Following his victory in Oregon, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has vowed to remain in the race until the party convention.
Despite delegate math being against him, Sanders still maintains that he can win the nomination outright, leading some liberal commentators to accuse him of misleading his supporters and undercutting the Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
On May 17, Sanders won the state of Oregon while Clinton narrowly triumphed in Kentucky. The senator celebrated the win among his supporters at a rally in Carson, California, The Hill reports.
Even after winning Oregon, Sanders currently trails Clinton by 279 pledged delegates. That is a far wider gap than Clinton had in 2008, when she was considered all but defeated by Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
Sanders still maintained that he could win and vowed to remain in the race until the final Democratic primary contest, which will be held in Washington D.C. June 14.
“We have the possibility, it will be a steep climb, I recognize that, but we have the possibility of going to Philadelphia with a majority of pledged delegates,” Sanders told his supporters.
The Vermont senator proceeded to list the differences between him and Clinton, criticizing her for her moderate view on the minimum wage, her use of super-PACs and her 2003 vote to authorize the Iraq War.
Sanders’ declaration to battle Clinton until the convention arrives just as several Democratic party leaders have blasted his campaign for stirring anger and divisiveness in the party.
Following the rowdy protest of Sanders supporters during the past weekend’s Nevada Democratic Party convention, who had accused state party officials of breaking the rules to favor Clinton, tensions erupted between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Sanders’ camp.
The Senate Minority Leader, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz have criticized Sanders for releasing a statement that had defended his supporters’ anger.
“I think Hillary and Bernie both misunderstand this movement,” said CNN political commentator Van Jones. “I think Hillary just sees a bunch of rowdy kids that at some point will just calm down and fall into line. ... I think Bernie actually only sees the good in his followers.”
Van Jones concluded “I think Bernie really misunderstands there is a nasty edge to his following that he’s not taking seriously enough.”
While Sanders told his supporters in California that he still could win the nomination, liberal commentators who had been previously positive on the senator took to social media to accuse him of dividing the Democratic party, the Washington Post reports.
“Real-keeping: Sanders is grossly misleading his supporters about his prospects for winning the nomination,” tweeted Sahil Kapur of Bloomberg Politics.
“If Democratic race was a normal race, it would’ve been over a while ago,” tweeted out Yair Rosenberg of Tablet Magazine. “At this point, like Kasich campaign, Sanders’ is a vanity exercise.”
MSNBC contributor Benjy Sarlin tweeted out, “There’s no rule requiring losing candidates to delude their supporters.”