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article imageOp-Ed: Sanders and Clinton try to get on same page for November

By Nathan Salant     Jun 13, 2016 in Politics
Washington - News that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic Party nominee for the White House in November, and primary challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders would meet Tuesday to discuss the future raises the question of what took so long.
The former secretary of state and the three-term senator from Vermont seemed like ideological kin from the beginning, even though Clinton — a former first lady — comes off as more establishment than the self-avowed socialist Sanders.
But both offered welcome relief from the crazy Republican primary season that featured what seemed like a dozen extreme right-wing politicians trying to out-conservative each other.
And, surprise, the victorious Republican candidate — Donald Trump — turned out to be a non-politician who has taken conservative and not-so-conservative positions over his years as a not-so-private businessman.
The way things look, all the Democrats have to do to hold the White House for a third consecutive term is not destroy each other.
That is why it was so difficult to believe that Sanders was not happy to endorse Clinton when her lead in delegates grew insurmountable, or why Clinton seemed so rattled by the prospect of an insurgent challenger on her left.
Both candidates should have welcomed the opportunity to debate each other before a national audience and to take their obviously heartfelt positions to the voters.
If Sanders was too radical for the American people, or Clinton too mainstream at a time when the people apparently seek change, Democratic voters would certainly have let them know.
But, instead, both campaigns resorted to manipulating party rules to get their candidate selected.
That seems to have ended, at least on the surface, leading to Tuesday night's scheduled "chat" following the District of Columbia primary, according to the Associated Press.
“I look forward to sitting down with Secretary Clinton and see what kind of platform she is going to support and how aggressive she is going to be,” Sanders said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” public affairs television program.
“Dependent on how Secretary Clinton comes down on many of these major issues will determine how closely we can work with her,” Sanders said.
But Sanders did say that he wanted Clinton to commit to champion a return to progressive federal taxation and to support taxpayer-funded healthcare for all and student loan relief -- central themes of his upstart presidential campaign.
"What I need to see is a commitment that there will be progressive taxation," Sanders said.
Sanders also said defeating Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, was his first priority.
That, obviously, would be Clinton's top priority, too.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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