Philadelphia: Ending months of animosity, Vermont governor Bernie Sanders today “proudly” endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton for the top post, saying she must become the next US President as the choice between her and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is not “close”.
“Based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close,” 71-year-old Sanders said in his address to the Democratic National Convention which kicked off here.
Sanders who, to the surprise of many, attracted millions of supporters during the primary season espousing his “political revolution” that would provide free health care, free education, increase minimum wage and impose taxes on the rich, asserted that the other option before Americans this presidential election is not worth it.
The endorsement by Sanders who has been a thorn in Clinton’s side over the last year ends a lengthy and awkward – period in which many were wondering if and how he would back Clinton.
“In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up. While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” he told his cheering supporters.
“Yes. We become stronger when black and white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American – all of us – stand together. Yes. We become stronger when men and women, young and old, gay and straight, native-born and immigrant fight to create the kind of country we all know we can become,” he said.
Many of them were even seen wiping tears. Acknowledging that he and Clinton disagree on a number of issues, he said 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 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,” he said.
“Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up of major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said.
“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight,” said the Senator from Vermont who during the primary election season gave some sleepless nights to the former Secretary of State by winning as many as 23 primaries.
During the primaries, 13 million Americans voted for him, giving him the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight – 46 percent of the total.
“We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger – not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans – and divides us up,” he said.
The Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is wooing Sanders supporters to his camp in a series of tweets was highly critical of the Senator from Vermont.
“Sad to watch Bernie Sanders abandon his revolution. We welcome all voters who want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs,” he tweeted.