© Getty Images
Clay Aiken is pushing for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Trump orders review of national monuments, claiming ‘egregious abuse’ Dem rep: Trump's tax plan as believable as 'magic, unicorns or Batman' Sanders: Trump tax plan makes 'rigged' system 'worse' MORE (I-Vt.) to stay in the Democratic presidential race, arguing his presence could help force Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWant a tremendous deal on infrastructure spending? Suspend Davis-Bacon Constitutional amendment could vastly improve campaign finance The Hill's Whip List: Who to watch on GOP's new ObamaCare bill MORE to gin up enthusiasm and emerge as a stronger general election candidate.
The former North Carolina congressional candidate said Monday that despite Clinton being "on track to claim" the nomination, "I'll cast my vote in the North Carolina primary for Bernie Sanders."
"I'm ready for Hillary," the television personality wrote in an article for The Huffington Post, arguing the former secretary of State would represent a strong general election candidate.
"I just wish she could embrace some more of the progressive ideals that Sen. Sanders talks so enthusiastically about. She needs to be better. She needs to learn from the Bern!" he added.
He also suggested that Clinton "tell us what you dream!" and "ditch the TelePrompTer!" Aiken is weighing in on the eve of voting in a handful of states, including North Carolina, on Tuesday.
"The reason I'm endorsing Bernie Sanders is not because I'm against Hillary Clinton," Aiken said on CNN. "The benefit to having a primary, in some ways, is to strengthen the candidate."
"I think it's important to continue having a primary on the Democratic side to strengthen either candidate who becomes the nominee," he added, noting that the Republican nominee would be "battle-tested."
Beyond his standing in the Democratic race, Aiken said Sanders "has won the message primary" and pushed Clinton on many issues important to liberals.