SANTA MONICA — On a night when Hillary Clinton celebrated clinching the Democratic Party presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) refused to concede, vowing to fight on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
“Next Tuesday, we continue the fight in Washington, D.C.!” he declared defiantly, sending an audience of several hundred fervent supporters inside a municipal airport hangar into ecstatic cheers. “The struggle continues!”
Sanders acknowledged that Clinton had some victories on the night, but refused to concede the California primary, or the larger nomination fight, vowing to compete for every vote remaining. He reminded his supporters that he had won a total of 22 states thus far, and added that he would be meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday to discuss their common goals.
Before Sanders spoke, the mood in the room had a somewhat bitter edge, despite the upbeat music and enthusiastic chants. Clinton’s speech earlier in Brooklyn, New York had the air of a coronation, and early returns from the California polls were not looking good.
Reporters quietly discussed whether Sanders might, in fact, leave the race entirely, given that it is impossible for him to win his party’s nomination without persuading hundreds of superdelegates to abandon their presumptive nominee.
That speculation quickly faded in a sea of signs and raised fists, as the cheers bounced off the corrugated iron ceiling.
“We will not allow right-wing Republicans to control our country,” Sanders said, to loud cheers. “And that is especially true with Donald Trump as the candidate. The American people, in my view, will never support a candidate whose major theme is bigotry.”
Sanders cast his campaign as more than a mere political fight, but a transcendent movement. “We understand our mission is more than just beating Donald Trump. It is transforming our country.”
The crowd booed Hillary Clinton and the media, and cheered their “political revolution.”
For tonight — against all odds, and against reality perhaps — their battle goes on.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.