Speed Reads

Clinton v Sanders

Jeff Merkley becomes first U.S. senator to endorse Bernie Sanders

On Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) became the first sitting senator to endorse Bernie Sanders for president. Forty of Merkley's Democratic colleagues have already backed Hillary Clinton, but "after considering the biggest challenges facing our nation and the future I want for my children and our country," Merkley wrote in a New York Times op-ed, "I stand with Bernie Sanders for president." He was careful not to dismiss Clinton, saying she "has a remarkable record" and "would be a strong and capable president." But, he added, "Bernie Sanders is boldly and fiercely addressing the biggest challenges facing our country," including income inequality, global trade, and global climate change.

Sanders "has an uphill battle ahead of him to win the Democratic nomination," Merkley conceded. "But his leadership on these issues and his willingness to fearlessly stand up to the powers that be have galvanized a grass-roots movement. People know that we don't just need better policies, we need a wholesale rethinking of how our economy and our politics work, and for whom they work." Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Angus King (I-Maine) are still uncommitted.