‘Let the people in!’ declares Sanders at rally in California as he warns Democratic Party against losing nation’s working class vote to the GOP.
Bernie Sanders was able to claim his twentieth victory on Tuesday night by winning the Oregon primary while the margin of an “apparent victory” by Hillary Clinton in Kentucky remained so close (just a fraction of 1 percent) that many outlets are still deeming it ‘too close to call.’
“We won a great victory in the state of Washington a few months ago,” Sanders told celebrating supporters at a California rally Tuesday night. “We just won Oregon and we’re going to win California… I am getting to like the West Coast.”
As of early Wednesday morning, with 77 percent of the vote counted in Oregon, Sanders was the projected winner as he captured 55 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 46 percent. Notably, with a state that has encouraged ballot access by instituting automatic voter registration, Oregon is the first closed primary contest (one in which independents and late registrants are excluded from voting) that Sanders has been able to win against Clinton.
In Kentucky, a state that Sanders had hoped to win and where Clinton recently deployed an infusion of campaign spending and television ads, less than 2,000 votes separated the two candidates. During the 2008 race, by contrast, Clinton easily carried the state against Barack Obama, winning by more than 200,000 votes.
Given the thin margin in Kentucky, the Sanders campaign said it would make a decision on Wednesday on whether to ask for a recount in the state.
At his rally in Carson, California on Tuesday night—when it was clear he had won Oregon and fought to an essential draw in Kentucky—Sanders told the crowd of more than 11,000 people that although the path to the nomination remained an “uphill climb,” the campaign has no intention of letting up until every person in the country has the opportunity to express their political voice and vision for the future.
“I come from the working class of this country and I’ll be damned if we will allow the Republican Party, whose job is to represent the rich and the powerful, to win the votes of working-class Americans.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
“There are a lot of people out there who say Bernie Sanders should drop out, the people of California should not have the right to determine who the next president will be,” Sanders told the crowd. “We are in this until the last ballot is counted … and then we’re going to take that fight to Philadelphia.”
Up to this point, Sanders noted, his campaign has captured 45 percent of the party’s pledged delegates. He emphasized repeatedly the importance of the energy and enthusiasm that his campaign has brought to this year’s election season, especially among young people.
Sanders said he had a clear message for the Democratic Party leadership: “Open the doors. Let the people in.” The only other “sad and tragic” option, he said, was to maintain the status quo and end up as “a party with limited participation and limited energy.”
With an eye toward the general election, Sanders warned the Democratic Party that it stands a real chance of losing working class voters to the GOP and their presumptive nominee, billionaire real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump.
“Now I come from the working class of this country,” Sanders declared to applause, “and I’ll be damned if we will allow the Republican Party, whose job is to represent the rich and the powerful, to win the votes of working-class Americans.”
During the election night coverage, The Young Turks host Cenk Ugyur discussed the current delegate math in the context of Oregon and Kentucky and Sanders’ performance in those states still matters.
“The media has been telling us, ‘It’s over, it’s over, it’s over.’ But if it’s so over, why does Bernie Sanders keep winning?”
Watch Sanders’ full Carson rally speech below:
This post first appeared in Common Dreams.