June 7, 2016
For Bernie Sanders Supporters, It's About Allegiance To An Ideal, Not A Political Party

Hillary Clinton has been named the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, and yet Bernie Sanders -- and his supporters -- continue to slug their way through, continuing to campaign in delegate-rich California for the primary being held Tuesday.

But despite Sanders' tenacity, and the passion of his supporters, math has declared Clinton to be the standard-bearer for the party in the general election against Donald Trump. In fact, at the rally held less than two hours after the Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive nominee, no one headlining the rally mentioned it -- not Dave Matthews, not Danny Glover, not Cornel West, and certainly not Bernie Sanders himself.

But even as the candidate and his surrogates refused to acknowledge it, supporters of Sanders are beginning to admit that yes, they know that Sanders is going to lose the nomination for the party.

So, why do so many Sanders' voters continue to feel the Bern?

For the so-called "Bernie Bros," the entire "Bernie or Bust" movement is a moral argument, and the idea of uniting behind the party seems, to many of them, ridiculous -- it was never the Democratic party to which they felt allegiance. Instead, their allegiance was to Bernie Sanders and his ideas and ideals.

In fact, many Bernie Sanders' supporters, such as Aaron Selverston, are disillusioned by the Democratic party and the election process.

"It's not about allegiance to a party," he said in an interview with NPR. "The party has failed half of the people who have voted Democratic, and those are the people who are supporting Bernie."

Certainly if passion could rocket a candidate into the general election, Bernie Sanders would have clinched the nomination long ago.

Tuesday's primaries are the last chance for either candidate to net a significant delegate haul. South Dakota has 20 delegates, North Dakota has 18, New Mexico, 34, New Jersey, 126, Montana has 21, and California -- the biggest prize of all -- has 475.

But even being within the margin of error in the California primaries simply doesn't help the bottom-line for Sanders, as Politico noted.

"Even under a highly optimistic scenario in which Sanders claims two-thirds of the 781 pledged delegates still available in the remaining nine contests — and picks up every one of the 133 undeclared superdelegates -- he'd still need to persuade at least 185 Clinton superdelegates to jump ship."
It's not the math that the Bernie supporters are necessarily arguing, but the process, which they feel is unfair, leading to many of them declaring the process rigged -- a view that Sanders himself seems to support in the statement released by communications director Michael Briggs after the AP named Clinton the presumptive nominee.Sanders communications director Michael Briggs issued a short statement reacting to the AP's naming Clinton the presumptive nominee.
"It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee's clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.

"Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination... She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race."

Clinton's own campaign seemed taken aback by the declaration of Clinton as the presumptive nominee on Monday, releasing the following statement.
"This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday, with millions of people heading to the polls, and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote. We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates."
Clinton now has 1,812 pledged delegates and 572 superdelegates, while Sanders has 1,520 pledged and 46 superdelegates. She also leads Sanders in the popular vote by 2.9 million. Clinton is expected to reach the necessary threshold of 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on Tuesday.

But despite the math, Selverston, like many Bernie supporters, says he hopes that Sanders supporters and delegates take their fight to the Democratic convention in July.

And Bernie Sanders seems willing to do so.

To see what impact Bernie Sanders has had on the Democratic party, click here.

[Photo by John Sommers II/Stringer/Getty Images]