Bernie Sanders has endorsed Joe Biden for president.
Sanders, the self-described “democratic socialist” U.S. senator from Vermont, suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last week. At the time, he praised Biden but stopped short of endorsing him. That changed Monday.
The two former rivals appeared on a split screen via livestream. “Today, I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe, and I’m speaking just for myself now, is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said to Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years and before that a U.S. senator from Delaware.
“We need you in the White House,” Sanders added. “And I will do all that I can to make that happen.”
Biden replied, “I’m going to need you. Not just to win the campaign, but to govern.” He further noted, “I think that your endorsement means a great deal. It means a great deal to me. I think people are going to be surprised that we are apart on some issues, but we’re awfully close on a whole bunch of others.”
Indeed, the two are both major supporters of LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, combating climate change, and other progressive causes. They have also emphasized the need to assure that more Americans have health insurance; Sanders has long called for a universal government-run plan, while Biden favors a role for the private sector by building on the Affordable Care Act, a signature achievement of the Obama administration.
Sanders’s endorsement is “a major step toward bringing unity to the party’s effort to unseat President Trump in November,” The New York Times notes. Many of Sanders’s supporters, especially young progressives, remain skeptical of Biden, but with the endorsement, the Vermont senator “is sending an unmistakable signal” that they should get behind Biden, according to the Times.
Biden last week received his first endorsement from major LGBTQ civil rights groups — Equality California and Silver State Equality. He also has the support of many Democratic officeholders, including several LGBTQ ones, such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan; Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia; Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; and U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Sharice Davids of Kansas. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who sought the presidential nomination himself, endorsed Biden soon after dropping out of the race.
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