California Primary: Sanders Pledges to Continue Presidential Bid Even After Clinton Clinches Nomination

Politics

Bernie Sanders addresses supporters on June 7, 2016, the night of the California Primary. (Credit: KTLA)

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Bernie Sanders isn't leaving the stage yet.

Bernie Sanders addresses supporters on the night of the California Primary. (Credit: KTLA)
Bernie Sanders addresses supporters on the night of the California Primary. (Credit: KTLA)

Sanders channeled his supporters' defiance when he took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. PT and told them what they wanted to hear: he's not ready to concede the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, who secured the delegates she needs on Monday.

"Let me thank you all for being part of a political revolution," Sanders said as he took the stage. "All of you know that when we began this campaign over a year ago we were considered to be a fringe campaign. Over the last year I think that has changed a little bit."

"We understand our mission is more than just beating Donald Trump, it is transforming our country," he said.

"Next Tuesday, we continue the fight," he said, alluding to next week's Washington, D.C., primary. "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."

"The struggle continues," Sanders said.

Clinton had already claimed victory in New York when Sanders supporters began to fill a cavernous airplane hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the Vermont senator's election night rally.

Many were seething with anger at what they believed to be early calls by news organizations that Clinton won the nomination.

As a huge video screen towering above the crowd showed California's early returns---with disappointing numbers for Sanders---the crowd erupted into repeated chants of "Bulls---t! Bullsh---t."

When the channel flipped to CNN -- again showing the evening's strong results for Clinton -- the crowd thundered: "Turn it off!"

The decision by news organizations to call the race for Clinton on Monday only hardened the determination of the contingent of voters who call themselves "Bernie or Bust."

"Everybody in the mainstream media is in such a rush to have the story first that they call things prematurely," said Melissa Baldridge, a 39-year-old digital marketing recruiter who said she switched her registration from Republican to Democrat to vote for Sanders.

Baldridge pressed the case that networks had prematurely called the race for Clinton, since superdelegates do not officially vote until the convention. "By announcing that she had it, a lot of people decide to stay home. That's a form of voter repression."

Like many Sanders supporters, Baldridge said the hundreds of superdelegates who backed Clinton early in the process have a duty to reconsider.

"If they are saying that they are for the people; that they are going to reflect the sentiments and the feelings of the people -- how can announce their allegiance so early on? It just feels like there's really no true democracy in this process," she said. "I hope with what Bernie is doing, we're changing, we're influencing and we're making things a lot more progressive."

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