Bernie Sanders’ campaign burst on the Democratic scene from out of left field and at one point looked like he might Barack Obama Hillary Clinton for the nomination, but on Thursday, the Vermont senator announced he had an announcement to make. It’s been a long campaign, and Hillary Clinton bested him on every conceivable metric—albeit narrowly in some—other than the party-liquefying convention nuclear option to which Sanders doesn’t have the codes anyway. So, on Thursday night, the Vermont senator gathered friends, loved ones, and supporters around the country to huddle around a live video feed to humbly announce: He’s still running for president.
To be fair, Sanders hinted that soon he will be done and his “role” will change in a “very short period of time,” but he notably stopped well short of even remotely ending his campaign or endorsing Hillary Clinton. In addition to his standard stump speech, here’s what Sanders had to say about his future:
The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly. And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.
But defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become. And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Clinton and discuss some of the very important issues facing our country and the Democratic Party. It is no secret that Secretary Clinton and I have strong disagreements on some very important issues. It is also true that our views are quite close on others. I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda. I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life.
To the consternation of Democratic party officials—and glee of Sanders supporters, many of whom double as armchair constitutional lawyers—Sanders has continued on even after Clinton surpassed the required number of pledged delegates and superdelegates to secure the nomination. Even before Thursday’s address, Sanders’ tone on his future plans had softened after previously pledging to contest Clinton’s nomination at the convention, but he has held out on fully endorsing his (former?) rival in a bid to impact the party platform and more firmly anchor the party where he dragged it, sometimes kicking and screaming, during the primary process.