Sanders Insists: I’m in It to Win It
Bernie Sanders told supporters on Wednesday that he will continue to campaign and that he is focused on winning the nomination.
“Let me make it clear so there is no confusion,” Sanders said. “We are in this campaign to win and become the Democratic nominee.”
The Hill reports:
Clinton won four out of the five states that cast ballots on Tuesday, and established what looks like an insurmountable lead in delegates over Sanders.
The Sanders campaign responded with a statement late Tuesday that many viewed as an admission that he could not win and would only carry on in hopes of influencing the party’s platform at the convention.
“We are in this race until the last vote is cast,” the campaign said late Tuesday night. “That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform.”
But on Wednesday, Sanders insisted that he still has a path to the nomination and that he’s playing to win.
“I am very good in arithmetic and I can count delegates, and we are behind today,” Sanders said. “But unusual things happen in politics and we are going to win the pledged delegates, and with your help, superdelegates may well reach the conclusion that Bernie Sanders will be the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”
Many Democrats are hopeful that Sanders will rein in his rhetoric against Clinton so as not to damage the party’s presumptive nominee ahead of the general election.
But Sanders ripped Clinton for supporting trade agreements he said have devastated the middle class, for voting to bail out Wall Street, and for not joining him in supporting a $15 minimum wage.
Sanders also made an electability argument against Clinton, pointing to polls that show him doing better than her against GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
“Poll after poll have not only shown us defeating Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates, but defeating him by a much greater margin than Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said.
“If you want the candidate who will be the strongest nominee, you’re looking at that candidate right now,” he said.
It’s an argument Sanders said he would take to the superdelegates, many of whom have already pledged their support to Clinton.
Sanders said he would seek to sway superdelegates by arguing that the general election is open to the independent and unaffiliated voters that have boosted him in states that have held open primaries.
In Tuesday’s round of contests, Sanders’s only victory came in Rhode Island, which held an open primary. The rest of the states all held closed primaries, and Clinton won all of those.
“From a very narrow political perspective, the reason I am the strongest candidate is that our campaign is appealing not just to Democrats but to independents all over this country and even some Republicans,” Sanders said.
“What I hope delegates to the convention understand is that the national election is an open process. Guess what? Independents vote in that process. And it turns out that we are overwhelmingly winning the independent vote.”
The Sanders campaign did not respond to questions about its strategy going forward.
In her Tuesday victory speech, Clinton pivoted beyond Sanders to the general election. She vowed to unify the party and extended an olive branch to Sanders supporters in hopes that they will back her in the general election this fall.
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