Sanders, Clinton talk immigration, battle for Hispanic vote before big California primary

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are spending their final weekend in California, before the state’s big primary Tuesday, rallying voters over immigration issues and warning the state’s diverse electorate about the perils of electing Republican Donald Trump.

On Saturday, Sanders expressed confidence that he could win a majority of votes next week in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and North Dakota.

However, the Vermont senator acknowledged that he’ll need a high voter turnout, like those that have helped him win previous state contests.

“It’s going to be an uphill battle” Sanders said a press conference in Los Angeles, repeating what he has said many times recently.

Still, a report Friday by the state that a record 17.9 million Californians, or 72 percent of eligible state voters, are registered to vote in the primaries could help Sanders.

Sanders on Saturday also repeated that the front-running Clinton will not have enough pledged delegates after polls close Tuesday to secure the nomination.

He said she will have to instead rely on super-delegates, or those who have previously committed to Clinton, to claim the nomination and that he will continue to try to win over those delegates to take the nomination at the party’s convention in July.

“We look forward on Tuesday to doing very well,” Sanders said. “There will be a contested convention. … Super delegates can and have changed their candidate choice in the past.”

He also focused on the issue of immigration, as Clinton did earlier in the day in California, a state that borders Mexico and where Hispanics will be a key voting bloc.

Sanders argued that Trump,  the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, should not be elected because his “bigotry” against Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans and others “cannot be tolerated.”

“Donald Trump cannot be elected president,” Sanders said. He also spoke Saturday to supporters at his campaign headquarters in Los Angeles.

Clinton, in a panel discussion in Slymar, Calif., expressed optimism about passing legislation to overhaul federal immigration law.

Clinton argued that as U.S. senators she supported bipartisan Senate reform legislation while Sanders did not.

“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “There were people from every part of the planet who were so hopeful. … I believe that after this election, if all goes well, we will have a chance to pass immigration reform.”

She also said Trump plans to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, calling such talk “the most unfair and dangerous kind of conversation” that has veered off “toward anger and fear.”

Other scheduled events for Clinton this weekend included a stop Saturday in Oxnard, Calif.

Trump campaigned this week in California, despite having enough delegates to secure the GOP nomination, but held no events Saturday.

Some of those events brought violent protests outside the venues.

One of California’s most influential daily newspapers, The San Francisco Chronicle, this weekend endorsed neither Clinton, Sanders nor Trump.

That the Chronicle wouldn’t endorse Trump was not surprising, consider the editorial board for the paper, in liberal-leaning Northern California, had previously expressed its distaste for what it calls his “low-substance, high-insult candidacy.”

The paper was also highly critical of the front-running Clinton, pointing out her refusal to meet with the board and her many fundraising forays in the state.

However, the Chronicle declined to back Sanders in the neck-and-neck primary Tuesday, suggesting his “aggressively progressive promises” can never be realized with so many Republicans ruling Congress.

Two other major California dailies -- The Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union Tribune -- have endorsed Clinton. The Tribune this weekend sarcastically endorsed Ronald Reagan over Trump.