BURLINGTON, Vt. (ABC News) — Bernie Sanders did not formally concede or back his primary rival Hillary Clinton during a live online address to his fans Thursday night, despite Clinton last week securing enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s nominee.
Sanders did, however, promise to join her and the Democratic party in a more active role in their effort to defeat Donald Trump.
“The major political task that together we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly, and I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time,” he said in his remarks, which he filmed in a television studio in his hometown and read off of a teleprompter.
In his remarks, Sanders told his supporters he hoped his campaign’s “political revolution” would continue beyond his singular fight for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
“This campaign has never been about any single candidate. It is always about transforming America,” he said. “That’s what the political revolution is about and that’s why the political revolution must continue into the future.”
Earlier today, Sanders’ campaign manger Jeff Weaver confirmed during an interview with Bloomberg News that Sanders’ campaign was not actively lobbying super delegates to vote for Sanders, nor do they plan to start soon. Instead, Weaver said that his campaign is continuing to talk to the Clinton campaign about policy ideas and
“We would like to get to a place where we could very actively support the nominee,” campaign manger Jeff Weaver said during the interview.”
Sanders thanked elected leaders who backed him for their “courage” and congratulated his volunteers for how far his campaign had come. He then went on to encourage his fans to run for local office in their hometowns and debuted a few platform on his website to help them get started.
“We need new blood in the political process and you are that new blood,” he said.
He also emphasized his plans to support down-ticket congressional and local level candidates as a way to spread his influence and utilize his large donor base.
Sanders only briefly mentioned Clinton during 23-minute address. He talked about their meeting this week and said the two campaigns were in “continued discussions.” He pledged that he would make his supporters “voices” heard in ongoing negotiations between all parties as they continued to push for ways to increase voter turnout and participation in the Democratic primary process and a more progressive party platform at the convention in July that includes strong provisions on health care, climate change and college debt.
According to the campaign, 218,000 people tuned in to the senator’s remarks.