Sanders, speaking at the National Press Club prior to the National Correspondent’s Dinner in Washington D.C., also urged super delegates – Democratic muckety-mucks such as senators, governors, former presidents – to:
“respect the will of the people in their state and the votes they have cast.”
Sanders said he hoped the delegates would switch allegiance whether the state was won by him or Clinton.
Speaking a year after he threw his hat into the presidential ring, Sanders took time to laud his campaign workers and supporters, before talking a little delegate math.
“We started as a fringe campaign… and have won 17 primaries and caucuses.” .
Sanders added that his team has “taken on the entire Democratic establishment in state after state… taking on the most powerful political machine in this country.” with two wins for Presidential Bill Clinton in the 1990s and a respectable showing for Hillary in 2008.
And the campaign has done it without the big money everybody said a presidential campaign needed to survive, with the much of the funds coming from individual contributions from working and middle class Americans who paid an average of $27 a contribution.
Despite only having 14 primaries left until the Democratic Convention, Sanders said his campaign raised more than $25 million this past month.
“What this political revolution has shown we can run a strong campaign without a Super PAC and without being dependent on big money interests.The ideas we are fighting for are the future of the democratic party.”
Sanders wrapped up his portion of the press conference before taking questions by laying out the delegate math left for him or Clinton to snag nomination.
He explained that there is a total of 4,766 delegates, 4,047 pledged, who vote with the will of the voters in their states, and 719 super delegates, who may vote as they please.
To win a Democratic nomination, a candidate needs 2,383 delegates.
According to Sanders, it is “virtually impossible” for Clinton to win the majority of convention delegates by June 14 – the final primary day in the election:
“She’ll need the super delegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia. In other words it will be a contested convention.”
Currently Clinton has 1,645 pledged delegates, or 55 percent.
Sanders has 1,318, or 45 percent.
To wrap up the primary without tapping into Clinton’s supply of super delegates – 520 super delegates to Sanders’ 31 – Sanders would need to win 710 of the remaining 1083 pledged delegates available, or 65 percent.
Sanders added that he hoped super delegates in states that went strongly either way – such as Washington State which was won by Sanders with 72.7 percent of the vote – would heed the will of the people and pledge support to the winner of the popular vote. In Washington State 10 of the state’s 17 super delegates have chosen Clinton, with seven undecided.
“It’s a tough road to climb, but it’s not an impossible road to climb,” Sanders said. “…we believe that we are in a very strong position to win many of the remaining contests.and we have an excellent chance to win in California, the state with far and away the most delegates”
Finally, Sanders urged voters to heed who is polling best against Republican candidates, with Sanders leading various polls against both front-runner Donald Trump and Ted Cruz
“Obviously we differ on many things, but where we strongly agree, and every delegate strongly agrees, is that it would be a disaster to this country if Donald Trump or some other right-wing Republican candidate to win. I believe I would be the stronger candidate to beat the Republicans.”