Activism, Convention, Democracy, Media, Polling, Primaries, Superdelegates, Uncategorized

It’s so not over: Sanders’ own words, facts fuel our final push

Clinton cannot and will not reach the threshold delegate total before the convention, which will be contested. So why is the media pretending and presuming more than ever?

As usual, in spite of Sanders’ Indiana win and continued strong polling in California, WV and Oregon (not to mention against Trump), the mainstream media has mostly once again stopped giving Sanders the time of day.

If they do mention him, it’s in funereal intonations spelling his doom. The tough math. The fundraising. Blah, blah, blah. But mostly, they’re back to ignoring. Headline after headline, photo after photo—in repugnant attempts to control and shape the narrative, as they have from the start—they blithely put forth their arrogant assumption: that it’s now settled and we know what the general election will look like.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. And that’s probably why they’re working so hard to shut down any news of reality.

Let’s all say it together:

She is NOT the nominee. She cannot and will not reach the threshold delegate total before the convention. Nothing happens for sure till the primaries are over and we’re at the convention.

Say it loudly. Everywhere. Because we just might get through a few skulls that are currently being mainlined by the mainstream detritus.

It’s maddening, it’s infuriating, it’s sometimes even agonizing to see the bias continue to bear down and try to shut us out—but we can’t let it get to us. We need to imbibe good fuel—the facts, the smart answers to the dopey pundit pablum—and tune out the factless gloom and glee. We need to be more rigorous than ever about refusing to take in the nutrient-poor media junk food. Consume wisely.

In doing that, you need to look no further for clarity, pragmatism, strength, possibility (and, dare I say it, Presidentiality?) than Sanders’ own words at his May 1 press conference. It’s a treasure trove of data and bracing, refreshing straight talk.

You may have watched it. It’s worth reading, too—to be able to share, quote, focus on, absorb, savor, and relish. So much so that I personally paid to have it professionally transcribed, and want everyone to benefit from it.

I have taken the liberty of bold-facing some passages that I think are particularly salient at this moment.

(And remember this was BEFORE he won Indiana!)

Read it. Spread it. Quote it.  Be moved and inspired by it. Be uplifted. Be reminded of the facts. Internalize the answers to the questions.

Be awed all over again at how far we’ve come—and fierce about what is still within reach.

Then get on the phones and/or make a donation.  Because this ain’t over yet, and we still have work to do. It’s going to be a very interesting, historical, and truly potentially world-changing convention.


Bernie Sanders:     Okay, thanks very much for being here on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We announced the beginning of our campaign a year ago, and before I talk about the delegate math and our path toward victory, I just want to say a few words about how far we have come in the last year. I just want to thank the millions and millions of people who have supported us in every way.

When we started this campaign, as most of you know, we were considered to be a fringe candidacy. We started with no campaign organization. We started with no money. We started with very little name recognition outside of my own state of Vermont. In national polls, we were trailing Secretary Clinton by at least 60 points and in some cases a little bit more.

In this campaign, we have taken on the entire Democratic establishment in state after state. We have taken on the senators, the members of the Congress, the governors, the mayors. We have taken them all on. In the Clinton organization, obviously, we are taking on the most powerful political organization in this country, an organization that has won two presidential elections with Bill Clinton and ran a very strong campaign with Hillary Clinton in 2008. That was what we were up against.

That was then; today is today. As of today, we have now won 17 primaries and caucuses in every part of the country. By the way, we hope to make Indiana our 18th victory on Tuesday. We have received some 9 million votes. In recent national polls, we’re not behind Secretary Clinton by 60 points anymore. In the last few weeks, actually, there have been a couple polls that have us in the lead. Other polls have us single digits behind.

In terms of fundraising, we have received more individual campaign contributions, 7.4 million, than any candidate in presidential history at this point in a campaign. We do not have a super PAC. We do not get our money from Wall Street, or the drug companies, or powerful corporations. Our money is coming from the middle class and working class of this country, averaging $27 a campaign contribution. I’m very proud of the fact that we have just raised in the last month – we had a phenomenally good month – we’ve raised over $25 million, despite the fact that 80% of the primary and caucuses are behind us.

What this political revolution has shown is that we can run a strong winning campaign without a super PAC and without being dependent on big money interests. As of today – and I don’t know if anyone else has done it, maybe they have, maybe they haven’t, I don’t know that – but we have brought out over 1.1 million people to our rallies from Maine to California, and that number will go up very significantly because we intend to have a number of major rallies in the state of California.

Very importantly, we have won in state after state a strong majority of the votes of younger people, voters under 45 years of age. In other words, the ideas that we are fighting for are the future of the Democratic Party and, in fact, the future of this country. Again, I’m not just talking about people 23 years of age and younger, where we’re doing phenomenally well and very proud of that. We’re talking about people 45 years of age or younger. The reason for that, I believe, is that the issues that we are talking about are the issues that are on the minds of the American people.

People know, whether you’re conservative or progressive, that a corrupt campaign finance system with super PACs is undermining American democracy. They understand there is something fundamentally wrong where the average American is working longer hours for lower wages, and almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1%. They understand that we have a broken criminal justice system with more people in jail that any other country on earth. They understand that we have got to deal with the planetary crisis of climate change and, among other things, impose a tax on carbon. They understand that at a time we have a major crisis, growing crisis, with regard to clean water, we need to end fracking. They understand that in a competitive global economy, we need to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. They understand that when you have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, yes, large profitable corporations and the top 1% are going to have to pay more in taxes.

Let me now just say a few words about delegate math and our path toward victory. As all of you know, there are a total of 4,766 Democratic delegates; 4,047 of them are pledged, i.e., they come out as a result of the contests in the various states; 719 are superdelegates. A Democratic candidate needs 2,383 votes in order to win the Democratic nomination. Let me be very clear. It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 – that is the last day that a primary will be held – with pledged delegates alone. In other words, once more, it is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 with pledged delegates alone. She will need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest.

Currently, Secretary Clinton has 1,645 pledged delegates, 55% of the total. We have 1,318 pledged delegates, 45% of the total. There are ten states remaining where we’re going to be vigorously competing, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. We believe that we are in a very strong position to win many of these remaining contests, and we have an excellent chance to win in California, the state with far and away the most delegates.

For us to win the majority of pledged delegates, we need to win 710 out of the remaining 1,083. That is 65% of the remaining pledged delegates. That is, admittedly, and I do not deny it for a second, a tough road to climb, but it is not an impossible road to climb. We intend to fight for every vote in front of us and for every delegate remaining.

In terms of superdelegates, I would like to just say the following. Obviously, we are taking on virtually the entire Democratic establishment. It is amazing to me. I just have to thank our volunteers that we go into state after state – you’ve got the senators, you’ve got the governor, and you’ve got the mayors, all of them know how to get out the vote. Yet in 17 primaries and caucuses, despite all of that political establishment support, we have won.

Of the 719 superdelegates, many of those delegates committed themselves to Secretary Clinton even before we got into this campaign. In other words, way back then she was the anointed candidate and they said, “We’re with Hillary Clinton.” While she has 520 superdelegates, we have all of 39 superdelegates. In other words, while we have won 45% of the pledged delegates in real campaigns where the people have spoken, we’ve won 45%, we have won only 7% of the superdelegates.

Two points regarding that – first, those superdelegates in states where either candidate, Secretary Clinton or myself, has won a landslide victory, those superdelegates ought to seriously reflect on whether they should cast their superdelegate vote in line with the wishes of the people of their states. Let me just give you an example of what I mean by that. In the state of Washington, we won that caucus with almost 73% of the vote there, 73% of the vote. In anybody’s definition, that is a massive landslide. At this point, Secretary Clinton has 10 superdelegates from the Washington; we have zero. I would ask the superdelegates from the state of Washington to respect the wishes of the people in their state and the votes they have cast.

In Minnesota, we won the caucus there with 61% of the vote. Hillary Clinton has 11 superdelegates; we have 3. In Colorado, we won that state with 59% of the vote, a pretty strong margin. Secretary Clinton has ten superdelegates; we have zero. In New Hampshire, we won that state with more than 60% of the vote. Secretary Clinton has six superdelegates; we have zero. That pattern continues in other states where we have won landslide victories. I would hope very much that the superdelegates from those states where we have won with big margins or, in fact, where Secretary Clinton has won with big margins, to respect the wishes of the people of those states and vote in line with how the people of that state voted.

Secondly and extremely importantly, Secretary Clinton and I obviously have many differences of opinion on some of the most important issues facing our country. We disagree on trade policy, on breaking up Wall Street banks. We disagree on the minimum wage. I want to raise it to $15 an hour; she wants to raise it to $12 an hour. We disagree on whether or not we should impose a tax on carbon to deal with the crisis of climate change. I believe we should. We disagree about the extent to which the wealthy and profitable multinational corporations should be asked to pay their fair share of taxes. We disagree on fracking. I believe we have got to end fracking in this country.

We disagree on a number of other issues, but where Secretary Clinton and I strongly agree and where every delegate to the Democratic convention strongly agrees is that it would be a disaster for this country if Donald Trump or some other right-wing Republican were to become president of the United States. Therefore, in my view, it is incumbent upon every superdelegate to take an objective look at which candidate stands the better chance of defeating Donald Trump and other Republican candidates. In that regard, I think the evidence is extremely clear that I would be the stronger candidate to defeat Trump or any other Republican. This is not just on the subjective opinion of Bernie Sanders. I’m not here just to tell you this is what I think or this is what I believe. I think this is really what the objective evidence tells us.

This is based on virtually every national and state poll done in the last several months. I know that polls go up and down, but when you have poll, after poll, after poll nationally saying that Sanders can defeat Trump by a, in some cases, much greater margin than Clinton can, I think it is worth paying attention to that. In a Morning Consult survey, we beat Trump by 16 points; she beats him by 7. These are very recent polls. In an IBD poll, we beat Trump by 12; she beats him by 7. In a USA Today poll, we beat Trump by 15; she beats him by 11. In a George Washington University poll, we beat him by 10; she beat him by 3. Fox News has us beating Trump by 14; she beats him by 7. It is not just national polls.

Everybody knows that in a general election in the United States, you win the electoral vote taking place in 50 states in this country. If you look at virtually every battleground state, in Arizona, in Michigan, in Missouri, in New Hampshire, in North Carolina, and in many other states which are up for grabs – may be won by the Democratic candidate, may be won by the Republican candidate – in every one of those states, we defeat Trump by larger margins than she does.

Further, equally important, what recent elections tell us is that when the voter turnout is high, when people come out in large numbers, Democrats and progressives win. People are excited. They come out. Young people come out. Working-class people come out. People who don’t always vote come out. Democrats win. On the other hand, Republicans win elections when the voter turnout is low. That is exactly what we saw in the last national election in 2014 when 63% of the American people didn’t vote.

There is little doubt in my mind that the energy and the excitement in this campaign is with the work we have done. I believe that energy and that excitement among working-class people, among middle-class people, among young people will translate to a very large voter turnout in November, which not only will mean victory for the White House; it will mean victory for Senate races, U.S. House races, and governors’ races throughout this country. This is an issue that I hope the superdelegates will pay keen attention to.

I understand that some of them prefer Secretary Clinton, fair enough. Some people prefer me, fair enough. At the end of the day, every person in Philadelphia who goes to that convention understands that we must have the strongest candidate to defeat Trump or another Republican. I think the objective evidence is that I am that candidate.

Thanks very much. Let me start. We’ll take a few questions. We’re off to Indiana in a few minutes, but let me start with Lisa Lerer from AP. Lisa, are you here?

Lisa Lerer:      I believe in 2008 President Obama convinced several dozen to switch their position. Never before, of course, have superdelegates flipped to go against the person who led in pledged delegates. How realistic is this pathway?

Bernie Sanders:     Lisa, it’s like I said, and let me say it again. We have an uphill climb, no question about it. It is not going to be easy. Nothing I’m telling you today suggests this is going to be an easy fight, but I think you’re going to have – again, we don’t know what’s going to happen in Indiana on Tuesday. [ed. Note: HE WON]
We don’t know what’s going to happen in the nine other states. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the four with elections.

Let me put this into your mind. What happens if we do really well in the remaining ten states? What happens if the polls continue to show that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate against Donald Trump? Do I believe that there will be some superdelegates – how many nobody can tell you – that there will be some superdelegates who say, “You know, I came on the Clinton campaign even before Sanders got in. I want to rethink this. What is most important is beating Donald Trump.” If, and that’s an if, I admit, but if that scenario plays out, yeah, I do think you’re going to have a lot of superdelegates who say, “You know what’s most important? It is most important that we defeat Donald Trump in November.”

Is John Wagner here? John, did you have a question?

John Wagner:        [00:19:01]… superdelegates that Hillary Clinton has claimed and another 23 that are uncommitted. Are those kind of numbers enough to even get it to where you need it to be?

Bernie Sanders:     No, they’re not, John. It’s just part of the process. In other words, those are delegates. When you’re dealing with superdelegates, I think there are two points. Lisa asked one question, and you’re asking the other. If I win a state with 70% of the votes, you know what? I think I’m entitled to those superdelegates. I think the superdelegates should reflect what the people in the state want. That’s true for Hilary Clinton as well. I can’t tell you one thing for me and another thing for Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton wins Mississippi by whatever she won it by, some huge number, yes, the superdelegates there should vote for her. That’s one issue.

The issue that I just talked to Lisa about is a different issue, and that is that while I think we can are entitled to pick up many dozens of superdelegates, I think the real struggle will be in the hearts and the minds of superdelegates who came onboard the Clinton campaign a long time ago. They are going to have to go into their hearts and they are going to have to ask themselves do they want the second-strongest candidate to run against Trump, or do they want the strongest candidate. I’m not making any prediction, nothing guaranteed here, but I think some of those superdelegates who announced for Clinton even before I got into the race will say, “You know what? Bernie has the better chance of defeating Trump, and that is what is most important.”

Jeff Zeleny here? Jeff, did you have a question?

Jeff Zeleny:           Donald Trump said this morning on Fox News Sunday that he is intrigued by some of your message that you have used to take on Secretary Clinton, and he plans to use that message as soundbites and as arguments. Going forward, as you continue through the rest of this, do you plan to change any of your tone? Do you believe that you are contributing to his campaign by helping him advance this argument against Secretary Clinton?

Bernie Sanders:     I want to congratulate Donald Trump, who has managed to manipulate the media in an unprecedented way. Every word he says is three hours on CNN or some other station. The Republican Party and Trump have the resources to do all the opposition research they want on Secretary Clinton; they don’t need Bernie Sanders’s critiques of the Secretary. As I’ve said before, when you look at a Donald Trump, who wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top tenths of 1%, a man who despite all of the scientific evidence thinks that climate change is a hoax, a man who thinks we should not raise the starvation wage minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, II think in the general election, no matter who runs against him, this guy will not be a strong candidate. I know and you should know what Trump is trying to do.

Jeff Zeleny:           [00:22:13] [inaudible]

Bernie Sanders:     No, I think that’s nonsense, and I’m glad to see that he manages to get through to some media making that point. What is a campaign about? A campaign is supposed to be about not just political gossip; it’s actually supposed to be about differentiating the points of view that candidates have. Secretary Clinton and I have different points of view on a number of issues, and I have tried my hardest to run an issue-oriented campaign explaining to the American people the differences that we have. Now, I may be old-fashioned, but that’s what I think democracy is supposed to be about.

Frankly, as you’ve heard me say, Jeff, a million times—I do wish media paid more attention to why the middle class in this country is disappearing; the morality of grotesque level of income and wealth inequality; every now and then maybe mention climate change, the great environmental crisis our planet faces, every once in a while. I don’t want too much out of this. Trump is trying in a number of ways, I think, to tap into some of my support. If I lose the nomination, he will not get that support. If I lose the nomination, and we’re here to do everything we can to win it, I will fight as hard as I can to make certain that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.

Is Nicole here, USA Today? John Nolen of CBS? Is John here? John, you’re here? Yeah. Did you have a question?

John Nolen:          On superdelegates, what have you heard back in reaching out to superdelegates and asking them to look at your wins and ones that you may…?

Bernie Sanders:     The evidence is there that we are by far the stronger candidate. I’m confident that we will win some of those folks over.

Dan Roberts, The Guardian? Dan here? Hey, Dan.

Dan Roberts:         What I have is this: You have, as you said, come a long way, to get here. Looking back, what lasting achievement are you most proud of? To put it another way, if this road doesn’t lead to the nomination, what do you think your political legacy will be?

Bernie Sanders:     I’m not into legacy, Dan. Right now, in the next month and a half, we’re fighting to win every delegate that we can. I hope my legacy will be that I was a very good president of the United States.

Mary Alice here? Where are you, Mary? There you are.

Mary Alice:           If you do not secure the majority of pledged delegates, do you still believe that superdelegates should switch and back you, in essence rejecting the opinion of the voters?

Bernie Sanders:     It’s a funny thing. Right now, you have state after state where we have won landslide victories, and there are superdelegates who are saying, “We don’t have to listen to the people. We’ll vote for Hillary Clinton.” I think at the end of the day what superdelegates are going to have to consider – and, by the way, I hope, it’s a steep hill to climb. I hope that we will win the pledged delegates. At the end of the day, the responsibility that superdelegates have is to decide what is best for this country and what is best for the Democratic Party. If those superdelegates conclude that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate, the strongest candidate to defeat Trump and anybody else, yes, I would very much welcome their support.

Danny Freeman, NBC. Danny? Hey, Danny.

Danny Freeman:    Senator, we’ve been following for a long time now, and we see that your strategy, at least on face value, seems similar in a lot of the states. You hold these big rallies. You said in California you’re going to hold a lot of big rallies. Have there been any lessons learned from, say, states like New York where you projected you would do better that you will apply to these upcoming ten states?

Bernie Sanders:     Here’s the difficulty. A good question, Danny. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer that. In this sense, talk about New York State. What did we get, 42% or 43% of the vote? We did poorly. Three million independents in New York State were disenfranchised. They could not vote because of the crime of writing down they were independents. I cannot tell you that if independents were allowed to vote in New York State we would’ve won. I don’t know. No question, though, we would’ve done much better.

Not only are we taking on – I don’t mean to cry here, we knew what we were getting into. We know what the rules are. We accept them. We’re doing the best that we can, but please appreciate that in state after state where independents cannot vote, we are at a real disadvantage. It’s a little bit absurd because independents do vote in a general election. If Democrats want the strongest candidate out there to take on a Republican, I think it’s pretty dumb to be excluding independents. I hope and will fight, whether I win or not, to change those rules.

To answer your question, frankly, in hindsight you can always think of things you should’ve done better. Someday I will tell you all those things. That’s true for any campaign. I’m sure if you talk to Clinton’s campaign they’ll tell you all the things they could’ve done better. I am enormously proud of the campaign that we have run up to this point, and I hope it gets better.

Any of you here would’ve bet that on May 1, Bernie Sanders would’ve won 17 primaries and caucuses? If you had the odds that I think you would’ve a year ago, you wouldn’t be sitting here. You’d be very wealthy individuals. We’re proud of the campaign that we ran.

Milli Legrain here? Milli here? Millie here? Okay, yes, ma’am. That may be the last question. I think we’ve got to get a plane here…Okay. All right. Listen, thank you very much. We’ve got to catch a plane to get to South Bend. Okay, see you. Bye-bye.

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