Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, said his primary campaign made the latter a better candidate against Republican Donald Trump.Discussing his new book Our Revolution – A Future to Believe In at the George Washington University, Mr. Sanders rejected the suggestion that the prolonged primary contest in which he accused Ms. Clinton of corruption weakened her in the contest against Mr. Trump. “I say to those critics, number one, that you can argue the exact reverse, that maybe I would have been elected President of the United States,” he said.
The book is a manifesto for future political action that Mr. Sanders says is the only way to revive the Democratic Party.
“The presumption behind that question is, I guess, we should anoint candidates for president,” Mr. Sanders said when he was asked whether Ms. Clinton could have won had he conceded the nomination to her earlier. The book describes the “Clinton machinery” as the “most powerful political operation in the country.”
“When we began our race, we were considered by the political establishment to be a fringe candidate. By the end, we have set the agenda for the future of America,” Mr. Sanders said.
“Do I think our campaign, in a sense, made Hillary Clinton a better candidate? Yeah I do… because by the end [of] the campaign she was against the Keystone Pipeline, by the end [of] the campaign she was against the TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership] trade deal, by the end [of] the campaign she was for making public colleges and universities tuition-free,” Mr. Sanders said.
While calling on President-elect Mr. Trump to rescind the appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist — “The President of the United States should not have a racist at his side” – Mr. Sanders said the more pressing issue is transforming the Democratic Party. “Ordinary people should get to know that the Democratic Party stands for them. If we can’t do that, I don’t see much of a future,” Mr. Sanders who was named leader of the party’s outreach efforts, said on Wednesday.
“I was named today part of the leadership, I think my title is to head outreach efforts and that is something that I take very seriously,” he said, adding that mobilising people in resistance is the way to counter Mr. Trump’s agenda.
Mr. Sanders said: “Many Democrats will be prepared to work with Mr. Trump if he turns out to be sincere” in the promises he made to the “working people” of America. “If those promises turn out to be hollow … we will not only oppose his economic policies, we will expose those hypocrisies as well,” Mr. Sanders said. He listed the promises to invest a trillion dollars in infrastructure, to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and six weeks of paid maternity leave among other things that he plans to hold Mr. Trump accountable to. “We will not be involved in the expansion of bigotry, racism, sexism,” he said.