5 things to expect from Bernie Sanders’ speech at the Democratic convention


It’s been perhaps the second-most surprising presidential campaign this year.

When Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 74-year-old Jewish democratic socialist from Vermont, began his campaign last year, no one expected him to take a strong insurgency all the way through the primary season. Now he’ll take his message of economic reform to a packed arena at the Democratic National Convention, where he’ll be a headline speaker on Monday’s opening night.

Sanders will be walking into a divided convention hall. Clinton supporters are urging the party to coalesce around the presumptive nominee. But Sanders’ delegates are angry. They’re upset that Clinton tacked to the political center in selecting Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. And they’re fuming about leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that showed favoritism toward Clinton.

Here are five things to expect from Sanders’ speech — and his supporters.

1. He’ll call for party unity.

Bernie Sanders, to put it lightly, has issues with the Democratic Party. He has criticized the primary system. He accused the Democratic National Committee of favoring Clinton. He called for a “political revolution” to change the party and bring in new voices. And he has issues with Clinton, from her links to Wall Street to her hawkish foreign policy.

But when it comes down to it, he’ll support Hillary Clinton and call on his followers to do the same. Sanders has made clear throughout the campaign that a Democratic president — even Clinton — is far preferable to Donald Trump. He has stayed on that message even after news came of the leaked DNC emails. Expect him to play down his criticism and encourage supporters to close ranks.

2. He’ll call for economic equality — and a more dovish foreign policy.

The core of Sanders’ message has always been about fighting for a fair economy that isn’t dominated by the very rich. Expect him to press that message again — from breaking up large banks to raising taxes on the wealthy to raising the minimum wage and making college tuition free. This is one of Sanders’ best chances to attack the “rigged economy” he says needs to change.

But Sanders’ dissent from the political mainstream extends to foreign policy. One of his main critiques of Clinton is about her perceived willingness to use military force abroad — from her vote for the Iraq War in 2002 to her support for airstrikes in Libya in 2011 as secretary of state. Sanders is less of an interventionist and has called for increasing diplomacy — even normalizing relations with Iran.

Sanders’ foreign policy agenda extends to Israel, where he’s taken a more pro-Palestinian tack than his one-time opponent. While Clinton is viewed as a traditional Democratic supporter of Israel, Sanders has been much more critical. He has admonished Israel for its actions in the 2014 Gaza War, called for Israel to dismantle settlements and spoken about Palestinian suffering. While he many not mention Israel in his speech, expect him to demand a change in how the U.S. engages with the world.

3. His supporters will protest.

Just because Sanders asks his supporters to back Clinton doesn’t mean they will listen. Sanders delegates have emphasized, especially following the email leaks, that they plan to protest on the convention floor — during vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine’s speech as well as Clinton’s.

There will likely be more cheers than indignation from Sanders delegates during his speech, but some anger will probably bubble over. Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Sanders delegates made clear that their candidate can’t order them around. “He’s not running the show,” said Norman Solomon, chairman of the Bernie Delegates Network, an unofficial organization. Expect the party’s cracks to bare themselves tonight.

4. He’ll bash Donald Trump.

Sanders is supporting Clinton to deny Donald Trump the White House. He said that in his speech endorsing Clinton, and he’ll say that tonight. While he will offer praise for his former Senate colleague from New York, the bulk of his words will take aim at Trump’s rhetoric against minorities and immigrants, as well as against the Republican nominee’s economic policies. While Sanders shares some of Trump’s skepticism over trade deals, he is also a champion of government programs that benefit the lower and middle classes and sufficient taxes to pay for them.

The first night of the Republican National Convention last week saw an unending stream of vitriol against Clinton, including multiple speakers — bolstered by a chanting crowd — saying she should go to prison. And while Sanders probably won’t say Trump should be behind bars, expect him to go negative.

5. He’ll call himself an outsider — but may not mention his Judaism.

Sanders has often spoken of himself as an outsider, but hasn’t always painted that outsider status in Jewish terms. He has said he is “very proud to be Jewish” and has invoked the Holocaust in advocating social justice. But he has also described himself as the “son of a Polish immigrant” and attributed his difference more to economic qualities than his religious heritage.

Sanders will own his outsider status in his speech, demanding that the Democratic Party give voice to the issues he and his supporters have raised. And it’s possible that because one of the leaked emails questioned his Jewish identity, he will reaffirm his pride in his heritage. But Sanders has never explicitly placed his Judaism at the center of his message. Don’t expect him to now.

Lacking GMO labels, kosher foods go missing in Vermont


A wide variety of kosher foods have disappeared from grocery shelves in Vermont after the state’s strict GMO labeling law went into effect July 1.

At least one supermarket, in the capital city of Burlington, explained that it could no longer offer certain kosher products because their manufacturers did not update their packaging to comply with the new law, the Burlington Free Press reported.

The law requires labels on products containing genetically engineered ingredients. With fewer than 20,000 Jews in Vermont, explained Rabbi Zalman Wilhelm, the Chabad rabbi at the University of Vermont, companies don’t have an incentive to repackage items sold in the state.

“Let me take this from the perspective of the companies,” Wilhelm told the Free Press. “Think of a company that sends food everywhere. Vermont is not even 1 percent of their business, a fraction of a percent. With this new law in place, it’s not worth it for them to bother with the paperwork.”

An official at Osem USA, the New Jersey-based division of the Israeli kosher giant, acknowledged that the Vermont market is too small to drive labeling decisions.

“The business we’re generating from this market is not that much,” Kobi Afek said. “I’m sure if it was in New York or New Jersey everyone would adjust.”

Still, some larger kosher manufacturers – including Osem, Manischewitz and Kedem – already offer a variety of products in compliance with the labeling law, either because they don’t contain GMOs or are already labeled to be sold in European markets where GMOs are banned. Still, the Price Chopper supermarket chain in Burlington said as many as 9,000 kosher products will no longer be carried.

Last week, Congress passed a bill that will establish national standards for labeling food containing genetically modified ingredients, which would probably give manufacturers the incentive they need to label their national brands. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Hillary Clinton meets with black leaders in New York City


Hillary Clinton met with black civil-rights leaders in New York City on Tuesday as she seeks to maintain a crucial edge in popularity among black voters over her Democratic rival for the presidency, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“I thought that the secretary demonstrated an ease and familiarity with many of the issues we discussed this morning,” Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, said after a two-hour meeting with former Secretary of State Clinton and a half-dozen civil rights groups at the league's headquarters.

He and other group leaders are due to hold a similar meeting with Sanders in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Clinton's campaign staff have long argued that surging support for Sanders will probably falter as voting for a party nominee moves to more racially diverse states in the coming weeks. Clinton's campaign says she has a longer record of working to solve problems that affect black people. 

Sanders has said Clinton's polling lead among black voters is partly a result of her being much more famous than he is. He believes many non-white voters will be drawn to his message of fighting economic inequality as they get to know him.

Clinton's status as front-runner to be the Democratic nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election was jolted this month when she beat Sanders by less than one percentage point in Iowa's caucuses, and lost to him by more than 20 points in New Hampshire's primary. More than 90 percent of people in those states are white.

The Reverend Al Sharpton, one of the country's best-known civil-rights activists, also joined the New York meeting, and joked warmly with Clinton in the corridors afterward, suggesting to gathered reporters that he had told her who he would endorse.

“My lips are sealed!” Clinton, who did not take any questions from the press, replied with a smile.

At a press conference later, Sharpton said Clinton was “candid and open” but also said he had yet to decide who to support and that no candidate should take the support of black voters for granted. “We are not a monolithic people,” he said.

Both Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have traditionally had solid support from African-American communities, a key component of the Democratic electorate. Opinion polls show Clinton with a strong lead over Sanders in South Carolina, where blacks are likely to make up more than half of the voters in the state's Democratic primary on Feb. 27.

Later on Tuesday, Clinton was heading to the historically black New York City neighborhood of Harlem to give a speech on breaking down the barriers that African-American families face, her campaign said.

Echoing issues that both she and Sanders raise while campaigning, Clinton was due to discuss her plans to reform the criminal justice system, which sends black men to prison in disproportionately high numbers.

Sanders also met with Sharpton earlier this month, and received an endorsement from Benjamin Jealous, a former chairman of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) who said he could not support Clinton in part because of her support of the death penalty.

Clinton was endorsed by a political group associated with black members of the U.S. Congress last week. The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee said Clinton had a long history of working on issues that affect black Americans.

Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders to announce 2016 presidential run


Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont will likely run for president.

Sources familiar with the longtime Jewish senator told The New York Times that he will release a statement on Thursday and make a more formal announcement next month in Burlington, Vermont, where he was mayor in the 1980s.

Sanders, 73, is an Independent but will run for president as a Democrat, according to the Times. He currently is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and previously was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Sanders, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland, calls himself a “Democratic Socialist.” He will be a long shot to capture the party’s nomination, as Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator, showed a lead of 48 percentage points in the latest polls of potential Democratic candidates.

 

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Super Tuesday election results by state


Georgia –

Gingrich

Gingrich wins Republican primary in Georgia, TV networks project

Newt Gingrich won the Republican presidential primary in his home state of Georgia, TV networks projected on Tuesday, giving the former congressman his second victory of the primary season.

Gingrich, who spent much of the last week campaigning on his home turf, last won a victory in January in South Carolina. Georgia has the biggest number of delegates of the states holding nominating contests on Super Tuesday and Gingrich had said he had to win the state to keep his campaign viable.

Reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki Allen


Idaho – Romney

Romney projected winner in Idaho

Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential caucuses in Idaho on Tuesday, Fox News projected.

With 12 percent reporting, former Massachusetts governor Romney had 78 percent support, to 11 percent for Texas Congressman Ron Paul, his closest competitor.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu


Massachusetts – Romney

Romney projected winner in Massachusetts, CNN

Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primary on Tuesday in Massachusetts, the state where he was governor, CNN and Fox projected, easily defeating Rick Santorum, his closest rival.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu


North Dakota – Santorum

Santorum projected winner of North Dakota caucuses

Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, won the Republican presidential caucuses in North Dakota on Tuesday, CNN projected.

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas was in second place and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was in third with 78 percent of the votes counted, CNN said.

Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was in fourth place.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Vicki Allen


Ohio – Mitt Romney

TV Networks: Romney beats Santorum to win Ohio Republican primary

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney scored a narrow victory over Rick Santorum to win the Republican presidential primary in Ohio, television networks projected.

Romney, who had trailed Santorum in the state for most of the night, was 12,000 votes ahead with 96 percent of the vote counted. He was declared winner in five races so far on Super Tuesday. Reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki Allen


Oklahoma – Santorum

Rick Santorum wins Oklahoma Republican Presidential primary, Fox News projects

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum won the Republican presidential primary in Oklahoma on Tuesday, Fox News projected shortly after polls closed.

It was the first victory of the night for Santorum, a staunch conservative who has been trying to establish himself as the conservative alternative to the more moderate front-runner Mitt Romney. Ten states are voting in nominating contests on Super Tuesday.

Reporting by Deborah Charles and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Vicki Allen


Tennessee – Santorum

TV Projections: Santorum wins in Tennessee primary

Rick Santorum won the Republican presidential primary in Tennessee on Tuesday, U.S. television’s NBC and CNN networks projected, defeating rival Mitt Romney.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Vicki Allen


Vermont – Romney

Romney wins Republican primary in Vermont

Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primary in Vermont, beating out Rick Santorum and Ron Paul – his closest rivals in the state, Fox news projected on Tuesday

Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, was declared the winner about 30 minutes after the polls closed. It was the second win of th night for Romney, who is hoping for a good showing in many of the 10 states voting in primary elections and caucuses on Super Tuesday.

Reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki Allen


Virginia – Romney

Romney projected winner in Virginia, TV networks

Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primary in Virginia on Tuesday, MSNBC and Fox projected, easily defeating Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the only other contender on the ballot.

Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu

Romney and Santorum in stalemate on Super Tuesday


Mitt Romney failed to land a knockout blow against rival Rick Santorum on “Super Tuesday,” raising the prospect of a drawn-out battle for the Republican presidential nomination between the party’s establishment and its grassroots conservatives.

Santorum and Romney were neck-and-neck in Ohio, the biggest prize of the 10 state contests held on Tuesday.

Romney won liberal-leaning Massachusetts and Vermont and cruised to victory in Virginia, where Santorum was not on the ballot.

Santorum scored convincing wins in conservative Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia, while results from Idaho and Alaska were expected in the coming hours. More than 400 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the party’s nomination are at stake.

All eyes were on Ohio, a traditional bellwether state that could play an important role in deciding the Republican nominee to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama on Nov. 6.

With 85 percent of the vote counted, Santorum and Romney were tied with 37 percent of the vote each. A Romney aide predicted victory and said votes from their strongholds had not been counted yet.

Exit polls showed that Ohio voters viewed Romney as more likely to defeat Obama, but thought Santorum was more sympathetic to average Americans’ concerns. Santorum won more support among middle-income voters who make up the bulk of the electorate.

“I think Santorum is believable, wholesome. When he talks, his ideas are genuine. I don’t put any stock in Romney,” said Lonnie Vestal, 36, a pastor from Mason, Ohio.

STRUGGLE TO CONNECT

Romney, who built a fortune of at least $200 million as a private-equity executive, has struggled to connect with conservatives and blue-collar voters. A convincing win in Ohio would have put many of those doubts to rest, but a loss could point to an extended, state-by-state battle.

Romney looked likely to extend his lead among delegates even if he does not win Ohio, as Santorum’s thinly staffed campaign failed to qualify for delegates in several swaths of Ohio. Under new rules designed to lengthen the nominating battle, most states at this stage of the process award delegates on a proportional basis.

“We’re counting up the delegates for the convention and it looks good,” Romney told supporters in his home state of Massachusetts.

Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, has won support of religious conservatives thanks to his opposition to gay marriage and his views on other hot-button social issues. His controversial comments about birth control and the role of religion have alienated moderate-leaning voters, and Romney has pelted him with negative ads.

“We’re going to get at least a couple of gold medals and a whole passel full of silver medals,” he told supporters. “We’ve won in the West, the Midwest in the South and we’re going to win across this country.”

Gingrich’s strategy of focusing on southern states did not pay off in Tennessee and Oklahoma, but he vowed to stay in the race after his Georgia win.

“There are lots of bunny rabbits to run through, I am the tortoise. I just take one step at a time,” Gingrich said.

Ron Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas known for his libertarian views, hopes to score his first win in Alaska.

In recent presidential campaigns, the Super Tuesday wave of primaries and caucuses has often settled the Republican race. But this year’s race is likely to stretch until April or May – or possibly until the last contest on June 26 – under new rules designed to attract more voters and boost enthusiasm.

But recent polls indicate the lengthy primary season may actually be alienating voters. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday showed that more voters view the candidates negatively than positively. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Monday found that 40 percent of voters view the Republican Party less favorably than they did before voting started in January.

Additional reporting by Sam Youngman in Massachusetts, Lily Kuo and Emily Stephenson in Washington and Colleen Jenkins in Atlanta; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Vicki Allen