Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Sanders Says Working With Clinton to Defeat Trump Is Now the Priority

WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders told his followers that the priority now was defeating Donald Trump and the bigotry he said the GOP nominee represented. He pledged to work with Hillary Clinton to make sure that happens, although he did not yet withdraw from the race for the Democratic presidential nod.

“The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly,” Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, said in an address live-streamed Thursday evening to his followers. “And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.”

Sanders, the first Jewish candidate to win major party nominating contests, noted his differences with Clinton on some issues, but, in a shift, emphasized that the greater threat was Trump, the Republican real estate magnate whose nomination has roiled the presidential race with accusations that he is running a campaign undergirded by bigotry.

“After centuries of racism, sexism and discrimination of all forms in our country we do not need a major party candidate who makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign,” he said. “We cannot have a president who insults Mexicans and Latinos, Muslims, women and African-Americans. We cannot have a president who, in the midst of so much income and wealth inequality, wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very rich. We cannot have a president who, despite all of the scientific evidence, believes that climate change is a hoax.”

Clinton, the former secretary of state, last week secured enough delegates to be declared the presumptive nominee, but Sanders is credited with nudging her to the left on issues like Wall Street reform, income equality and trade protection. He said he would continue to press Clinton on those issues. And for the first time in months, he emphasized that his agenda had much in common with hers.

“It is no secret that Secretary Clinton and I have strong disagreements on some very important issues,” he said. “It is also true that our views are quite close on others. I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.”

He said he would also work to transform how the party selects its candidate, opening up the nominating process, and urged the party to extend its campaigning into all 50 states.

“The current Democratic Party leadership has turned its back on dozens of states in this country and has allowed right-wing politicians to win elections in some states with virtually no opposition – including some of the poorest states in America,” Sanders said. “The Democratic Party needs a 50-state strategy. We may not win in every state tomorrow but we will never win unless we recruit good candidates and develop organizations that can compete effectively in the future. We must provide resources to those states which have so long been ignored.”

A 50-state strategy, spearheaded by Howard Dean when he led the Democratic National Committee in the mid-2000s, helped Democrats win Congress for a period and elect President Barack Obama. Dean, a former governor of Sanders’ home state, Vermont, also led an insurgent presidential candidacy in 2004 that nudged the party left.

Since 2011, however, and under the stewardship of Sanders’ nemesis, DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, the party has focused more on securing swing states.

He called on his followers to remain involved, a signal to some Sanders’ backers who on social media have said they have been disillusioned with the process and may sit out this election. He said that instead they should considering running for office.

“I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level,” he said. “Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.