Despite pressure to quit, Sanders vows to continue race

Erica Werner
Associated Press

Washington – — Under mounting pressure from Democratic leaders to abandon his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders returned home to Vermont on Wednesday following dispiriting losses to Hillary Clinton. He vowed to fight on for a political revolution but showed signs he would bow to the inevitable and bring his insurgent effort to a close.

For Sanders, as his remarkable White House bid runs out of next stops, the only question is when. Just as important for Sanders is how to keep his campaign alive in some form, by converting his newfound political currency into policies to change the Democratic Party, the Senate or even the country itself, on issues including income inequality and campaign finance reform.

To that end the senator was to travel to Washington on Thursday to meet with President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and speak at a rally. Obama is expected to endorse Clinton as soon as Thursday after his meeting with Sanders, and Reid is prepared to discuss with Sanders how the self-described democratic socialist might advance his goals back in the Senate.

Neither Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump had public events Wednesday, both preparing for the next big hurdle between themselves and the White House — a five-month head-to-head race to November.

Clinton herself did tell the Associated Press in an interview: “I think it’s time that we move forward and unite the party and determine how we are going to defeat Donald Trump, which is our highest and most pressing challenge right now.”

She said of Sanders: “He has said that he’s certainly going to do everything he can to defeat Trump. I’m very much looking forward to working with him to do that.”

Ahead of Thursday’s meetings, Sanders’ Democratic colleagues were growing increasingly outspoken in nudging him to wind down his campaign and throw his support behind Clinton. However, most stopped short of calling on him to drop out right away.

“Let him make that decision. Give him time,” Vice President Joe Biden said.

Sanders promised to continue his campaign to the last primary contest, in the District of Columbia next Tuesday. But about half his campaign staff is being laid off, two people familiar with the plans said Wednesday.

Campaign snapshots

■Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion, refusing to commit to collecting even half that amount, and saying his campaign didn't need much money to win the White House.

Trump said he would rely instead more on his own star power as a former reality-TV personalityto earn free media, and has no specific goals for how much money his campaign needs

Hillary Clinton is opening her general election campaign against Donald Trump by accusing him of behaving like a “demagogue.” She likens his attacks on judges, the media, his opponents and their families to dark moments in world history.

The presumptive Democratic nominee in an interview with the Associated Press seemed to wonder during the interview whether Trump’s candidacy was little more than an elaborate political stunt.