Bernie Sanders says the Democratic Party hasn’t been fair to him — but he has mixed feelings on the nominating process overall.
“Do you think this process has been fair to you? The Democratic nomination process?” moderator Chuck Todd asked the Vermont senator in an interview filmed Saturday in Baltimore and aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Yes and no,” Sanders said, going on to criticize the role of the media for neglecting to focus on “real issues facing America.” The media, he said, emphasizes “political gossip” rather than “issues that affect working people.”
“So it sounds like the party, though, you feel like’s been fair to you?” Todd asked Sanders.
“No,” Sanders responded. “I think we have— look, we’re taking on the establishment. That’s pretty clear.”
Pointing to the Democratic debate schedule, of which three of the first four took place on weekend nights, Sanders said they were “scheduled — pretty clearly, to my mind, at a time when there would be minimal viewing audience— et cetera, et cetera.”
“But you know, that’s the way it is. We knew we were taking on the establishment,” he said. “And here we are. So [I’m] not complaining.”
Todd then asked Sanders if he felt he was “given a fair shot” at the Democratic nomination.
“Yeah, we took advantage of the opportunities in front of us. We are in this race. We are not writing our obituary,” Sanders said. “We’re in this race to California, and we’re proud of the campaign we ran.”
Clinton is ahead of Sanders by 750 in POLITICO’s delegate count, with superdelegates included — and could wrap up the nomination even if she loses every remaining state. The Sanders campaign has said it plans to persuade superdelegates to switch sides, but has shown little ability to do so thus far.
But Sanders himself betrayed little sign that he intends to quit the race before the final round of contests on June 7, when six states will hold presidential primaries.
While acknowledging that his path to victory is “narrow,” Sanders said he could do “very well in California,” pointing to a Fox News poll showing him down there by just two percentage points. He also talked up polls showing him faring better than Clinton against Donald Trump in a hypothetical general-election matchup.
And if he is not the Democratic nominee, Sanders suggested that he would not necessarily push his supporters to back Clinton.
“I will do everything that I can to make certain that Donald Trump is not elected president,” he told Todd. “But if that scenario plays out, the major responsibility will be on Secretary Clinton to convince all people, not just supporters, that she is the kind of president this country needs to represent working people in this country, to take on the big money interests who have so much power, to fight for what the American people want.”
How can she do that? Todd asked.
Clinton would have to be “very explicit about supporting a program which stands up for the needs of the middle class and working families, which, most importantly, makes it clear that she is prepared to take on Wall Street in a very clear way, take on the billionaire class, come up with a program that makes health care for all in this country a right within the next several years,” Sanders responded.
Sanders also took a few shots at the Democratic Party, which he said “needs a lot of reforming.”
“What mostly we need to do is to open the doors of the Democratic Party, which in many ways are not open right now, to millions of young people and working class people who want to make fundamental changes in the way this country operates,” he explained. “And the function of the Democratic Party cannot just be to go to wealthy people and raise money. It’s got to be meeting with ordinary people, hearing what’s on their mind and prepare to take on the powerful special interest, who today control this country legislatively, economically and media-wise.”
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