Bernie SandersBernie SandersSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Buttigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden MORE vowed early Wednesday morning to fight on in the Democratic primary even after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' The problem with Trump's Middle East peace plan Trump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury MORE declared herself the party's nominee.

“Next Tuesday we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C.,” Sanders told an electrified crowd of supporters at a rally in Santa Monica, Calif.


“We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington, D.C., and then we take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” Sanders said.

That’s disappointing news for Clinton and many Democrats. 

The former secretary of State held a victory rally in Brooklyn earlier in the evening, in which she touted the historic nature of becoming the first woman to be the presumptive nominee for a major party and reached out to Sanders’s supporters in the hopes of unifying a divided party.

Clinton has secured a majority of the pledged delegates awarded in primaries and caucuses and has long held a strong majority of superdelegates — the party leaders who are not bound by any vote and can support whomever they choose at the Democratic National Convention.

She is expected to win the endorsement of the Democrats’ top superdelegate — President Obama — possibly as early as this week.

But despite falling about 3 million votes short of Clinton in the popular vote, Sanders has said he will work to flip superdelegates into his column and contest the nomination all the way through the convention in Philadelphia in July.

“I am pretty good at arithmetic, and I know the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight,” Sanders said at the Santa Monica rally. “But we’ll continue to fight for every delegate.”

Although he had criticized Clinton in speeches leading up to Tuesday's primaries, on Wednesday, Sanders's only reference to the presumptive nominee was that he had a “very gracious” call with Clinton earlier in the night in which he congratulated her on her victories. 

So far on Tuesday, Clinton has won contests in South Dakota, New Mexico and New Jersey, while Sanders had won the North Dakota caucuses and Montana. California is still outstanding.

While Sanders was defiant early Wednesday, the rally in Santa Monica had a different feel to it than his other events.

The Vermont senator arrived almost an hour late — perhaps hoping that the vote count in California would break in his favor. The count is ongoing, but Sanders appeared headed for defeat in the nation’s largest liberal state.

Sanders gave only a truncated version of his stump speech, clocking in at fewer than 18 minutes.

The crowd was as frenzied as ever and hung on his every word. Sanders basked in the adulation, with much of the rally made up of Sanders standing and shaking his head because he was unable to speak over his cheering supporters.

He was reflective.

“It has been one of the most moving moments of my life to be out throughout this state in beautiful evenings and seeing thousands of people coming out, people who are prepared to stand up and fight for real change in this country,” Sanders said.

The Vermont senator has a busy few days in which he’ll consider a way forward.

Sanders, who spoke with Obama on Tuesday night, will meet with the president at the White House on Thursday. He also has a meeting planned with Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidReid pushes back on Sanders suggestion that a Democrat with plurality of delegates should be the nominee Harry Reid on 'Medicare for All': 'Not a chance in hell it would pass' The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms MORE (D-Nev.), a Clinton backer.

Also on Thursday, Sanders will rally supporters in Washington, D.C., in preparation for next Tuesday’s final Democratic primary there.

And Sanders has said that he will at some point return to Vermont to "assess" the direction of his campaign.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Sanders will be laying off a significant number of staffers. And Politico released an embarrassing report detailing the inner strife of what looks like the final days of a losing campaign.

Still, Sanders appeared optimistic early Wednesday that the movement behind him would at least have a lasting impact on the Democratic Party.

Sanders ticked through the laundry list of issues that have been the cornerstone of his campaign: Income inequality, overhauling the campaign finance system, breaking up the big banks, raising taxes on the wealthy and universal healthcare.

The crowd roared at the mention of each as if it was hearing the lines for the first time.

“I am enormously optimistic about the future of our country when so many young people believe this vision of social justice, economic justice, racial justice and environmental justice must be the future of America,” Sanders said. “Our vision will be the future of America.”

“We understand that our mission is more than just defeating Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE,” he added. “It’s transforming our country.

Updated 2:55 a.m.