PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Bernie Sanders personally urged DFL delegates on the last day of the Democratic National Convention to “make sure that Donald Trump is defeated and Hillary Clinton is elected.”
The Vermont senator, runner-up to Clinton in the Democratic contest that culminates Thursday night with her acceptance speech at Wells Fargo Arena, spoke to delegates from Minnesota, Michigan, Tennessee and Oregon at a breakfast gathering. Sanders won three of those four state, including Minnesota and excepting Tennessee, and he got a rousing welcome before delivering a fiery speech.
“Donald Trump is the most dangerous presidential candidate in the modern era,” Sanders said. “Donald Trump is a demagogue. What a demagogue is about is running a presidential campaign based on bigotry – on pitting one group of people against another.”
For many Sanders supporters from Minnesota, smarting from a contest some that some felt was tipped toward Clinton by party officials, the speech was a balm. “Many of us are still feeling raw and we needed to hear that,” said Kaela Berg, a delegate from Burnsville.
Sanders hit on most of his campaign’s enduring themes: income inequality, the danger of big-money influence on politics, better access to health care and education. He noted issues where he thinks Clinton has moved toward his own, particularly in college affordability and eliminating student debt, and in broadening health care access.
Sanders was running late to the breakfast, and a long succession of speakers from Minnesota and Michigan preceded him. One was former Vice President Walter Mondale, who joked about his long history as a warmup act.
“I spent a lot of my lifetime filling in for Hubert Humphrey,” Mondale said. “They’d say, ‘just speak til Hubert gets here.’”
But Mondale also got serious about the stakes of the election, arguing that a Trump victory would halt “more than 200 years of continual social progress.”
“This next election is going to be a fundamental decision for Americans,” Mondale said.