During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders had a lot to say about Hillary Clinton.
The Vermont senator repeatedly lit into his primary rival, telling crowds she wasn't qualified to be president because she took millions in campaign donations from Wall Street, because she voted "for the disastrous war in Iraq," and because she "voted for trade agreements that cost millions of Americans decent paying jobs."
Again and again, Sanders reminded voters of Clinton's "big money campaign contributions" and the fact that she earned tidy sums -- a quarter of a million dollars a pop -- delivering glowing speeches to Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, firms she helped bail out as a New York senator. Along the way, he pestered Clinton to release the transcripts of those speeches, putting her in an awkward and indefensible position.
Sanders cast himself as a populist champion looking out for regular Americans, while framing Clinton as part of the elite who play by different rules and enjoy the considerable benefits of money and power.
“What the American people have got to determine is which candidate, whose life work is about standing up to the billionaire class, standing up to Wall Street, standing up to corporate interests,” Sanders said, reports The Atlantic. “That’s what this campaign is essentially about.”
Now, Sanders says he's on the cusp of endorsing the former secretary of state. He confirmed it on July 6, telling MSNBC he was in regular talks with the Clinton campaign, and that his tacit support won't be far off if Clinton continues to adopt his major policy positions, like providing free college education to the public.
If it seems strange that a man who spent a year ripping into Clinton is now singing her praises and getting ready to endorse her, well, that's politics.
Sanders isn't different than any other politician in that regard, but he did the right thing by holding on to his leverage and withholding his endorsement. That allowed him to leave his mark on the Democratic party and to pull the party's platform to the left, something he's always wanted to do.
Although Sanders says he's getting close to finally endorsing the presumptive Democratic nominee, he'll likely squeeze a few more concessions out of the Clinton campaign before relenting. While Sanders hasn't provided much detail publicly, a July 6 story in Politico said his policy people were working with their counterparts in the Clinton camp to push for more Wall Street oversight.
“We’re working on some other ideas, and I think at the end of the day, there is going to be a coming together, and we’re going to go forward together and not only defeat Trump, but defeat him badly,” Sanders said.
Insiders from both parties told Politico that voters could see Clinton and Sanders appearing together in joint rallies within the second week of July, presenting a united front against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
If and when that happens, Clinton and Sanders would like you to forget what they've said about each other over the past year. Forget the accusations of collusion with the DNC, the allegations that Clinton's camp cheated in places like Brooklyn and Nevada, the constant hammering on her close relationship with Wall Street.
As long as Sanders gets what he wants, of course. That's politics.