Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday refused to entertain the idea that his presidential candidacy is drawing to a close, and swiped at the media for attempting to decide the Democratic primary based what he called on an unfair nominating process.
“I’m going to fight to become the nominee,” said Sanders, speaking to Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. “Let’s not forget, the Democratic convention is in July. That’s a long time from today.”
The Vermont senator was speaking two days before the last major contests of the Democratic nominating process, in which six states, including California and New Jersey, will apportion more than 700 delegates.
Hillary Clinton is projected to pass the delegate threshold she needs to capture the Democratic nomination and therefore, Tapper noted, declare victory.
In response, Sanders once again criticised the media for conflating delegates, who are apportioned based on the results of primary contests, with superdelegates: the party officials who are empowered by the Democratic National Committee to cast votes at the convention regardless of the electorate’s wishes.
“What she would be doing is combining pledged delegates – those are the real delegates that people vote for – with superdelegates … the media should not lump those two together,” Sanders said. “You don’t know what the world is going to be like four weeks from now, five weeks.”
Sanders hinted that Clinton may no longer lead him in pledged delegates after Tuesday.
“I don’t want to speculate about who will end up having more pledged delegates,” he said.
Clinton leads Sanders by 275 pledged delegates. Several hundred are up for grabs in contests in California, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Mexico. In California, which awards 475 delegates, Clinton has seen a significant polling lead over Sanders all but vanish. She is nevertheless projected to maintain her overall lead in pledged delegates.
For Sanders to capture the nomination in July, he would likely need the support of the very superdelegates he has criticized for orchestrating a “coronation” of Clinton. In recent weeks, he has swung between lambasting superdelegates’ power and suggesting that they support him for the ticket, believing that he polls better against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Sanders’ criticism of the nomination process has become a familiar note in the waning weeks of the Democratic primary, prompting other senior party members to lob their own critiques. On Saturday, at a state party gathering, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts declared: “I’m a superdelegate, and I don’t believe in superdelegates.”