“That is how progress gets made: We have to be dreamers and doers,” Clinton said tonight after winning primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Clinton was hardly being subtle here: Bernie Sanders is a dreamer and she is a doer.
There was a hint of passive aggression in that line, but for the most part, Clinton’s victory speech was about two things: starting the work of winning over Bernie Sanders’s supporters and running against Donald Trump.
She’s been doing the latter for several weeks now, but the Sanders angle was mostly new for Clinton. In particular, she treated Sanders as if he had already dropped out of the race, thanking him for the work he’s done to draw attention to economic issues and campaign finance reform and to bring new people into the political process. In other areas, however, Clinton’s take on Sanders was not dissimilar from her approach very early in this election, when she spent debates emphasizing her similarities with Sanders, rather than her differences. Tonight, she extended a hand to her opponent’s supporters by telling them that they had similar beliefs about social issues and the need to repeal Citizens United. (It’s perhaps worth noting that Sanders also did not attack Clinton tonight.)
Whether Sanders’s supporters take the bait is another question—Sanders knows he can’t win the nomination, but he’s not going to stop running, which means his supporters probably aren’t going anywhere. Clinton started the work of trying to win them over tonight, but it’s a process that will likely continue until the convention, if not longer.