Sanders says he 'will vote for Clinton' as he seeks job with rival
Published 25/06/2016 | 02:30
Bernie Sanders, the firebrand socialist senator who ignited the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, effectively admitted defeat by saying he will vote for his rival Hillary Clinton.
Mr Sanders also disclosed that he was negotiating for a possible position in a future Clinton administration.
He stopped short of officially endorsing his opponent and did not suspend his campaign, but did speak about it in the past tense.
The 74-year-old senator said: "It (my vote) will in all likelihood go to Hillary Clinton.
"We are working as we speak with the Clinton campaign to see what kind of agreements we can work out."
Asked if that included discussion of a future job, he said: "That's what we're doing too, so don't tell anybody."
Mrs Clinton declared herself the presumptive Democratic nominee more than two weeks ago but Mr Sanders has refused to drop out of the race.
Mr Sanders said he now recognised his opponent was in a winning position, having secured more delegates during the months-long state by state primary race.
He said: "I'm pretty good at arithmetic. I don't have the votes to become the Democratic nominee, I know that."
His unexpectedly enduring campaign was characterised by rallies that attracted thousands of mostly young supporters.
They were enthused by policies including free college tuition and raising the minimum wage, and speeches in which Mr Sanders railed against the "billionaire class".
The campaign will continue into the party's convention next month, where Mr Sanders will push Mrs Clinton to adopt some of his left-wing policies.
He said: "My job as a candidate right now is to fight for the strongest, most progressive possible platform at the Democratic convention.
"There is enormous support for making college tuition free. I would like to hear Mrs Clinton say yes. I would like to hear her say that we should guarantee healthcare as a right, that we should raise the minimum wage to $15, that we need new trade policies."
The campaign between Mrs Clinton and Mr Sanders became increasingly bitter, with some of his supporters declaring they would never vote for the former first lady.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has made a series of advances to Sanders' supporters urging them to vote for him, claiming they share his anger at the political establishment.
Asked if he himself could ever vote for the billionaire businessman. Mr Sanders said: "Oh God, please. I will do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. In so many ways he'd be a disaster for this country. We do not need a president who has bigotry as the cornerstone of his campaign.
"I think everything being equal Mrs Clinton should be able to beat him because he is a very poor candidate."
Mr Sanders said he regarded his campaign as a success.
He said: "At the end of the day we did a lot better and went a lot further than people thought."
Mrs Clinton, the former US senator, first lady and secretary of state, needs Mr Sanders's supporters to boost her chances against Trump in the November 8 election.
Only 40pc of them say they would vote for her, with the rest undecided or divided between Mr Trump, a third-party candidate and staying home, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.
Mr Trump yesterday welcomed Britain's vote to leave the European Union, drawing parallels to the anger driving his own presidential campaign.
"I love to see people take their country back," he told reporters at a news conference at one of his golf courses in Scotland. "And that's really what's happening in the United States. (© Daily Telegraph, London)