Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders dispelled all rumors and speculation he is preparing to drop out of the presidential race during a live stream Thursday night. Instead of caving into pressure from the media and those in the Democratic Party, Sanders doubled down on a promise to take his campaign to the party’s national convention in Philadelphia and continue to transform the party from within.
In the 26-minute capstone address, Sanders told supporters from his home state of Vermont that he will work with Hillary Clinton to ensure the defeat of Republican nominee Donald Trump and to continue the ”political revolution.”
“The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly,” Sanders said. “We cannot have a president who insults Mexicans and Latinos, Muslims, women, and African-Americans.”
“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.”
Neither Sanders nor Clinton has enough of the 2,383 pledged delegate mark to win the primary election outright. However, if superdelegate’s votes were counted before they actually cast during the DNC convention, Hillary’s total delegate count would push her over the “magic number” line and claim the nomination.
Prior to Thursday web address, the two rivals privately met Tuesday night in a Washington D.C. hotel where they reportedly discussed policy goals. According to The Washington Times, both candidates discussed income inequality, debt-free college, and other issues. They also “agreed to continue working on their shared agenda, including through the platform development process for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.”
In the video, Sanders thanked his supporters for more than $200 million in donations – most in the range of $27 – and the 1.5 million people who attended his rallies and town meetings. He also thanked his volunteers for more than 75 million phone calls ”urging their fellow citizens into action.”
— Women For Bernie (@Women4Bernie) June 13, 2016
He also said the Democratic Party must commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, expanding Social Security, combat pay equity, and breaking up “too big to fail” banks.
“Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end. They continue every day, every week and every month in the fight to create a nation of social and economic justice. That’s what the political revolution is about and that’s why the political revolution must continue into the future.”
Not everyone is happy with Sanders remaining in the race, however. According to Time, Sanders reluctance to concede the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton will be seen as a risky move and is likely to anger party leaders who already see him as an obstructionist to the first woman major-party nominee.
But by staying in the race, Bernie Sanders is not only ensuring the Democratic Party will remain progressive and adopt a liberal platform, he is also positioning himself to assume the nomination if Clinton, who is under FBI investigation for using a private server as Secretary of State, is forced to withdraw due to an indictment recommendation.
Huffington Post columnist H.A. Goodman said the possibility of this scenario coming to pass looks more and more plausible with the slow bleed of Clinton’s emails into the public’s eye, which could force the hand of FBI Director James Comey to start theindictment process soon.
Indictment or not, Bernie Sanders will continue to hold leverage over Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as they draw closer to the Philadelphia convention. As much as this infuriates Hillary and her donors, she must find a way to work with the 74-year-old socialist who is quickly becoming the voice of much of the Democratic Party.
[Photo by John Locher/AP Images]