Dems Who Backed Hillary Clinton in Primary Now Say Bernie Sanders ‘Changed
*By **Will Bredderman <>* • 09/16/16

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tonight. Photo: Will Bredderman

City Comptroller Scott Stringer
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
<>. Sen.
Charles Schumer
Mayor Bill de Blasio

A who’s who of New York’s leading liberal elected officials paraded across
the stage at tonight’s Working Families Party gala, where Vermont Sen.
Bernie Sanders served as the marquee speaker. And each one ladled praise on
the self-described democratic socialist’s bid for the Democratic
presidential nomination, which the labor-backed third party supported in New
York’s April 19 primary
not one of the Empire State pols did.

“My homeboy, and dear friend, and fellow Madison High School graduate
who you will hear from soon, Bernie Sanders,” was how Schumer alluded to
his fellow native Brooklynite-gone-to-Washington, whose agenda he vowed to
advance if the Democrats wrest control of the Senate in November. “Bernie’s
an amazing guy. And he has changed America permanently.”

“He has changed America, he has changed the Democratic Party and we’re all
going to be better, we’re all going to be better, because Bernie is there
and he will be, god willing I become majority leader
he will be one of the main people running our Senate,” continued Schumer,
who is set to succeed Nevada Sen. Harry Reid as head of the Democratic

The senior senator from New York was echoing comments DiNapoli made just a
short while before. The state comptroller, a supporter of Clinton’s
presidential ambitions since 2008, highlighted the historical resonance of
the gala’s venue: Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

“Here we are, in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, where in 1860, Abraham
Lincoln, running for president, changed American politics,” he said,
recalling the Republican’s famed campaign speech at the arts institute. “In
a few moments, we’re going to be hearing from Senator Bernie Sanders, who
in 2016, again, changed American politics.”

DiNapoli spun the parallel into a fundraising pitch for the WFP, suggesting
Lincoln would want them to donate to the left-leaning organization, which
usually lends its ballot line and political consulting services to liberal
Democrats like himself. Stringer, by contrast, used Sanders’ name to
promote his own work locally.

“I just want to say, to the Working Families Party, to the Bernie Sanders
movement—” Stringer began, the mention of the senator’s name provoking
applause. “And to fellow progressives, we also have some good news to share
about the future of this city.”

Before the program began, the screens above the stage flashed photos of
Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who dismissed the independent
underdog as a “gun-loving socialist.”
several of those who addressed the audience praised Council Speaker Melissa
Mark-Viverito, who attacked the leftist lawmaker “an ally of the
anti-immigrant right wing.”

Only de Blasio, in his usual hapless fashion, seemed to try to actually
reconcile his belated endorsement of Clinton and his occasional jabs at
Sanders during the primary, and his apparent enthusiasm for the Vermont
pol’s views now that he has dropped out of presidential contention
Given the final 20-minute speaking slot before the senator was to assume
the stage, he insisted Sanders had led the country to the brink of a “new
progressive era”—but that both Democratic candidates had promoted the cause
of the left.

“In the Democratic Party at least, the debate was about who was ready to
tax the wealthy more. Who was ready to reign in Wall Street more. Who was
ready—no wait, listen, this is not a comment on one candidate or another,
two candidates, they were vying. They were vying. Listen, listen,” de
Blasio said, trying to calm the crowd as it began to chant Sanders’ name.
“It doesn’t matter who you supported. For all of us, it’s our time. For all
of us, a revolution has begun.”

“I think it is because he is such a grounded person, because he spent his
entire life struggling for social change when it was easy and when it was
hard, because he had such clear integrity that he was able to transform
this country. Nothing less than that. He was able to transform this
country. This nation will never be the same again in the best sense of the
word,” the mayor continued.

Sanders, for his part, praised de Blasio and his universal pre-Kindergarten
initiative. Otherwise, much of his speech rehashed his usual talking
points: the undue influence of the “billionaire class,” the crisis of
climate change, the need to defeat Donald Trump and—of course—the nefarious
machinations of the “establishment.”

“Our major crisis is not poverty, it’s not inequality, it’s not climate
change, it’s not racism, or sexism. Our major crisis is the establishment
and all of the systems of the establishment have told us to think small, to
limit our imagination as to what we can accomplish. That’s the major crisis
that we have got to overcome,” he said.

*Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the
publisher of Observer Media.*

Filed under: Bernie Sanders <>, Bill
De Blasio <>, Charles Schumer
<>, Cooper Union
<>, Hillary Clinton
<>, Letitia James
<>, Scott Stringer
<>, Thomas DiNapoli
<>, WFP
<>, Working Families Party

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