Sanders’ Campaign Faces Assessment Time After Tuesday’s Votes

What Should Sanders’ Role Be at Democratic Convention?
  • Five primaries likely to put Clinton further ahead in race
  • Aides vow Sanders will remain in contention for nomination

Senator Bernie Sanders will assess his approach to the presidential campaign after primaries in five northeastern states Tuesday that will likely put the Democratic nomination further out of his reach.

Sanders and his aides are vowing to keep competing with Hillary Clinton through the final contests in June and into the Democratic National Convention in July. But they are reconsidering schedules, resources and the message.

After voting in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware “absolutely we will talk about how we’re going to deal with the results,” Tad Devine, the campaign’s chief strategist, said Tuesday. "If we have to adjust the path based on today’s results, we will.”

While Devine said such reassessments are routine, there already has been a subtle shift in how Sanders talks about the race, acknowledging the possibility he won’t win and discussing what he would do to unify the party before the general election.

“I intend to do everything I can, if I am not the nominee, to make sure that some Republican does not sit in the White House,” Sanders said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program. “For the moment, we’re going to fight all the way to the Philadelphia convention.”

Clinton already holds a commanding lead in delegates who will decide the nomination, with 1,428 pledged from primaries and caucuses over the past four months, plus at least 518 party officials and officeholders known as superdelegates, according to an Associated Press tally. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates to claim the nomination. Clinton is leading polls in four of the five states voting Tuesday and could gain another 200 or so delegates.

Sanders has 1,192 delegates. The Vermont senator’s congressional colleagues are putting pressure on him to dial back attacks on Clinton so that Democrats can present a unified front against Donald Trump or another Republican nominee.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he has no problem with Sanders continuing his campaign. But asked whether he sees any path for Sanders to win the nomination, Reid said, “No, I don’t.”

Before Tuesday results, Devine said that the Sanders campaign has a "path forward to the nomination that would allow us to win more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton."

Given her delegate lead, Clinton suggested the end of the campaign trail is near for Sanders.

“We are going to work together, but I am ahead and let’s start from that premise when we talk about what happens next,” she said on MSNBC Monday night.

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