It wasn’t a good week for Bernie Sanders. After suffering a string of primary-contest losses, the Democratic presidential candidate’s path to the White House looks increasingly grim, if not outright impossible. But Sanders isn’t giving up. Even in the face of defeat, the campaign has defiantly promised to forge ahead.
There are plenty of reasons for the Vermont senator to stay in the race even if winning the White House is improbable. Sanders routinely talks about creating a “political revolution,” and he may never again have the opportunity to preach a populist message to massive crowds across the country. The campaign has built a highly engaged grassroots network of support and raked in millions of dollars. The longer Sanders fights for the nomination, the more time he has to increase his following and fundraising. He can point to both metrics as evidence of popular support while pushing policy priorities on Capitol Hill. Continuing to campaign also gives Sanders additional opportunities to pressure his rival, Hillary Clinton, to adopt an increasingly progressive agenda.
For now, the Sanders campaign insists that it still has a shot to win the White House and shows no signs of deviating from that focus. “We are feeling very good,” Jeff Weaver, the Sanders campaign manager, told reporters on Wednesday. “We are going to carry this campaign on to success in the summer and then ultimately in the fall.” The campaign argues that the map will prove favorable going forward. In the next month, six states will hold caucuses, contests that often reward grassroots enthusiasm, which could give Sanders an edge. Some of the states coming up on the primary calendar also feature heavily white electorates, a demographic makeup that has helped deliver victory for Sanders in the past.