Bernie Sanders has announced plans to contest the upcoming Democratic National Convention saying that he has his sights firmly set on Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates.
If Sanders is able to convince some of Clinton’s superdelegates to support him, the Democratic nomination will be his.
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Pledged delegates emerge from primaries and caucuses, while superdelegates are party leaders — elected officials and former ones who have individually committed to a candidate. It would be unprecedented for the number of superdelegates Sanders needs to switch allegiances, and, like Clinton this year, then-Sen. Barack Obama entered the 2008 convention without a majority of pledged delegates.
Sanders is making this pledge to keep his fight alive in the closing days of the California primary campaign, sending a signal to his supporters that the race isn’t finished.
“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.”
Yet that decision isn’t entirely his alone. If enough superdelegates pledge their support to Clinton — and President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and other party leaders weigh in next week — Sanders will face new pressure to reconsider his fight.
The Vermont senator accused the media of lumping together pledged delegates and superdelegates, noting that superdelegates don’t formally cast their votes until the convention in 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.”
At a rally outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday night, Sanders fired up the crowd by repeating his pledge to go to the convention, citing his performance in polls with him and Trump.
“And what I hope that the delegates going to the Democratic National Convention understand is that in virtually every state poll we do much better against Trump than does Secretary Clinton,” he said.
Clinton won the caucuses in the Virgin Islands Saturday, and Puerto Rico holds its primary on Sunday, when Clinton will likely get her earliest opportunity to clinch the nomination. California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota hold their primaries on Tuesday. Washington, D.C., holds the final nominating contest of the primary season on June 14.