NEW YORK, N.Y. — Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed Thursday to continue his fight to transform the Democratic Party and the nation, saying political campaigns come and go, but “political and social revolutions continue.”
“Our goal from day one has been transform this nation,” the Vermont senator said in a speech at The Town Hall performance venue in New York City. “And that is the fight we are going to continue.”
Sanders praised the union movement, railed against poverty around the county, and warned his followers of the dangers of complacency.
“We cannot allow ourselves to become used to the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of children in this country who are homeless,” he said to cheers of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Run Bernie, run!”
“Never ever lose your sense of outrage,” Sanders implored the approximately 1,250 supporters who attended the speech.
Hillary Clinton has won enough delegates to clinch the nomination, but Sanders apparently doesn’t seem to need the prospect of winning to keep his campaign alive. Earlier Thursday, he taped a segment of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, telling the audience, “All of you and everybody else who’s watching have got to be involved in the political process, have got to stand up and fight for the kind of America that we know that we can become, and I’m never going to give up on that fight.
Audience members clapped and chanted “Bernie” when he walked on stage. About half gave Sanders a standing ovation.
“You’ve gotten used to that,” Colbert said. “Sounds awfully good,” Sanders replied.
Thursday’s speech was part of a two-day swing through New York that will include a rally Friday in Syracuse, where Sanders will campaign for Eric Kingson, a progressive congressional candidate who co-founded Social Security Works. Sanders said during Thursday’s speech he also plans to travel to California to campaign for a woman running for the state Senate.
“We’re going to go all over this country because that is what the political revolution is about,” he told the packed performance hall. “It is millions of people getting involved in the political process in a way that has never been seen in the modern history of this country.”
Sanders said he wants to ensure the Democratic Party platform is the most progressive ever. Among other things, he wants the party agenda to make it clear the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is “dead.” And he said he may come to the floor of the Democratic convention with a proposal to establish “modern-day” Glass-Steagall legislation, which separated commercial and investment banking activities before it was repealed.
Sanders also vowed to abolish closed primaries and complained that superdelegates — the Democratic Party leaders and officials who may vote for the candidate of their choice at the party’s national convention — aren’t respecting the will of Democratic primary voters.
“We’re going to change that,” he said. “And while we’re at it, we may as well transform the entire Democratic Party. What that means is forcing open the door for ordinary people, for working people and young people, rather than allowing wealthy campaign contributors to be running that party.”
Earlier Thursday, Sanders spoke at the annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where he denounced Trump’s “bigotry.” He told his supporters Thursday night he intends to do everything he can to make sure Trump doesn’t become president.
In an op-ed article for the Washington Post on Thursday, Sanders laid out what he described as the priorities of the “political revolution” he started with his presidential campaign.
“What do we want? We want an economy that is not based on uncontrollable greed, monopolistic practices and illegal behavior,” Sanders wrote in the op-ed. “We want an economy that protects the human needs and dignity of all people — children, the elderly, the sick, working people and the poor. We want an economic and political system that works for all of us, not one in which almost all new wealth and power rests with a handful of billionaire families.”
Though Sanders hasn’t conceded the Democratic nomination race or endorsed Clinton, he has been slowly transitioning to a new phase focused on defeating Trump, making his mark on the Democratic Party and bringing new people into the political process.
About 20,000 people have signed up on Sanders’ website seeking more information about running for office or helping people run for office, in response to urging from Sanders.
The Vermont senator himself has laid off staff and his fundraising has declined, with $16 million raised in May compared to $26.9 million in April and $46 million in March. The campaign said he began to shift fundraising efforts in May to help other progressive candidates for Congress and state-level offices, with more than $2.5 million raised for 21 candidates as of Monday.