- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sen. Bernard Sanders said Sunday that a “dumb” primary process is hurting his grassroots campaign.

The Vermont independent faces a narrow path toward seizing the Democratic nomination from the front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But he’s gunning for victory in California on June 7, and said his previous attempts to take on the Democratic establishment have been hampered by closed primaries that shut out independent voters.

“That’s not rigged, I think it’s just a dumb process, which has certainly disadvantaged our campaign,” said Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Despite fevered speculation, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump closed the door Friday to a one-on-one debate with Mr. Sanders ahead of the June 7 California primary, saying it would be “inappropriate” to share the stage with the second-place contender in the Democratic primary and help networks that have not been generous to charities.

“Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and [Democratic National Committee Chairwoman] Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher,” Mr. Trump said in the statement.

Mr. Sanders said he doesn’t know what to make of Mr. Trump’s statement, and that the mogul could flip-flop and offer to debate down the road.

“I do appreciate his love and compassion for me, but I don’t really accept his words,” Mr. Sanders said.

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