Presidential races

Sanders refuses to concede in speech to supporters

Greg Nash

Bernie Sanders refused to formally concede the race for the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton on Thursday night in a lengthy address to his supporters.

Sanders signaled an interest in reshaping the Democratic Party’s platform in the coming weeks and doubled down on his pledge to help defeat presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

{mosads}But his overall comments suggested he intends to stay in the race as a way of keeping leverage on Clinton, despite having no real chance at unseating her as the Democratic nominee barring an indictment of the former secretary of State. The FBI is investigating whether she sent classified material over a private email server.

{mosads}“Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end,” Sanders said in a live video message to supporters Thursday.

“That’s what this campaign has been about over the past year. That’s what the political revolution is about and that’s why the political revolution must continue into the future.” 

“The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly. And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time,” he said.

“But defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become. And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.” 

“I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda,” he said. “I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people.”

Sanders ticked off his wish list for the platform, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensuring equal pay and gay rights, enacting gun control reform, protecting Social Security, defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and reforming the banking system and the role of money in politics.

Sanders and Clinton met following her victory in Tuesday’s Washington D.C. primary, after which he released a statement emphasizing “common ground” but still witheld any signs of a coming endorsement.

Clinton’s camp did not immediately release a statement on Sanders’ announcement — a statement on her endorsement from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Gran Millers International Union hit reporters’ inboxes minutes after his speech concluded.

Her campaign has said she’s open to working with Sanders — she’s signaled a willingness to discuss superdelegate reform, a key issue of Sanders’s campaign, and aides touted their shared goals after the two met Tuesday night.

In contrast to Sanders, Clinton announced to her supporters two days after the last primary in 2008 that she was conceding the race to then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). 

The race between Clinton and Obama was actually closer than the race between Sanders and Clinton, who has a huge lead over the Vermont senator and won five of the last seven contests, including in California. 

In his Thursday remarks, Sanders also landed a blow on Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose resignation Sanders has demanded after repeated clashes between the candidate and his new party, for failing to adopt a “50-state strategy.” 

“We can no longer ignore the fact that, sadly, the current Democratic Party leadership has turned its back on dozens of states in this country and has allowed right-wing politicians to win elections in some states with virtually no opposition — including some of the poorest states in America,” he said. 
“We may not win in every state tomorrow but we will never win unless we recruit good candidates and develop organizations that can compete effectively in the future. We must provide resources to those states which have so long been ignored.”

Clinton left the door open to edging out Wasserman Schultz in a Wednesday interview with USA Today.

This story ws updated at 10:03 a.m. 

Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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