As he continues to campaign for Democratic primary votes from Indiana to Oregon, Bernie Sanders has begun to detail a vision for where the movement that has developed to support his candidacy might move the Democratic Party.
After winning only the Rhode Island primary on a Tuesday that saw front-runner Hillary Clinton win Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut—and, with those wins, a substantial boost in her delegate-race advantage—the Vermont senator released a primary-night statement that anticipated a way forward even if he does not win the party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Sanders made it clear that his campaign—which has won 18 contests and 1,355 delegates and has the potential to win more primaries and delegates—would go on. “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,” said the senator. Then he offered a framework for how that campaign might influence the direction not just of the party but of politics in the years to come. “[This] campaign,” said Sanders, “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.”
Sanders has expanded on these themes on the campaign trail in recent days, in appearances in the key primary states of Indiana (which votes on May 3) and Oregon (which votes on May 17). On Wednesday, Sanders drew a cheering crowd of 2,200 people to a town-hall meeting on the campus of Purdue University, where he added new material to the stump speech he has delivered from the start of a presidential run that has challenged Clinton and the Democratic Party to move left on a host of issues.