by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sanders started off his election-night speech on a pensive note, and for a moment it looked as if the curmudgeonly socialist had finally figured out that his adopted party was moving on without him. “I am enormously optimistic about the future of our country when so many young people have come on board,” he said. “Our vision will be the future of America.”
Then, he dropped the hammer. “We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington, D.C., and then we take our fight for social, economic, and environmental justice to Philadelphia!” Sanders suddenly crowed, igniting a defiant crowd. “I am pretty good in arithmetic, and I know the fight in front of us is a pretty steep fight, but we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate.”
“Thank you, and the struggle continues!” Sanders concluded, raising a fist in rebellion against the Democratic establishment and setting off a thunderous tidal wave of waving blue Bernie signs.
It’s a body blow to Democratic-party unity, which remains an elusive goal more than a month after Donald Trump sewed up the Republican nomination. Especially after last month’s contentious state Democratic convention in Nevada, where Sanders supporters slung death threats at pro-Clinton attendees and at times came close to violence, Democratic leaders — including some Sanders backers — had expressed hope that Sanders would start backing off after California’s vote.
But even though he now looks on track to lose that vote, he’s promised to soldier on regardless. With his supporters still seething over what they see as a “rigged” primary and with Sanders doing nothing to talk them off the ledge, it’s easy to see why Democrats fear a repeat of Nevada, on a national scale, this July.