their allegiances to Clinton on Monday.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC is led by two of Sanders’ biggest backers in Congress: Raul Grijalva of Arizona, who already had endorsed Clinton, and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
“With the Democratic Party on track to ratify the most progressive platform in recent history, and Clinton continuing to campaign on progressive ideas, Sanders supporters can feel good that they helped to transform the future of the Democratic Party and America,” stated Kait Sweeney, a former campaign staffer for Sanders and a spokeswoman for the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
New Hampshire, where Sanders defeated Clinton in the Democratic primary, is also where Clinton and Obama held their first joint rally in 2008 after Obama won the primary race.
Ongoing negotiations between the Sanders and Clinton campaign are still trying to decide precisely how much he will campaign for Clinton and what role he will play, but Sanders has stated, “I’m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.”