ALBANY — Bernie Sanders told supporters Friday he’s “working with” Hillary Clinton’s campaign about including “very serious” progressive proposals into the Democrats’ campaign platform that will “transform America” — and perhaps persuade his supporters to stick with the party this fall.
The Vermont senator, speaking to about 400 people at the Empire State Plaza, gave a broad outline of what he might ask for in a party platform when the Democrats convene in Philadelphia next month. The one specific: Sanders predicted the Democratic National Committee will include a call for a $15 per hour minimum wage as part of its agenda.
“Right now, to be very frank with you, we are talking to the Clinton campaign to try to determine whether or not they can come up with some very serious proposals which will help us transform America,” Sanders said in a one-hour speech that was titled: “Where do we go from here,” a reference to the senator’s feisty but unsuccessful run for the party’s presidential nomination.
“What we are trying to do also is come up with the most progressive platform that the Democrats have ever had,’’ Sanders said, adding he wants a party platform that is more than “just words,” but also a presidential and congressional agenda for Democrats.
It was a much smaller gathering than the last time Sanders visited Albany — days before the New York primary in April, thousands packed a basketball gym while hundreds were turned away. While Sanders hit on some of the same themes as when the race was still competitive — Wall Street corruption, the “rigged economy” benefiting the very wealthy — this address was more like a thank you and a charge to keep the “political revolution” going.
“Struggle and victory is not easy. We’ve got to keep going,” Sanders said. “What this campaign has accomplished is just opening up the doors to a process that we must, must, must continue. And that’s why I’m here today.” He urged supporters to find “good people” to run for school board, city council and mayoral offices.
“When I look around and see the t-shirts, I tell you it’s not Bernie. It’s you,” Sanders told the crowd.
Earlier Friday, Sanders said on MSNBC he would vote for Clinton and he would “do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump,” the presumptive Republican nominee.
But it was clear not all of his supporters were on board.
When Sanders said he was “working with” Clinton’s team, an audience member shouted back: “Not us!”
When he took questions from the audience, one young man asked him to consider forming a coalition with Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
“When I began this campaign I made a promise that I would stick within the Democratic fold,” Sanders replied.
As the theater emptied, some Sanders supporters said while they opposed Trump, they wanted to see how Sanders’ ideas would be embraced by Clinton and national Democrats.
“Hillary carries a lot of baggage but certainly she’s a better choice than Donald Trump,” said Bob Bullock of nearby Watervliet. “Hopefully, the Clinton campaign can adopt some of Bernie’s strategies. If she does, she probably wins. I’m waiting to see. The Democratic convention is going to be a big, big thing — how well he’s received is important.”