After getting a significant say in the official Democratic Party platform, and perhaps some concessions we don’t yet know about, Bernie Sanders finally endorsed Hillary Clinton this week, putting an end to the speculation. Appearing with her in New Hampshire, Sanders gave his supporters a long list of issues on which he and Hillary agree, conveniently leaving out the issues he’s been hammering her on for the last six months.
That’s nothing we haven’t seen before – vicious primary opponents suddenly forgetting all of that nasty stuff they said about each other is a staple of our politics.
But in this instance, Sanders has built an insurgent movement – not against Republicans or conservatism – but against the very D.C. establishment symbolized by Hillary Clinton. And a great many of his supporters are behind him on that message more than they are his ultra-liberal political beliefs. For those supporters, the only choice left is Donald Trump.
Trump won’t be able to pull the free college crowd over, but he can reach out to those disgruntled Sanders supporters who think the whole Democratic primary was rigged from the outset. Which it very clearly was. Trump sees the problems with our political system, and he – like Sanders – wants to make sure that WE choose our elected representatives, not the elite.
Trump, also like Sanders, believes that our free trade agreements have led to economic disaster. Anyone of Sanders’ supporters who feel the same do not have any business voting for Hillary Clinton. Regardless of what she’s saying now to pander for votes.
But most of all, Trump is not Hillary Clinton. And Sanders’ supporters have gotten a long (although incomplete) glimpse at the kind of person the Democratic nominee really is. For the last six months, Sanders has explained to his supporters that she makes disastrous foreign policy decisions, obeys the orders of Wall Street power brokers, exploits the same campaign financing scheme she claims to oppose, and is “not qualified” to be president.
Granted, Sanders coming out to endorse Trump would be just as incongruent with his past statements. And despite their similarities on a few key issues, Trump and Sanders could not be more divergent on many others. That’s why most of his voters will switch over to Hillary without a second thought.
But the others – the die-hards who are more anti-establishment than they are anti-conservative – cannot possibly buy into this endorsement. They heard the message. They know what Hillary’s all about. They recognize the need for real change. Those voters still have a chance to be a part of a movement.
As Trump said himself, we welcome you with open arms.