In another sign that Sen. Bernie Sanders is in no rush to drop out of the White House race, the populist lawmaker from Vermont touted his “strong grassroots movement” and said “there is a path” for him to come back and defeat former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Asked Monday night by host Seth Meyers in an appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" why he’s staying in the race, Sanders answered confidently: “We’re about 300 delegates behind. Biden has 1,200. We have 900. There is a path.”
The progressive champion who’s making his second straight White House run then acknowledged, “It is admittedly a narrow path.”
But Sanders maintained he has broad support. “I would tell you, Seth, that there are a lot of people who are supporting me. We have a strong grassroots movement, who believe that we have got to stay in order to continue the fight to make the world know that we need 'Medicare-for-all,' that we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, that we need paid family and medical leave.”
Emphasizing other issues that he’s championing, Sanders added that “campaigns are an important way to maintain that fight and raise public consciousness on those issues. So, that’s, I think, one of the arguments for going forward.”
Biden – thanks to sweeping victories in South Carolina in late February and in primaries from coast to coast in March – has built up a 303-delegate lead over Sanders in the all-important race for convention delegates, making him the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. And Biden enjoyed a massive wave of support from former 2020 rivals and leading Democratic members of Congress, governors, unions, and other groups, as much of the party consolidated behind the former vice president’s White House bid.
But the coronavirus outbreak has frozen the Democratic primary calendar – forcing states to delay their primaries until late May or June and preventing Biden from officially clinching the nomination until then.
The pandemic’s also brought an end to in-person campaign rallies and town halls, forcing the candidates to reach out to voters through the virtual world. Sanders has held a bunch of online town halls devoted to combating the coronavirus crisis.
Sanders – in his late-night appearance from his home in Burlington, Vt. – noted that “we have put over the years, as a U.S. senator and as a candidate, a whole lot of effort into social media and into livestreaming. And we have, given the fact that I can’t be out on the campaign trail, the rallies, etc., we have been using our livestream and we usually get, you know, sometimes a million sometimes two million viewers.”
“So we have put a lot of resources into that. We do it pretty well, and you know, I think we do have an advantage over other folks in that regard,” he said.
As he has done repeatedly in the past, Sanders reiterated that it's crucial to defeat President Trump in November, saying "if I am not the nominee, I will do everything I can to see that Joe Biden is elected."
After a divisive 2016 primary battle, Sanders eventually endorsed nominee Hillary Clinton. But some of his supporters ended up sitting out the general election, backing the Libertarian or Green Party nominees, or voting for Trump, which helped the GOP nominee capture the White House.
Fox News' Andrew Craft contributed to this report.