Hillary Clinton just made history.
At Hillary Clinton's victory event in Brooklyn, NY. (Holly Epstein Ojalvo for Kicker)
She's the first woman ever to be a major party's nominee for president of the United States.
First (prematurely?) she was declared the presumptive nominee by the Associated Press, with 7 primaries still to go. Then last night, big wins in New Jersey and then California put her over the top pretty definitively.
Yet ... Bernie Sanders is still around.
Bernie Sanders' Eugene, Oregon campaign office. (Rick Obst/Flickr)
Last night, he announced boldly that he was taking the "fight" to DC and on to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, declaring,
"The struggle continues."
This, despite the fact that:
- He's behind in the overall popular vote by an estimated 3.68 million votes, perhaps closer to 3.9 million, 56% to 42%.*
- He's behind in number of contests won by 9, 32 to 23.
- He's behind in pledged delegates by 380, 2,184 to 1,804.
- He's behind in superdelegates** by 524, 571 to 47.
Green states = won by Sanders. Yellow states = won by Clinton. (Wikimedia Commons)
This all makes Clinton the clear presumptive Democratic nominee. Which she claimed last night in a speech in Brooklyn, New York, about making history.
Hillary Clinton after her victory speech in Brooklyn last night. (Patrick deHahn for Kicker)
And today, despite vowing to fight on, he is laying off half his staff. So why isn't Bernie Sanders dropping out?
1. There's another primary.
Only one left: The District of Columbia. That primary is next Tuesday. Sanders wants to finish out the primary season.
He's also meeting with President Obama on Thursday, before holding a rally in Washington.
Usually the presumptive nominee of a party is declared either when that candidate has no remaining opponents, like Donald Trump, or when all the primaries are over, as happened in the Democratic primary in 2008.
2. The battle continues over superdelegates
Bernie Sanders isn't finished with the supers.
Superdelegates, unlike bound (or pledged) delegates that reflect the popular vote, are unbound delegates who can vote for whomever they want at the Democratic National Convention this July. Though they usually announce their support beforehand.
Bernie is losing superdelegates, not gaining them. A trend that will continue. https://t.co/rK8eCQgUnP
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 8, 2016
Sanders may even challenge the superdelegate system itself at the convention. If he does, he'll probably argue that the superdelegates are for the Democratic establishment and are unfair, as superdels don't have to reflect the popular vote--though in this case, the supers and the popular vote are aligned.
3. He wants to keep the revolution going.
Sanders wants to keep fighting on.
After thanking everyone for being a part of the political revolution, he recognized the serious fight last night in Santa Monica, California:
"I am pretty good at arithmetic, and I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight, but we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get. ... Our fight is to transform our country and to understand that we are in this together. To understand that all of what we believe is what the majority of the American people believe. And to understand that the struggle continues."
4. He hopes to impact the Democratic party's platform at the convention and beyond.
It's bigger than the math of delegates, votes, and such for Sanders. He wants to make real, significant change.
Last night, a couple of hours after Clinton claimed victory, Sanders reframed his speech to plant the seeds for his vision of the Democratic party's future.
After the DC primary, that will likely take the form of Sanders taking action at the convention to push for a more progressive platform. And who knows where he'll go from there.
Could some of the reason Sanders isn't ready to concede to Clinton be ... hubris?
His staunch supporters view Sanders as committed to a progressive mission and a moral imperative, and celebrate the fact that in this primary he's clearly achieved way more than most believed possible at the outset.
Others say his staying in the race now reflects how hard it is to shut down a campaign.
Likely at least partly due to, quite naturally, ego. After months of adulation from enormous crowds, it's got to be supremely difficult to simply walk away.
One sign that Sanders' ego may be getting the best of him: In the wake of Clinton making history last night, he pretty much ignored that accomplishment--and didn't address the boos that erupted in the room when he mentioned her name.
And with the math being so cut and dried, making a win virtually impossible, it frustrates many that Sanders insists on continuing.
Hillary Clinton celebrates with Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea Clinton, and son-in-law Mark Mezvinsky in Brooklyn. (Patrick deHahn for Kicker)
Hillary Clinton knows well what it's like to lose a hard-fought race and to hesitate to drop out. She said this in her speech last night:
"Now, I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in - and to come up short. I know that feeling well."
Remember, Barack Obama beat Clinton for the Dem party nomination in a much closer race in 2008. When Obama was declared the winner, Clinton actually waited four days to stop campaigning. She then endorsed him, and then called for party unity at the convention, halting the delegate roll call for a voice vote by acclamation for Obama.
Will Bernie Sanders eventually do the same? Or will fight to the very end?
This article was written by Patrick deHahn and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.