Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders closed out a long day of nasty fights with party leaders by warning that it risks losing his supporters if they continue to feel shunned.  

Speaking at a rally in Southern California after splitting primary contests with rival Hillary Clinton in Oregon and Kentucky, Sanders declined to weigh in on the nasty rift that has opened between him and Democratic leaders over an outbreak of protests at the Nevada convention over the weekend.

Instead, Sanders warned that they risk losing the presidential election to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump if they don’t make room for his supporters.

{mosads}“Let me also say a word to the leadership of the Democratic Party,” Sanders said. “And that is that the Democratic Party is going to have to make a very profound and important decision. It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change. That is the Democratic Party I want to see.” 

“I say to the leadership to the Democratic Party — open the doors, let the people in!” Sanders declared. “Or the other option for the Democratic Party, which is a sad and tragic option, is to choose to maintain its status quo structure.”

The remarks came at the end of a long day that found Sanders and his campaign in a nasty public fight with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and the Nevada State Democratic Party.

Party leaders are furious with Sanders and his supporters after chaos erupted at the Nevada state convention over the weekend.

Sanders supporters believe party leaders moved to block their efforts to win their candidate a few extra delegates.

They protested on the floor of the convention, and the chairwoman of the state party now says she’s getting threatening voicemails from Sanders supporters.

Sanders and his campaign say they did not provoke the protests and condemned the threats.

But they said the state party brought it upon itself by circumventing normal order to help Clinton grow her delegates lead. 

Wasserman Schultz in particular was furious with Sanders’s reaction to the controversy.

“Unfortunately, the senator’s response was anything but acceptable,” she said on CNN. “It certainly did not condemn his supporters for acting violently or engaging in intimidation tactics and added more fuel to the fire.”

But Sanders is showing no signs of backing down.

While the delegate math is tilted strongly against him, he vowed to take the nominating fight all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

“Before we will have the opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, we’re going to have to defeat Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said.

“Now some people say we’ve got a steep hill to climb and that’s absolutely true,” he continued. “But together we’ve been climbing that steep hill from day one in this campaign, and we’ll continue to fight for every last vote until June 14, and then we’ll take our fight into the convention.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Harry Reid Hillary Clinton

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video