Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference outside his campaign headquarters in Washington D.C. on June 14. | AP Photo
Bernie Sanders delivered a simple message Tuesday at a press conference outside his campaign’s Capitol Hill office: The Democratic Party needs to be transformed, and he plans to push for that all the way through the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Speaking just a few blocks from Congress with campaign manager Jeff Weaver and national spokeswoman Symone Sanders (no relation) at his side, Sanders ticked off his list of priorities to change the party.
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“We need a person at the leadership at the DNC who is vigorously supporting and out working to bring people into the political process,” Sanders said, before stressing the need for “the most progressive platform ever passed by the Democratic Party. A platform which makes it crystal clear that the Democratic Party is on the side of working people.”
The Vermont senator called for replacing Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, enabling open primaries so non-registered Democrats can vote, and better staffing to prevent long lines and difficulty being able to vote. Sanders pointed to Arizona, where both Democratic and Republican officials denounced the long lines and fewer polling stations available in the March 22 primary. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won that contest.
“How many people simply gave up their right to vote — gave up their right to vote and walked away,” Sanders said. “We are taking for granted that in California it will take weeks for votes to be counted and I’m not sure the votes have yet been counted in Puerto Rico.”
“We also need obviously to get rid of superdelegates,” Sanders said. “The idea that we had 400 superdelegates pledged to a candidate some eight months or more before the first ballot was cast is to my mind absurd. And we need to also make sure that superdelegates do not live in a world of their own but reflect, reflect, the views of the people of their own state.”
The press conference came hours before Sanders is set to sit down in a private meeting with Clinton, who has clinched the required number of delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.