Bernie Sanders did not get a lot of love in Florida, losing the state to Hilary Clinton in the Democratic Presidential Primary. But a large swath of Democrats still support him. Now he’s urging his Florida supporters to back Clinton and unite behind the goal of keeping Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump out of the White House.
Bernie Sanders gave an impromptu speech to Florida’s Democratic delegation Tuesday, interrupting Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor to deliver a message of unity. C-SPAN recorded the address.
“Republicans don’t win elections. Democrats lose elections. We lose elections when people give up on the political process and do not vote. We lost in 2014 when 63 percent of American people did not vote and 83 percent of young people didn’t vote. So our job in the next few months is to do some obvious things. Number one, we’ve got to elect Hilary Clinton as the next President of the United States," Sanders said.
He lost Florida’s Democratic Presidential Primary earlier this year. Hilary Clinton received 64.4 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press.
A lot has been made about the schism Donald Trump’s candidacy has caused in the Republican Party, a break highlighted by Senator Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse his former rival for the nomination. Similar fissures have occurred on the Democratic side—with some Sanders supporters refusing to back Clinton.
Pinellas County’s Ramsay McLauchlan is serving as Deputy Whip of the Florida delegation. He tells WUSF in Tampa that Sanders’ surprise speech to the state delegation is both a step toward unifying both sides, and highlights Florida’s importance in the Presidential race.
“Florida's critical to Hillary, but there are many options, other ways she could become president without winning Florida. Ohio and Pennsylvania are going to be critical for her, as well. But for Donald Trump, it's an absolute must-win. If we loses Florida, he cannot win the presidency," McLauchlan said.
Clinton has dropped “presumptive” from her list of adjectives and is now the Democrat’s Presidential nominee. The party is convening this week in Philadelphia to highlight its platform and to make a case to voters on why the party should lead in November.