Instead of dropping out of the race or endorsing Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave thanks to his supporters this week while vowing to continue the political revolution that his campaign inspired. As Sanders prepares for the Democratic National Convention next month, the presidential candidate reiterated the importance of defeating Donald Trump.
“Real change never takes place from the top down, or in the living rooms of wealthy campaign contributors,” Sanders wrote in a statement on Thursday. “It always occurs from the bottom on up – when tens of millions of people say ‘enough is enough’ and become engaged in the fight for justice. That’s what the political revolution we helped start is all about. That’s why the political revolution must continue.”
Winning 22 state primaries and caucuses, Sanders’ campaign also came within two points or less in five more states. After garnering more than 12 million votes, Sanders profusely thanked his supporters in a live webcast on Thursday night while vowing to keep Trump out of the White House.
“This campaign is about defeating Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president,” Sanders asserted. “After centuries of racism, sexism and discrimination of all forms in our country we do not need a major party candidate who makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign. We cannot have a president who insults Mexicans and Latinos, Muslims, women and African-Americans. We cannot have a president who, in the midst of so much income and wealth inequality, wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very rich. We cannot have a president who, despite all of the scientific evidence, believes that climate change is a hoax.”
Sanders continued, “But defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become. And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”
After repeatedly clashing with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz throughout his campaign, Sanders will go into the Convention next month with a list of reforms necessary to reinvigorate the increasingly stagnant Democratic Party. Instead of attempting to lobby superdelegates away from Clinton, Sanders is calling for the Democratic Party to finally listen to the millions of new voters that his campaign has brought into the process.
“It means that we can no longer ignore the fact that, sadly, the current Democratic Party leadership has turned its back on dozens of states in this country and has allowed right-wing politicians to win elections in some states with virtually no opposition – including some of the poorest states in America,” Sanders noted. “The Democratic Party needs a 50-state strategy. We may not win in every state tomorrow but we will never win unless we recruit good candidates and develop organizations that can compete effectively in the future. We must provide resources to those states which have so long been ignored.”
Sanders went on, “Here is a cold, hard fact that must be addressed. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans in state after state throughout this country. In fact, the Republican Party now controls 31 state legislatures and controls both the governors’ mansions and statehouses in 23 states. That is unacceptable.”
While addressing prominent issues, including wealth inequality, social justice, failing infrastructure, and campaign finance reform, Sanders announced the next phase of the political revolution. Instead of focusing on one candidate, Sanders is calling for his supporters to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures, and governorships.
“Let me conclude by once again thanking everyone who has helped in this campaign in one way or another. We have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America, a fight that will continue tomorrow, next week, next year and into the future,” Sanders declared. “My hope is that when future historians look back and describe how our country moved forward into reversing the drift toward oligarchy, and created a government which represents all the people and not just the few, they will note that, to a significant degree, that effort began with the political revolution of 2016.”