Bernie Sanders is an unconventional candidate. His opponent has already secured the 2,383 delegates necessary for a presidential nomination, yet Bernie continues to campaign. In fact, he remains confident still that he can win, hoping that the upcoming Democratic National Convention will gain him the remaining delegates, and even sway those previously committed to Hillary Clinton. (Curiously, however, Bernie Sanders has in the past denounced the chairwoman of the DNC after she said she would back Bernie’s opponent in the election.) Why might Bernie Sanders be continuing his campaign? What might he be trying to accomplish? In my mind, a few factors are driving his decision-making.
Serving the Greater Good
Bernie Sanders appears to be solidifying his base for the long run. This may sound odd at first, but I do believe that he is trying to gain support for the party by furthering his campaign against the presumptive nominee. Not unlike fans of Trump, Bernie supporters are very passionate and loyal. People who believe in Sanders’ message are likely to put their faith on Hillary if he were to tell them to do so. At this point in the race, Sanders has to be thinking about unifying his party for the election in November. If Hillary is nominated, his backing will then include his wealth of supporters for the Democratic nominee. I think it’s likely that Bernie is thinking about the future of the Democratic Party rather than his own campaign.
Still Holding On
Then again, Bernie is still vehement about not conceding. Could someone so ardent and optimistic about his campaign be putting up a façade to net more supporters only for the Democratic Party? I think not. With almost 1900 delegates and a few weeks more to campaign before the Convention, it’s actually a plausible, albeit unlikely, goal to get the nomination. However, in my opinion Bernie truly believes that a monumental upset could be achieved. Yes, it will take an immense amount of persuasion and some really bad press for Hillary but I don’t think these things are impossible. His fan base seems more than happy to comply as well. This is most likely the main driving force for his actions.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Because the two reasons above conflict each other, Bernie Sanders has lead an unorthodox campaign in an election rife with breaking the norm. I can well imagine how hard it can be to run a campaign while a vast majority already has picked the opponent. On the other side of that argument, Bernie needs 502 more delegates to win the nomination, and there are currently only 84 left. Still though, with 565 super delegates committed to the Clinton campaign, there are more than enough that can change their mind and support Bernie. Bernie Sanders is in a tough spot. Should he keep running and try and beat the odds, or should he give in and focus more on the unification of the Democratic Party for November? Either way, as of right now his political future remains unpredictable.
Shaunak Vaidya is a student at Saratoga High School with a passion for politics.