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Bernie Sanders clarifies what he meant by going “beyond identity politics.”

Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Sanders’s office released the following statement to The New Republic, expanding on a speech he made in Boston on Sunday that generated some controversy among liberals who argued that he was calling for Democrats to “ditch” identity politics:

It should be clear to every Democrat by now that when we’ve lost the presidency, the Senate, the House, and two-thirds of state legislatures, we need to seriously rethink who we are and how we best go forward.

The Democratic Party is the party of diversity. We have proudly led the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and for the rights of immigrants. Especially under a Trump administration, we are not turning back. We are going forward. There can be no compromise on bigotry.

Our job is to expand diversity. We want more women, more African-Americans, more Latinos, and individuals of all ages, colors and creed to be involved in the political process. But to think of diversity purely in racial and gender terms is not sufficient.

Yes, we need more candidates of diversity, but we also need candidates – no matter what race or gender – to be fighters for the working class and stand up to the corporate powers who have so much power over our economic lives. We need all of our candidates to have the courage to stand up to the Koch Brothers, Wall Street, drug companies, insurance companies, oil companies, and fight for working families -- not just the top one percent.

Our rights and economic lives are intertwined. Now, more than ever, we need a Democratic Party that is committed to fulfilling, not eviscerating, Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of racial, social, and economic justice for all.