He is neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in Illinois and Missouri, but tough losses in Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina mean that the delegate math is increasingly stacked against him. Even so, he gave a nearly hour-long speech in Arizona (that none of the major TV networks aired). He touched on all his typical talking points and more, including: criminal justice, Wall Street, marijuana, income inequality, Donald Trump’s racism, climate change, paid leave, minimum wage, the Iraq War, health care, tuition-free university, gay marriage, child poverty, voter turnout, and general solidarity.
Sanders’s speech was a preview of what his campaign will become if the nomination becomes impossible. Unlike the stragglers on the Republican side, he can still wield some influence even if he loses, so he’s staying on-message, reminding his supporters of why they voted for him in the first place, and cementing the important and influential legacy of his campaign. “Change, real change, never takes place from the top on down,” Sanders told the cheering crowd. “It always takes place from the grassroots on up.”
Sanders has been adamant that his campaign is about more that pushing Clinton to the left. But the popularity of his campaign, and his enduring presence, will continue to shape her campaign, especially if she hopes to win Sanders’s supporters in the general.