On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders gave up his presidential campaign and endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “She must become our next president,” Sanders declared – a direct contradiction with what he has spent the past six months saying.
“There is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that,” Sanders announced to a cheering audience in New Hampshire – the first state the senator won in the primary process. Since that fateful February day, Sanders has spent a lot of time and energy convincing voters that Clinton had no place in the Oval Office.
The following are just a few examples.
1 – “Are you qualified to be President of the United States when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street whose greed, recklessness and illegal behavior helped to destroy our economy?” – Philadelphia rally, April 2016.
However, Sanders may be singing a different tune when he is back in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. His change of heart Tuesday included telling the audience: “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.”
2 – “I proudly stood with the workers. Secretary Clinton stood with the big money interests” – Youngstown, Ohio March 14
Sanders has frequently attacked Clinton’s use of Super PACs and potential interest from elite banks. While the former secretary of state has been endorsed by many unions, such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Sanders’ speech swapped that rhetoric for something a little more flattering.
In his endorsement speech, he said: “Hillary Clinton understands that we must fix an economy in America that is rigged and that sends almost all new wealth and income to the top one percent.”
3 – “Do I have a problem, when a sitting Secretary of State and a Foundation ran by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, governments which are dictatorship… um yeah, do I have a problem with that? Yeah I do.”
Sanders passionately attacked the Clinton Foundation in June, calling its reception of money from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia a “conflict of interest.” However, on Tuesday he told the audience that Clinton “knows that it is absurd that middle-class Americans are paying an effective tax rate higher than hedge fund millionaires, and that there are corporations in this country making billions in profit while they pay no federal income taxes in a given year because of loopholes their lobbyists created.”
4 – “She was very reluctant to come out in opposition. She is running for president. She concluded it was a good idea to oppose the TPP, and she did.”
Clinton’s slow opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) raised the ire of both Sanders and his supporters. Perhaps through intense negotiations to make Clinton’s campaign more progressive, he is now willing to focus more on Clinton’s interior economy, saying, “She wants to create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, bridges, water systems and wastewater plants.”
5 – “Well, I don’t think Hillary Clinton can lead a political revolution”
Commenting on Clinton’s potential to carry the torch for the political revolution he claimed he was spearheading, Sanders lacked faith in her ability to make the changes he deemed necessary back in June, when he was on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
However, perhaps through negotiating the terms of his endorsement, Clinton’s platform sounds more and more like Sanders’ when he talks about it. Describing new platforms such as lowering student debt and making free education attainable without accruing massive amounts of debt, along with expanding the use of generic medicine and expanding community health centers all sound like shades of Sanders.
6 – “When you support and continue to support fracking, despite the crisis that we have in terms of clean water… the American people do not believe that that is the kind of president that we need to make the changes in America to protect the working families of this country.”
Back in an April debate, many voters were frustrated when Clinton gave a lengthy, difficult explanation about her stance on fracking. Sanders, a longtime opponent of hydraulic fracturing.
However, since the CNN Democratic Debate, Sanders and Clinton may have both shifted their positions on the matter that was once clear cut for the senator from Vermont.
According to Sanders, “Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that if we do not act boldly in the very near future there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, more rising sea levels.”
7 – “When this campaign began, I said that we got to end the starvation minimum wage of $7.25, raise it to $15. Secretary Clinton said let’s raise it to $12 … To suddenly announce now that you’re for $15, I don’t think is quite accurate.”
At the same CNN debate in Brooklyn, Sanders hammered on Clinton’s inconsistent stance on raising the minimum wage. While her opinion has shifted from debate to debate, it seems that Sanders’ has as well.
“She believes that we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage,” Sanders said, without specifying what the minimum wage would be increased to under her more progressive campaign.
8– “Almost all of the polls that… have come out suggest that I am a much stronger candidate against the Republicans than is Hillary Clinton.”
Sanders might be eating crow for this one. His entire endorsement speech often focused on the party’s need to defeat presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Throughout the speech, Sanders contrasted the new and improved Clinton strategy that includes more of Sanders’ talking points with those from Trump.
Sanders went as far as to place the importance of the election on keeping Trump away from the Supreme Court, saying, “If you don’t believe this election is important, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump will nominate, and what that means to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.”
9 – “[Super predators] was a racist term and everybody knew it was a racist term.”
Clinton’s involvement with the criminal justice reform of the 1990s that contributed to the mass incarceration has frequently been a contentious point in this election. In 1996, she went on to warn the public about the existence of “super predators,” or children with “no conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
However, both Clinton and Sanders have a track record of working with the civil rights movements, and now Sanders may not be so quick to put Clinton and racist in the same sentence.
“Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” he said Tuesday.
10 – “Let’s talk about why, in the 1990s, Wall Street got deregulated.”
“Did it have anything to do with the fact that Wall Street … spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions? Well, some people might think, yeah, that had some influence.”
Sanders has been an outspoken critic of Clinton’s potential financial conflicts of interest – particularly from the big banks he sought to break up. While there was no mention of breaking up the banks in his endorsement speech, Sanders spoke of Clinton’s commitments to the middle and working class instead, saying, “While Hillary Clinton supports making our tax code fairer, Donald Trump wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very wealthiest people in this country.”
While many of Sanders’ more passionate supporters have expressed their frustration with the endorsement of his former opponent, he argued that the election is about more than just the person sitting in the Oval Office.
“It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s what this campaign has been about. That’s what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee which ended Sunday night in Orlando, there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”