Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday rejected claims that continuing his bid for the Democratic nomination is hurting the party.
Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” pointedly asked Sanders whether he was hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances going into the general election, citing claims from Clinton supporters.
Sanders chuckled at the suggestion, claiming that his campaign is “turning around millions of young people” and “getting them into the Democratic Party.”
He cited a Harvard Institute of Politics survey, which found he was the only candidate to be viewed favourably by 18-to-29 year-olds, to back up his claims.
“So, I don’t think we’re hurting the party,” Sanders continued. “I think a vigorous debate on the important issues facing the American people is not only exactly what democracy is about — at the end of the day, it creates more political interest, and when voter turnout is high, progressives and Democrats win elections.”
Sanders also pushed back on suggestions that there was no path forward for his campaign, given Clinton’s huge win in the New York primary last week.
“First of all, I do not accept that there is no path forward,” Sanders said. “Let’s not count our chickens before they are hatched.”
Sanders pointed to the five contests on Tuesday — Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland. He also brought up California, where he is gaining on Clinton in the polls before the state’s primary on June 7.
“I think all people in this country have a right to participate, to determine who the Democratic nominee will be and what the agenda will be,” Sanders said. “And I think it will be very healthy for democracy and the Democratic Party when we have the debate — the platform debates, the policy debates, at the convention.”