Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) dropped his presidential bid and officially endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"I know that some of you will be disappointed with that decision," he wrote to his supporters after making the announcement at a Clinton rally. "But I believe that, at this moment, our country, our values and our common vision for a transformed America, are best served by the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Hillary Clinton."
Sanders said that in the last several weeks, his campaign has worked with Clinton's "in good faith" to bridge some of the gaps on policy issues between the two candidates. And while they did not come to agreement on everything discussed, he said they "made important steps forward."
"Hillary Clinton released a debt free college plan that we developed together which now includes free tuition at public colleges and universities for working families," he said. "This was a major part of our campaign's agenda and a proposal that, if enacted into law, would revolutionize higher education in this country.
"Secretary Clinton has also publicly committed to massive investments in health care for communities across this country that will increase primary care, including mental health care, dental care and low-cost prescription drug access for an additional 25 million people. Importantly, she has also endorsed the enactment of a so-called public option to allow everyone in this country to participate in a public insurance program. This idea was killed by the insurance industry during consideration of President Obama's health care program.
"During the Democratic platform proceedings in St. Louis and Orlando, 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."
Noting all of those policies were at the heart of his campaign, Sanders said "the truth is our movement is responsible for the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of our country." But, he added, none of it will happen if Clinton isn't elected president in November.
"In fact, we will go backward," he said. "We must elect the Democratic nominee in November and progressive Democrats up and down the ballot so that we ensure that these policy commitments can advance."
The Trump campaign immediately responded with a statement from senior adviser Stephen Miller, who said Sanders "is now officially part of a rigged system." The Democratic Party, he added, is "disenfranchising its voters to benefit the select and privileged few."
"Today, Bernie Sanders [endorsed] one of the most pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and pro-off shoring candidates in the history of the Democratic Party," he added. "The candidate who ran against special interests is endorsing the candidate who embodies special interests. The candidate who ran against TPP is endorsing the candidate who helped draft the TPP. The candidate who ran in opposition to globalization is running against the candidate who has led the push for globalization. The candidate who warned that open borders destroy the working class is endorsing the candidate with the most open borders policy in our history. The candidate who wants to reform H1-B visas is endorsing the candidate who supported lifting the caps on H1-B visas. The candidate who wants less war is endorsing the candidate who launched wars in Iraq and Libya and would lead us to a new war in Syria. The candidate who wants to get money out of politics is voting for the candidate who has made a career out of making money from politics."
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