On a campaign stop at Purdue University Wednesday, Democrat Bernie Sanders said he’s staying in the presidential race to win it, even after his losses Tuesday make it increasingly unlikely for him to secure the nomination.
Sanders lost four of Tuesday’s five primaries. But he says he’s in the Hoosier State to win, and he’s staying in the race to become the Democratic nominee for president.
“And with your help, super delegates may well reach the conclusion that Bernie Sanders will be the strongest candidate against Donald Trump or any other Republican,” Sanders says.
Still, Sanders acknowledges that if he doesn’t win, he’ll still try to win every delegate he can before the Democratic National Convention.
“So that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we’re gonna have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen,” he says.
Sanders supporters at the rally, such as Purdue Student Eliza Griner, echoed the senator's hopeful-yet-pragmatic stance.
"Even if at the end of the day even if there’s not a win for Bernie," Griner says, "I think the idea is if you’re excited about what he supports and his causes, you kind of influence what’s going to be talked about if there's a different person nominated at the democratic convention.”
But E. Miller of Lafayette isn't ready to cash out on Sanders just yet.
"It’s not over until every citizen get a chance to be represented," he says. "I think the Sanders campaign has its right to keep the energy going and continue to campaign."
But Indiana Republican Party Chair Jeff Cardwell says when Hoosiers go to the polls Tuesday, they should keep in mind that, as Cardwell puts it, Sanders and his “job-killing socialist policies” will damage Indiana.
Though it took him until nearly halfway through his speech, Bernie Sanders did touch on college affordability in his talk at Purdue Wednesday.
The Vermont senator has proposed levying a tax on big Wall Street financial firms, which he says would generate enough money to offset the cost of public college education for any American who wants it.
But while making college cheaper is an issue on which Sanders broadly agrees with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, Purdue’s leader told WBAA as early as last August that he doesn’t put much stock in Sanders’ idea.
“A lot of these things – and other things presidential candidate in both parties do at this time – is throw things out that are less serious proposals than attempts to make statements about their priorities,” Daniels says.
Still, Sanders Wednesday sounded a message remarkably similar to Daniels’ talks since starting at Purdue – all focused around trying not to, as both have put it, saddle college students with so much debt when they graduate.
“And if we must have a well-educated workforce, why are we punishing people for getting an education? We should reward them, not punish them,” Sanders says.
Sanders said the Purdue stop would not be his only one in Indiana before the May 3 primary – which was borne out by his plans to stop later in the day at Indiana University.