Bernie Sanders concluded his speech on the last of 2016’s many Super Tuesdays by declaring: “The struggle continues!”
Thousands of cheering supporters gathered in Santa Monica cheered as if the Democratic presidential contender had just swept another round of primaries.
But that was not the case. Sanders had plenty to celebrate: As of Tuesday night, he had won more than 12 million votes, 23 primaries and caucuses, and 1,844 delegates on a political quest that he noted had begun as what political and media elites “considered to be a fringe campaign.” The Sanders campaign changed the calculus of Democratic Party leaders who had imagined that the contest for their party’s nomination would be a mild affair culminating in the easy nomination of front-runner Hillary Clinton. Instead, Clinton and Sanders battled into the beginning of June. But, as the results from the last major round of primaries poured in, Clinton was scoring critical wins in California, New Jersey, and other states.
Joking that he was “pretty good in arithmetic,” Sanders acknowledged the results, which had positioned Clinton (with her lead among elected delegates and overwhelming support from superdelegates) to claim a historic victory at a rally in Brooklyn. The senator mentioned a gracious conversation with the former secretary of state and noted that he would be meeting with President Obama at the White House on Thursday.
Yet he was still talking about struggle. Anyone who knows anything about Bernie Sanders understands why. For Sanders, electoral politics has always been an extension of movement politics. That was clear Thursday, after Sanders met with the president for more than an hour (prior to Obama’s Thursday afternoon endorsement of Clinton). Speaking in front of the White House after the meeting, Sanders said he would soon be talking with Clinton about how “to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.” But the senator was not making an endorsement just yet; he spoke of finishing the primary campaign in the District of Columbia, which votes Tuesday. He also spoke about the need to assure that the Democratic Party recognizes and advances an agenda that have been the focus of “the struggle” for economic and social justice that Sanders has engaged in for decades: higher wages for workers, accountability for Wall Streets, guaranteed access to higher education and health care, investment in communities that have been left behind by bad trade deals and insufficient investment in infrastructure.