Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered a virtual concession in a written statement following his speech on Tuesday evening after losing all but Rhode Island — the lone state with an open primary — to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victories tonight, and I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come,” Sanders wrote in a statement issued from his campaign’s temporary headquarters in Huntington, West Virginia where he is campaigning.
West Virginia will be holding its primaries on May 10, and Sanders on Tuesday night predicted a win there.
His choice of words drew back to the “political revolution” he is waging against the Establishment, indicating that he is not running a political campaign, but that his goal is something far greater for the eyes, minds and hearts of those who have embraced his principles.
“This campaign is not just about electing a president. It is about transforming our nation,” he said. “You are the revolutionaries because you understand that unlike football or basketball. Politics is not a spectator sport.”
Clinton won in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware; collectively, including Rhode Island, Tuesday’s vote was dubbed the “Acela Primary” because the five states that held primaries on that day coincide with the route of Amtrak’s speediest carrier.
Despite having a greater number of delegates over Sanders, Clinton is far less popular of a candidate. Several polls also project Sanders beating Republican frontrunner Donald Trump by a greater margin than Clinton; a point Sanders pointed out again during his Tuesday evening speech from the podium.
“What is also extremely important, is [for the] Democratic Party to look at which candidate is the candidate to defeat Donald Trump or any other Republican.” He said “What we are seeing in national polls, [is that they] have us 15-20 points ahead of Donald Trump. Far more than Secretary Clinton.” Sanders also emphasized this point during an interview in California last month. The race is likely to come down to California for both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Drawing back to the premise of his revolution, Sanders reiterated his belief in “one person, one vote” and that the more popular candidate should be the one to succeed to the presidential mantle.
The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz