Vowing “the struggle continues,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told a roaring crowd in Santa Monica, Calif., that he’s not dropping out of the Democratic primary and is taking the fight to the Democratic National Convention at the end of July.
Sanders won Montana and North Dakota on Tuesday night, while Hillary Clinton won New Mexico, New Jersey and South Dakota. Clinton was ahead in California. (UPDATE: As of 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday, with 94 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton had 56 percent to Sanders’ 43 percent.)
The senator reminded followers that he has won 22 primaries and caucuses with more than 10 million votes. “Virtually every single state we have won by big numbers the votes of young people,” the 74-year-old noted. “Young people understand that they are the future of America and they intend to help shape that future. I am enormously optimistic about the future of our country.”
“We will not allow right-wing Republicans to control our government and that is especially true with Donald Trump as the Republican candidate,” Sanders continued. “The American people in my view will never support a candidate whose major theme is bigotry, who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims and women and African-Americans. We will not allow Donald Trump to become president of the United States, but we understand that our mission is more than just defeating Trump — it is transforming our country.”
In an announcement greeted with huge cheers, Sanders said next Tuesday he would “continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C.”
“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,” he declared.
Sanders added that he’s “pretty good at arithmetic” and knows he faces a “steep fight… for every vote and every delegate we can get.”
He said he received a “kind call” from President Obama, who is expected to endorse Clinton soon. “I look forward to working with him to make sure we move this country forward,” Sanders said.
He added that he shared a “gracious call” with Clinton in which he “congratulated her on her victories tonight.” Sanders supporters booed.
“Our fight is to transform this country and to understand that we are in this together, to understand that all of what we believe is what the majority of the American believe and to understand that the struggle continues,” the senator said. “If this campaign has proven anything, it has proven that millions of Americans who love this country are willing to stand up and fight to make this country a much better place.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that Obama called both candidates Tuesday night to congratulate them “for running inspiring campaigns that have energized Democrats.”
But he left no ambiguity that the president now considers his 2008 challenger to be the nominee.
“The president congratulated Secretary Clinton for securing the delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination for president,” Earnest said. “Her historic campaign inspired millions and is an extension of her lifelong fight for middle-class families and children.”
At Sanders’ request, he and Obama will meet on Thursday.
“The president looks forward to continuing the conversation with Senator Sanders about how to build on the extraordinary work he has done to engage millions of Democratic voters, and to build on that enthusiasm in the weeks and months ahead,” Earnest said.
Clinton acknowledged herself as the nominee in her Brooklyn victory speech, noting it was “the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee for president of the United States.”
“Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls, in 1848. When a small but determined group of women, and men, came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights, and they set it forth in something called the Declaration of Sentiments, and it was the first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred,” Clinton said. “So we all owe so much to those who came before, and tonight belongs to all of you.”
Clinton noted that her late mother was born on the day that Congress was passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
“That amendment finally gave women the right to vote. And I really wish my mother could be here tonight. I wish she could see what a wonderful mother Chelsea has become, and could meet our beautiful granddaughter Charlotte. And of course, I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president of the United States,” she said.
“So yes, yes, there are still ceilings to break – for women and men, for all of us. But don’t let anyone tell you that great things can’t happen in America.”