Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton at a campaign event Tuesday morning. You can read the full text of his endorsement here. The two appeared together at a campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that. She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States," Sanders said.
"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," he continued. In his speech, he went on to sharply criticize Donald Trump, and praised Clinton for understanding the nation's economic challenges, supporting a public option for health insurance, and listening to scientists on climate change.
Now, Sanders didn't announce that he’s suspending or ending his campaign. Regardless, though, this event effectively brings a long and often contentious Democratic primary to a close, and unifies the party around the shared goal of defeating the Republicans and their presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Sanders’s endorsement shouldn’t be a surprise
Many political observers were shocked when, after the final primaries concluded in early June, Sanders resolved to stay in the race rather than dropping out — even though Clinton had won more delegates, more votes, and more states.
Indeed, some even feared that an embittered Sanders would never endorse Clinton, and that his holdout could imperil her changes to defeat Donald Trump in the fall.
But as the weeks went on, it gradually became clear that Sanders wasn't staying in because he was a bitter dead-ender, but was instead trying to maximize his leverage in shaping the Democratic Party’s platform, which has been the subject of negotiations over the past few weeks.
And, according to his camp, it worked. Sanders adviser Warren Gunnells said that "at least 80 percent" of the changes Sanders wanted ended up being included in the platform, moving the party's stated positions leftward on the minimum wage, environmental policy, and many other issues. Jeff Stein has more here.
No, Sanders didn’t get everything he wanted — for instance, the platform committee refused to approve an amendment outright opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. And it's not entirely clear how much of this leftward movement was caused by Sanders, versus how much would have happened anyway due to a partywide leftward drift.
But as Sanders has long made clear, he has no interest in helping a Republican president — especially Donald Trump — get elected. He may not agree with Clinton on everything, but he's a whole lot closer to her than Donald Trump.