US ELECTIONS

Clinton looks to rally Sanders supporters

With Washington under her belt, Democratic presumptive nominee now hopes to win over rest of the party

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.Andrew Harnik / AP

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Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee to the White House, won the Washington, D.C. primary on Tuesday. The contest was purely nominal since Clinton had already surpassed the number of delegates she needed to clinch the nomination last week, but the victory puts more pressure on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race and unite the party behind Clinton.

The former secretary of state won 79% of the votes in the capital and now has 2,784 delegates while Sanders trails her with 1,877. Clinton closes this primary season with 34 victories over Sanders, including eight of the last 11 contests. The two candidates held a private meeting in Washington on Tuesday night that lasted more than an hour and a half.

Over the last year, the progressive senator has shown his ability to draw the support of a large sector of the Democratic Party and thus forced Clinton to back more progressive measures than expected. Though there is no mathematical equation that will result in a nomination for Sanders, he has said that he will challenge his rival at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Both camps said they had a “positive” meeting during which they examined the best ways to increase voter participation

Sanders’ success in the primaries has earned him a seat at the table where he can help determine the party’s platform even if he is not the nominee, his campaign says. The senator may try to push Clinton to adopt his campaign promises, promises that mobilized millions of voters, including a minimum wage increase, election law reforms and tougher restrictions on Wall Street.

In a statement, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said: “Sanders and Clinton agreed to continue working to develop a progressive agenda that addresses the needs of working families and the middle class and adopting a progressive platform for the Democratic National Convention.”

Both camps said they had a “positive” meeting during which they examined the best ways to increase voter participation in elections and talked about “the dangerous threat that Donald Trump poses to our nation.”

Over the last week, despite the fact that President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the more inspiring voices on the US left, have endorsed Clinton, Democratic Party leaders have shown a good deal of patience with Sanders. They recognize the importance of his campaign. If Clinton becomes the official Democratic nominee, she will need to rally Sanders voters in order to win the White House.

According to his campaign, Sanders will address supporters on Thursday night to announce his next step.

English version by Dyane Jean-François.

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