Bernie Sanders took the stage Monday night, and did his best to convince his supporters to rally behind Hillary Clinton
“I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process,” he told delegates and supporters at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. “I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am. But to all of our supporters – here and around the country – I hope you take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments we have achieved.
But in his speech last night, Sanders said he would do “everything [he] can” to help elect Clinton and give her a Democratic Congress to work with–thus encouraging his supporters to do the same.
“Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen,” he said.
Sanders acknowledged that he and Clinton have not always agreed on the issues that defined his campaign–but said that with his influence the Democratic platform is the “most progressive” in history.
“It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s what this campaign has been about. That is what democracy is about,” he said. “But I’m 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.”
Sanders specifically praised the anti-Wall Street provisions in the newly passed platform, as well as the opposition to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In the opening of his speech, Sanders thanked his supporters for making those things happen, noting the accomplishments they made possible: from his 1,846 pledged delegates to his “hundreds of thousands” of volunteers to the 2.5 million people who donated to the effort.
“This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency,” he said, to cheers from the crowd. “This election is not about political gossip. It’s not about polls. It’s not about campaign strategy. It’s not about fundraising. It is not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing.”
“This election is about – and must be about – the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren,” he continued.
He encouraged his supporters to turn out, and to turn out for Clinton – a nod to the fears that Sanders supporters, many of whom are new to the political process, will opt to stay home entirely in November.
“If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country,” he said.
“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.”
Sanders noted he’s known Clinton for decades, calling her a “fierce advocate” for children and said she will make an “outstanding” president.