Bernie Sanders, speaking to supporters in a live online address on Thursday, said that he will work with Hillary Clinton to “transform” the Democratic Party and said that defeating Donald Trump was “the major political task we face in the next five months.”
He did not suspend his campaign, and in fact talked of taking the “energy” from his grassroots following to the Democratic National Convention. He didn’t praise Clinton or indicate that an endorsement was imminent.
But his speech seemed to lay the groundwork for the path he intends pursue, suggesting that he is looking to channel his unexpected success in the primaries into a movement that will also concentrate on urging candidates to run in down ballot races and pressing his progressive agenda in the party platform.
Sanders met with Clinton in Washington on Tuesday.
“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. “I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life.”
Sanders said that he wants to make certain that Trump is “is defeated and defeated badly,” and added that he “personally intend(s) to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.”
He was critical of the Democratic National Committee, saying that the 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. 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,” he said.
Much of Sanders’ speech — called “The Political Revolution Continues” — focused on the issues he illuminated during his campaign, including campaign finance and income inequality. He said that the party needed to “open its doors and welcome into ranks working people and young people.”
“We have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America, a fight that will continue tomorrow, next week, next year and into the future,” he said.