Hillary Clinton may have finally gotten a high-profile holdout on board. Four weeks after the Democratic primary season came to an end, Sen. Bernie Sanders seems ready to back his rival. The two candidates released a statement Monday saying they would appear together in Portsmouth, N.H., on Tuesday. The Vermont progressive is expected to endorse Clinton at the joint rally. The question now: How enthusiastic will he be, and will his supporters — some of whom dislike Clinton enough to say they will vote for Donald Trump — be willing to fall in line.
Sanders’ own feelings about Clinton became an issue as the Democratic race dragged on through the spring. He protested against a “rigged” system and appeared to spend more time criticizing Clinton’s lucrative Wall Street speeches and support for free trade agreements than in taking down the other party’s presumptive nominee.
But last week he rejected Trump’s charge that he “hates” the former secretary of state.
“No, I do not hate Secretary Clinton,” Sanders told MSNBC. “I’ve known her for 25 years. I have a lot of respect for her. We’ve worked together. We have disagreements on issues, but to say that I hate her is absolutely untrue.”
After a month of negotiations, they have fewer disagreements. The Democratic party platform now calls for a $15 minimum wage, and Clinton has been focusing her campaign more explicitly on income inequality. After meetings with the Sanders team, she announced an expansion of her health care agenda, which he praised as a “significant step forward.” She also recently announced a plan to make college more affordable and to relieve student debt, adopting some pieces of his free tuition proposal.
The Democrats’ meeting of the minds was evident in the announcement of the Tuesday rally. The statement used the “Stronger Together” phrase that is Clinton’s campaign slogan, and also talked about “an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”