Sanders Says He'll Take Nomination Fight to Convention, Try to Win Superdelegates

March 17, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) voiced the possibility of a contested Democratic convention Thursday, arguing that the voice of the American people and their primary votes should be represented in the delegate count.

In an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, Sanders told Maddow that superdelegates who are currently backing Clinton could be convinced to back him by July.

"We think if we come into the convention in July in Philadelphia, having won a whole lot of delegates, having a whole lot of momentum behind us, and most importantly perhaps being the candidate who is most likely to defeat Donald Trump, we think that some of these superdelegates who have now supported Hillary Clinton can come over to us," Sanders said.

He pointed to his lead in states like New Hampshire, where he beat Clinton by "22 points," and said that citizens in those states might urge their superdelegates to represent their votes at the convention.

"I think it is not unreasonable for the people of those states to say to their superdelegates, ‘hey, how about representing the people of our state and the outcome of the caucus or the primary,’" Sanders said.

Sanders told Maddow that the candidate with the most pledged delegates would "probably" be the nominee, but said that his ability to beat Donald Trump gives him an advantage over Clinton.

"I think I am a stronger candidate to defeat Trump than Secretary Clinton is, and I think many of the superdelegates understand that," Sanders said. "What I think is most important to all of the delegates, including the superdelegates, is that we have a candidate who will win and not allow Donald Trump to end up in the White House."

Sanders has run a grassroots campaign sustained by small donations and is not far behind Clinton in pledged delegates, which are awarded in proportion to the popular vote. Superdelegates, on the other hand, are party insiders who may choose support whichever candidate they choose.

Clinton currently has 1,139 pledged delegates and 467 superdelegates, while Sanders has 825 pledged delegates and 26 superdelegates.