Hillary Clinton made history on Monday when she reached the delegate count needed to become the first woman to head a major party ticket in U.S history., but Bernie Sanders and his team are not ready to concede just yet.
The Vermont senator held a press conference Monday morning, announcing that he would keep campaigning until next week’s primary in Washington D.C. After the Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sanders stuck to his promise, holding a rally Monday night in which he did not mention the news.
Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner took the stage to speak for Sanders and denounce the media’s calling of the race. “We will not relent,” Turner said to the enthusiastic crowd. “We will fight on. And when the mainstream already calls the election … to suppress the vote in California, we will fight on!”
As a response to news of Clinton securing the nomination, Sanders communications director Michael Briggs issued a statement accusing the media of rushing to judgment before superdelegates actually cast their votes at the convention this summer. “Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination,” the statement claimed.
Early Tuesday, exactly eight years after Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination to then-candidate Barack Obama, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver sent an email to supporters asking them to continue to stand for Sanders’ political revolution, “defy the pundits” and “shock the establishment.” Weaver mentioned what he called pundits attempts to “call this race early before every last person votes,” and warned that this threatened to suppress voter turnout in the states that are yet to cast their votes.
Weaver also affirmed that the race will carry on until the convention in Philadelphia next month. “We should let the voters decide who they want the Democratic nominee to be rather than having the media decide for them.” The email continued. Weaver told MSNBC that the Sanders campaign still hopes to swing the votes of pledged delegates in their favor, and that they will intensity their outreach to superdelegates once the voting is done
However, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, the only sitting senator supporting Sanders, offered a different tone last Thursday, saying that the Democratic Party should already be united by the convention, and that he believed that once a candidate had the majority of pledged delegates, the party will have made its decision and should come together.
“Should Secretary Clinton win these key categories, I think the conversation will begin about how to bring the sides together so we can go into the convention united, go out of the convention even more united, and make sure that this charlatan, this self-promoting charlatan, Donald Trump, does not become president.” Merkley told CNN.
While Clinton has already reached the necessary number of delegates by counting superdelegates that support her, she will be able to make a much stronger case to Democratic voters after a successful primary night. With President Obama rumored to be ready to endorse Clinton later this week, Sanders’ concession is the last step for the Democratic Party’s unity.
Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally in Cloverdale, California, U.S. June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam