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Bernie Sanders still around, but US presidential race has moved on

Bernie Sanders is not going away, not yet at least, even if the rest of the 2016 race for the White House has moved on.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2016 21:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
US presidential election,Bernie Sanders,Hillary Clinton
Democratic US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders prepares to speak for a video to supporters at Polaris Mediaworks in Burlington on Thursday.(Reuters)

Bernie Sanders is not going away, not yet at least, even if the rest of the 2016 race for the White House, and all that comes with it such as close media attention, has moved on.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has pivoted fully to the general election, focussing on Republican candidate Donald Trump, and is vetting candidates for running mate.

But Sanders vowed on Thursday to press on and defeat Trump in a speech live-streamed to around 200,000 viewers. “We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” he said. “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.”

While Sanders may appear girding up for a fight at the convention, it’s probably not for the party nomination, which he has lost to Clinton by a wide and unbridgeable margin.

Sanders and his advisers want to continue the race to ensure their agenda and policy postures are adequately reflected in the party platform to be issued at the convention.

And the party nominee accommodated them in her policy pronouncements too — some of which she has already adopted, such as attacks on big banks and campaign reforms.

The Sanders campaign is not ready to concede and endorse Clinton yet. “We would like to get to a place where we could very actively support the nominee,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Bloomberg Television.

He implied they were not there yet. But some of Sanders supporters are — such as Senator Jeff Merkley, one of his earlier endorsers who has announced his support for Clinton.

The media has moved on too, as The New York Times noted: CNN ignored Sanders’s speech, and stayed focussed on its Orlando coverage; Fox had a panel discussion on terrorism at the time, and MSNBC, which went live, cut away after a bit.

The Democratic nominee, who needs Sanders’ supporters, is not waiting either, and is fully focussed on the general election and her Republican rival.

While neither of them has yet announced their running mate, they are likely to shortly — typically, as is the practice, before their party conventions in early July.

The Wall Street Journal has reported the Clinton campaign is vetting Senator Elizabeth Warren for the vice-president slot. Others include Senators Tim Kaine and Sherrod Brown.

First Published: Jun 17, 2016 21:16 IST