After being told for weeks that the Democratic presidential race was effectively finished, the Democratic primary voters of Indiana decided that they would like to see the contest continue.
Bernie Sanders defeated Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on Tuesday by a comfortable 52.5-to-47.5 margin in Indiana, securing for the senator from Vermont his 18th state victory in a Democratic contest that many analysts said was over after Clinton won critical primaries in New York and Pennsylvania. The former secretary of state remains the leader in the race for the nomination, with a clear advantage among pledged delegates and an overwhelming advantage when superdelegates are added to the total. But the Indiana win allowed Sanders to declare: “I understand that Secretary Clinton thinks that this campaign is over. I’ve got some bad news for her…” And it allowed Sanders supporters to talk about taking their campaign to more primary states—Kentucky, West Virginia, Oregon, Montana, New Jersey, California—and on to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Sanders backers still want to win. But even if they do not prevail, they want to use their delegate strength to work with progressive Clinton backers and non-aligned delegates to forge a platform that the senator says should be “the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.”
“In the days and weeks ahead, the Political Revolution is going to continue winning states, winning delegates, surprising skeptics, and ensuring that our call for populist progressive change is heard loud and clear in Philadelphia,” said Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of the pro-Sanders activist group Democracy for America.
The Indiana win was an especially sweet one for Sanders, as it resulted from intense campaigning on an theme that has long been central to his economic message: the need for the United States to abandon corporate-friendly “free trade” policies and to embrace a worker-friendly “fair trade” agenda.