'The Struggle Continues': Sanders Refuses to Bend the Knee to Establishment
'We will take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia,' senator declares
Bernie Sanders refused to concede the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination on Tuesday night even as he congratulated his rival Hillary Clinton on her primary wins and thanked his supporters for their determined commitment to the 'political revolution' he has championed throughout the hotly contested primary season.
"If this campaign has taught us anything," he told an enthusiastic and cheering crowd in Santa Monica, California just after 10:30 pm local time, "it has proven that millions of Americans who love this country are prepared to stand up and fight to make this country a much better place."
"Our fight is to transform this country and to understand that we are in this together, understand that all of what we believe is what the majority of American people believe and to understand that the struggle continues." —Bernie Sanders
When Sanders took the stage, and as of this writing, major news outlets had awarded three of the day's six contests—New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota—to Clinton, while Sanders was able to claim victories in both Montana and North Dakota.
Results in California, meanwhile, remained too close to call.
Though roundly criticized as an inaccurate assessment of the delegate math, media outlets referred to Clinton as the "presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party" throughout the evening. During a prime time speech from Brooklyn, New York, Clinton celebrated the "historic" night after being the first female candidate of either major party to earn the distinction.
In his speech, though it appeared at first Sanders might submit to the not-so-subtle urgings of the Democratic Party establishment and many political pundits who said it was now time for him to quit the race, the U.S. senator from Vermont defied those sentiments by saying his campaign would forge ahead towards next Tuesday's final primary contest in Washington, D.C..
"What this is about is millions of people from coast to coast knowing that we can do much, much better as a nation," Sanders said. "Our fight is to transform this country and to understand that we are in this together, understand that all of what we believe is what the majority of American people believe and to understand that the struggle continues."
When he subsequently said the "fight would continue," the crowd erupted with a roar of approval.
"We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington, D.C.," he continued. "And then we will take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
While Sanders acknowledged the difficult "arithmetic" for his campaign on Tuesday night—calling the fight ahead "a very, very steep fight"—he stuck to his repeated promise that he was ready to take "the movement" and energy of his campaign all the way to July's national convention.
"Thank you all," he told the roaring crowd, before concluding: "The struggle continues."
Watch the full speech: