Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has endorsed rival Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States, conceding defeat in the party’s primary election after a bruising 14-month campaign.
The announcement by the Vermont senator in New Hampshire, a state that delivered one of his biggest wins in the party’s nominating process, paves the way for Mrs Clinton to be formally named the Democratic nominee without opposition at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia on July 25th.
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process,” said Mr Sanders, to cheers and sustained applause, with Mrs Clinton standing next to him at her campaign rally in Portsmouth. “And I congratulate her for that.”
His endorsement came more than a month after Mrs Clinton secured enough delegates to be able to claim victory in the Democratic primary, a delay that surprised many given her decisive convention delegate count.
“She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain that she will be the next president of the United States,” said the self-professed democratic socialist whom Mrs Clinton struggled to defeat during his populist campaign that fired up progressives.
“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,” Mr Sanders said at the joint campaign event in front of a podium emblazoned with Mrs Clinton’s election slogan, ‘Stronger Together’.
Appearing to suggest that he intended to campaign heavily in the coming four-month general election campaign, Mr Sanders said that he intended to be “in every corner of this country to make sure that happens.”
“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her today,” said the socialist, concluding his remarks with a hug for the woman he had once accused of being beholden to big corporate interests.
Mrs Clinton’s challenge now is to unite the party after a brutal primary and win over the more than 13 million voters who backed her rival on a staunchly progressive manifesto of polices, including millions of young Democrats and independents who voted for him in such large numbers.
Bernie has already succeeding in contributing policies to the Democratic election platform.
In an email to supporters, he lists policies that he has successfully had included in the platform: “We were victorious in including amendments to make it a clear priority of the Democratic Party to fight for a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, expand Social Security, abolish the death penalty, put a price on carbon, establish a path toward the legalization of marijuana, enact major criminal justice reforms, pass comprehensive immigration reform, end for-profit prisons and detention facilities, break up too-big-to-fail banks and create a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, close loopholes that allow big companies to avoid taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens and use that revenue to rebuild America, approve the most expansive agenda ever for protecting Native American rights and so much more.”