Students react to Sanders' endorsement of Clinton

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 12:48pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) endorsed his rival Tuesday in the Democratic presidential nomination, weeks after Hillary Clinton was declared the presumptive nominee and only two weeks prior to the Democratic National Convention.

Rising LSA junior Nick Kolenda, president of Students for Sanders at the University of Michigan, said the endorsement was inevitable, additionally allowing Sanders to affect the Democratic party platform. 

“This was bound to happen sooner or later, as it's a requirement for the candidate with less pledged delegates to endorse the winning candidate if they want their delegates to count at the convention,” he said. “This allows the party to come together but also gives Bernie a chance to influence the party platform as much as possible at the convention.”

He added that Clinton must continue to embrace Sanders’ ideas to fully win over his supporters.

“I personally don't know the percentages, but the more Clinton adopts Bernie's platform, the better chance she has,” he said.

Sanders has been widely popular among students, as he has touted plans for free tuition at public institutions. Last week, Clinton announced an expansion to her higher education plan — the New College Compact — to incorporate more of Sanders’ ideas, including free tuition at public universities for families who earn up to $125,000.

This move is part of a larger effort by the Clinton campaign to encompass more of Sanders’ ideas and to unify the party. She has already campaigned with other prominent Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.).

At a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sanders endorsed Clinton and recognized the similar ideals held by both candidates.

“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process,” he said. “And I congratulate her for that.  She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

College Democrats Chair Collin Kelly, a rising LSA junior, officially endorsed Clinton on behalf of his organization and said Sanders’ endorsement emphasizes how Clinton is the best candidate for the party.

“College Democrats at the University of Michigan is proud to endorse Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States,” he said. “Secretary Clinton's nomination is a historic achievement. She is one of the most qualified, progressive and accomplished candidates ever, and that is exactly what Sen. Sanders emphasized in his endorsement of her. Today Sen. Sanders made it clear that Sec. Clinton is by far the best choice to build a future we can all believe in, and we should all be proud to stand with her.”

Kelly said the competition during the primary season created a lot of excitement across the country, especially among young Democrats, and that he hopes that will continue through the general election.

“Both Sec. Clinton and Sen. Sanders have passionately advocated for progressive solutions to the challenges facing our country,” he said.  “The enthusiasm and energy generated during the primary demonstrated that their messages resonate with people across the country, especially young people and students. With the endorsement of Sec. Clinton, Sen. Sanders and the whole party have come together so the momentum both candidates created will carry on to elect Sec. Clinton in November.”