It may have taken a tad longer than many wanted, myself included, but Bernie Sanders ended his campaign with the grace with which he began it. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, when he endorsed Hillary, he did so with a focus on the issues he campaigned on. The issues that resonated with young Americans across the nation. It was great to hear Bernie say about Hillary, "I will do everything I can to make sure she is the next President of the United States."
He spoke about the importance of this election "In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up. While Donald Trump is busy insulting Mexicans, Muslims, women, African Americans and veterans, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Yes. We become stronger when black and white, Latino, Asian American, Native American - all of us - stand together. Yes. We become stronger when men and women, young and old, gay and straight, native born and immigrant fight to rid this country of all forms of bigotry."
A recent poll by PEW research showed "Democrats and Democratic leaners who backed Sanders in the primary contests: 85% say they plan to vote for Clinton in the general election." Before November many more will decide to vote for Hillary. Whether it is because they love and admire her, or because they understand they should fear Trump, the result will be electing Hillary as the nation's 45th President.
Many of those remaining 'Bernie or Bust' people who are now upset with Sanders appear to have little understanding of how our government works. Some are agitators and that is fine. If they truly believe in what Bernie fought for they will never vote for Trump. Bernie has already begun explaining to them why Trump is the antithesis of everything he believes in.
Hillary made it clear to his supporters they are welcome in this campaign when she said "Let me close with this. To everyone here and everyone across the country who poured your heart and soul into Senator Sanders' campaign, thank you! Let's open the doors to everyone who shares our progressive values. This is one of the most important elections in our lifetimes. So, I'm asking you to stand with us, and then I'm asking you to keep working in the weeks, months, and yes, years ahead. You will always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House. I can't tell you how grateful I am to be standing here with Senator Sanders. Because I think both of us realize that each of our campaigns together represent the best of who we are."
Sanders is right when he says, "The profound lesson that I have learned is; this campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, or any other candidate who sought the presidency. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face. And there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that."
The final melding of campaigns is always done by staff and Robby Mook, Hillary's amazing campaign manager, deserves much credit for all his work. In a Politico interview Mook said "the most important message we have here is that there is a seat for everybody at the table and we need every voice to not only to be successful on Election Day but to get these policies enacted next year and in the years to come."
Working to put the campaigns together from the Sanders side is Jeff Weaver, Sanders campaign manager. Weaver praised Mook's efforts in bridging the divide saying "At the end of that process (a long tough primary) it's always a little difficult to come together with the people you've been competing against the last so many months, but I have to say Robby really extended an olive branch and I think evidenced himself to be a fair player who wanted to make things work, who wanted to be straight up in terms of dealing with the Sanders people and who was willing to put himself in the shoes of the millions of Sanders supporters who are obviously disappointed that the senator didn't win."
In the next two weeks in Cleveland and Philadelphia the Party tickets will be completed amid the speeches and the balloons. Vice Presidents will be named and platforms approved. The general election will formally begin. Bernie Sanders is ready to enter the fray for Hillary saying "Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled House, and a Hillary Clinton presidency. And I intend to be in every corner of this country to make certain that happens."
This will be a hard fought campaign. We are seeing polls all over the place but wise people won't look at polls till sometime in September when people begin to get fully focused on the campaign. One thing to remember is we don't actually have a national election. We have fifty-one elections with each state and the District of Columbia determining electoral votes in the Electoral College which actually elects the President. There are five hundred thirty eight electors and a candidate needs two hundred and seventy to become President. So come September we will begin to see which states are in play and how many electoral votes each candidate can count on.
It is my belief as the election progresses more and more people will see the real Hillary Clinton. Not the caricature twenty-five years of Republican attacks and a billion dollars have drawn. Voters will understand why New Yorkers elected her as their Senator for two terms. They will understand the courage of the woman who stood up in Beijing in 1996 for women's rights and in Geneva as Secretary of State for LGBT rights. They will learn of the woman who knocked on doors in the Deep South to help the Children's Defense Fund fight school segregation. They will learn of the woman who joined with Republicans to achieve healthcare for children; healthcare for the National Guard; and made it easier for couples to adopt a child. They will get to know better the Hillary who has committed her life to public service to make our lives better.
They will get to know the Hillary Clinton who Bernie Sanders knows and about who he says "I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. We were a bit younger then. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play. And as she helped lead the fight to universal health care. I served with her in the U.S. Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of our children. And I know her and all of you know her as one of the most intelligent people that we have ever met."
Every voter should take the time to go beyond the Republican politically motivated attacks on Hillary Clinton. Read about her and learn the truth about Hillary. You will get to know the incredible person Senator Sanders knows and so many of us who have had the honor of meeting and/or working with her know. If you do that you too will cast your ballot in this most crucial election of our time for Hillary Rodham Clinton to be our 45th and first woman President.