Published July 11, 2016
Bernie Sanders is set to join Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail Tuesday, apparently ready to end the hold-out and formally endorse the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee – after having reshaped chunks of the party platform in his image.
The Vermont senator’s campaign declared victory over the weekend in helping write the “most progressive platform in party history,” after the Platform Committee adopted a slew of changes on climate change, the minimum wage and more. This comes after Clinton herself rolled out health care and college proposals that align more closely with Sanders’ positions.
He didn’t get everything he wanted: Most notably, the Democratic National Convention's Platform Committee voted down amendments to explicitly oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
But, in sum, Sanders appears to have succeeded in pulling the party – and potentially its standard-bearer -- to the left on key issues, as he moves to help Clinton unify after a fractious primary. At the same time, the liberal stances could help Donald Trump draw even more of a contrast with his presumptive presidential rival as the candidates look toward November.
“We have made enormous strides,” Sanders said in a statement Sunday. “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process – many for the first time – we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”
Sanders announced that he will join Clinton Tuesday at a high school in Portsmouth, N.H. – more than a month after the final primary.
Sanders has not yet said he will endorse Clinton, but told reporters on Saturday that the two campaigns were coming together and to stay tuned.
All along, Sanders had stayed in the race to pursue revisions in the party platform and other changes.
As the policy meeting concluded after midnight on Sunday morning, aides to Clinton and Sanders both hailed the newly amended platform draft as the "most progressive" in party history. The draft includes many of Sanders' priorities, including a call for a $15 federal minimum wage over time, steps to break up large Wall Street banks and support to end the death penalty. On the issue of global warming, it includes support for pricing greenhouse gases, prioritizing renewable energy and limiting fracking.
"I think if you read the platform right now, you will understand that the political revolution is alive and kicking," said Sanders policy adviser Warren Gunnels.
Meanwhile, Clinton over the weekend rolled out an updated health care plan that, among other things, backed giving Americans the choice of a “public-option insurance plan” – a move hailed by Sanders.
"We have more work to do to finish our long fight to provide universal, quality, affordable health care to everyone in America," Clinton said in a statement.
She also called earlier for ensuring that families with annual incomes up to $125,000 would pay no tuition at in-state public colleges and universities – not quite the free college tuition Sanders supports, but a move his campaign touted as a step in the right direction.
Clinton’s policy plans earned her scorn from the right, however.
Jeremy Adler, communications director with the conservative AR Squared, decried what he described as the “socialist takeover” of the party.
“Desperate to win over the Warren-Sanders crew that deeply distrusts her, Secretary Clinton is willing to adopt even the most extreme left-wing views as her own. There is quite literally nothing she won’t do or say to fit in today’s modern Democratic socialist party,” he said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.