Despite the fact that the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton had crossed the delegate threshold needed to clinch the Democratic president nomination on Monday, and also despite that Hillary Clinton delivered a sound trouncing of Sanders in four of the six states, including California, holding nominating contests on Tuesday, Bernie Sanders didn’t even mention Clinton’s name until 15 minutes into the defiant speech he delivered to supporters in California late Tuesday night.
Sanders glossed over a congratulatory phone call he made to Clinton, a point that his supporters loudly booed. But in no other way did Sanders make any mention of the historic nature of what was unfolding. Hillary Clinton was becoming the first woman in the history of American politics to clinch the presidential nomination for for a major political party.
Instead of even acknowledging that development, and despite an insurmountable delegate deficit, Sanders vowed to continue his campaign. “We will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get,” Sanders told his supporters in California, promising he would “fight hard to win.”
Critics of Sanders said he missed an opportunity to begin unifying the Democratic party — and worse. David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents, told the New York Times, “It’s a blown opportunity to build bridges that are going to be extremely important in the fall.” He added that the 74-year-old senator is running the risk of looking like a “grumpy old man.”
Howard Dean, a former governor — also from Vermont — who furiously battled for, but ultimately lost, the Democratic presidential nomination to Al Gore in 2000, recalled how he felt like “an idiot” after realizing he’d held on too long. He had some suggestions for Sanders, based on his own experiences.
“He has to switch into the mode of a statesman,” Dean told the Times. “You don’t get any points for carrying on or complaining about it. You get points for sucking it up.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.