Bernie Sanders arrived at the Democratic convention after a weekend of calling for party unity, and things did not begin well. Earlier on Monday, Sanders was resoundingly booed when he told his supporters to elect Hillary Clinton. Sanders then reminded his fans that their most important objective is to defeat Donald Trump, but the message didn’t land. The next several hours saw Sanders delegates chanting his name and booing on the convention floor. The Bern sent out a delegate email, which read in part, “Our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning of backs, walking out, or other similar displays … that’s what the corporate media wants. That’s what Donald Trump wants.”
There was the lingering question of what would happen when Sanders took the official convention podium. Would his supporters boo on live television? Some of that happened but not on the previous level. However, there were certainly waves of “Bernie, Bernie!” in the audience. Sanders’ discomfort was evident when this happened, but this is unequivocal proof of his revolution’s success. The Bern’s followers are immensely loyal, yet he’s now tasked with rolling them over to Clinton. If Sanders can’t deliver, then the election could fall to Trump.
Sanders’ speech was relatively short (compared to his usual deliveries), but one key moment arrived when he first said, “I’m with Hillary.” There was a slight pause. He continued, “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.” Throughout, there were moments of audible audience dissent, but the cheers grew louder.
Sanders reminded his audience of what was truly vital: “Let me be as clear as I can… this election is not about political gossip, polls, campaign strategy … it is not about all the things the media spends so much time dissecting.” He reminded everyone how “This election is about overturning Citizens United.” Sanders insisted that this Supreme Court decision “allows the wealthiest person to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy elections and, in the process, undermine American democracy.” Sanders hoped to convince his supporters that Clinton would appoint justices to overturn such rulings.
Overall, Sanders concentrated mostly on issues, and he didn’t zero in on Clinton’s character until the very end. At that moment, the Bern emphasized how he’s known Clinton for 20 years, and he fully endorses her. Did this speech help Sanders unite the party? You can watch the full video below.