- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2016

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders has one message to those calling for him to drop out of the primary race: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Despite assurances from rival Hillary Clinton that the nomination is all but locked up, the Vermont senator made clear on Sunday that he isn’t going anywhere, backing up his pledge to take the nominating fight all the way to the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Sanders pointed to a slew of victories in recent primary states, saying Mrs. Clinton is “jumping the gun” by proclaiming a premature victory.

“Well, I think we might want to talk to the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon who voted very strongly for me in the last three contests — the people of Kentucky, who kind of split the delegates,” Mr. Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I think we’re going to do very well in the nine remaining contests.”

“So I think Secretary Clinton is jumping the gun a little bit here,” he said.

The self-proclaimed democratic socialist justified his decision to stay in the race by pointing to a series of recent national polls that show him faring better than Mrs. Clinton against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

SEE ALSO: Poll shows Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump neck-and-neck in Ohio, Florida

While Mrs. Clinton trails Mr. Trump in several recent national polls, those same polls show Mr. Sanders doing markedly better.

“If you look at virtually all of the polls done in the last six, seven weeks, in every one of them, national polls and statewide polls, we defeat Donald Trump by larger margins, in some cases significantly larger margins, than does Secretary Clinton,” he said.

“I think the objective evidence is our campaign is the strongest candidate — campaign to beat Trump,” he said.

Although much ink was spilled over the prospect of a contested Republican National Convention, it appears the drama will largely center on the Democratic side of the aisle, when the party meets at the end of July in Philadelphia to choose a nominee.

Mrs. Clinton on Sunday tried to consolidate support behind her campaign, proclaiming unequivocally that she will be the party’s presidential candidate.

Cordially hinting at his demise, she said Mr. Sanders “has every right to finish off his campaign however he chooses.”

She compared Mr. Sanders’s campaign to her own in 2008, when she was bested by then-Sen. Barack Obama, saying he should think about what’s in the best interest of the party.

“I am reaching out to do my part to try to unify the party. I expect him to do the same,” she said. “I did that when I lost a much closer race to Senator Obama, because I knew that, whatever our differences were, just as whatever our differences are between me and Senator Sanders, they pale in comparison to Donald Trump and the Republicans.”

But based on Mr. Sanders‘ rhetoric on Sunday — repeating his claim that Americans see Mrs. Clinton as the “lesser of two evils” compared to Mr. Trump — it’s clear that he doesn’t see things that way.

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