Bernie Sanders told a press conference in Los Angeles that no matter what happens in the primaries on Tuesday, he will continue to fight for delegates all the way through the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
Clinton currently has 2,313 total delegates — 1,769 of which are pledged and 544 are superdelegates — and she is expected to cross the 2,383-delgate threshold in the next few days to clinch the nomination. But Sanders, who has 1,501 pledged delegates and only 46 superdelegates, says he can still woo enough of her superdelegates between now and the Democratic convention in July to swing the nomination his way.
Superdelegates are essentially free-agent party and union stalwarts.
“The media is in error when they lump superdelegates with pledged delegates. Pledged delegates are real,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won’t happen. She will be dependent on superdelegates.”
He vowed, “The Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention.”
The Vermont senator criticized the media for what he said was lumping together pledged delegates and superdelegates, noting that superdelegates don’t formally cast their votes until late July, or, as Sanders put it, “six long weeks from today.”
Sanders, however, acknowledged that it’s unlikely he’ll be able to turn around his fortunes.
“We understand that we have a steep climb,” Sanders said. “I’m not here to tell you that tomorrow we’re going to flip 300 superdelegates. You don’t hear me say that. But I am saying we are going to make the case.”
Sanders’ prospects for victory are worse than hopeless. Hillary Clinton made sure the superdelegates that were selected were rock-solid Clinton loyalists, extremely unlikely to abandon her as long as she remains in the race.
And that’s Sanders’ only chance: a Clinton indictment.
But Sanders is doing himself no favors by continuing his quest, delaying efforts to unify the party. The Democratic establishment is already angry with him for ruining Hillary’s stately march to the nomination and they will be absolutely livid if he roils the convention.
As for Clinton, she fully expected to have pivoted to the general election by this time, working the themes and issues that she believes will bring her victory. Instead, she’s stuck schlepping around California begging for votes. You can imagine what she thinks of Sanders’ statement about continuing to contest the nomination.
Meanwhile, Sanders supporters are planning to protest at the convention, urging their candidate not to go softly into that good night. The convention may not be the Götterdämmerung they seek, but they’re still likely to cause a lot of headaches for the Democratic establishment.