Now can we all play nice?
It’s happening. Can you feel the love in the air? The tempest that has been swirling around the Democratic Party for months is showing sgns of dissipating, and Hope’s poster child seems to be the one responsible for quelling the storm.
This morning, Barack Obama released a video endorsement of Hillary Clinton, saying, “I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it.” He had a coaching, conciliatory tone in his voice as he added, “In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”
A few hours before officially coming out in support of Clinton, Obama met with Senator Bernie Sanders (at the Senator’s request), presumably to talk about his campaign, the future of the party, and the prospect of a future in which Donald J. Trump ascends to the presidency, enabled by a fractured Democratic party. But that possible idiocracy doesn’t feel quite so terrifyingly close with The Washington Post reporting that, “the senator from Vermont indicated he is preparing to exit the Democratic nominating battle.”
Following the meeting, Sanders spoke in front of the White House and told reporters his campaign will remain active through the Washington D.C. primary next week, but that, “Needless to say, I’m going to do everything in my power, and I’m going to work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.”
And according to CNN, Sanders also explicitly mentioned working with Clinton for the coming general election, saying, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent.”
Sanders also thanked President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for withholding any support or candidate endorsements until the end of the primary race, and said that he will continue to fight for a government that supports “all of us, not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.”
His mission to rescue the middle class and alleviate the burdens placed on the poor is essential, and the issues that he has pushed to the fore throughout his campaign—e.g. raising the minimum wage and aggressively attacking the epidemic of student loan in America—are ones that can no longer be ignored, and indeed should be a part of the general election conversation. But the party and the executive branch are letting him know it’s time to back the candidate who has numerically clinched the position of Democratic presidential candidate. In addition to meeting with Obama, Sanders was also scheduled to speak with Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
The Sanders camp, for it’s part, is still maintaining that there is no nominee as of yet, as the official designation cannot be made until the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, told The Washington Post that “presumptive nominee,” which Clinton is now being described as, is just “a term of art that the media uses.” So, no, the battle between blue nominees is not technically over yet, but following Obama’s endorsement today we have reason to start hoping it will be very, very soon—and, lord willing, the fight won’t be taken to the Convention floor.
In his remarks, Obama was keen to praise Sanders for the fervor of his campaign, and for the way he has inspired so many to political engagement—much like he did during his first campaign in 2008. “Just like eight years ago, there are millions of Americans, not just Democrats, who've cast their ballots for the very first time. And a lot of that is thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders, who has run an incredible campaign.”
Party leaders and many onlookers exhausted by the in-fighting are ready for the healing to begin. Let’s hope that after next Tuesday, Clinton and Sanders can officially become partners instead of adversaries.