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Bernie Sanders Isn’t Dropping Out. Is It the End of His Political Revolution–Or the Beginning?

Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The Democratic primaries are over. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive presidential nominee.

Bernie Sanders still isn't dropping out.

Bernie Sanders still isn't dropping out?

Bernie Sanders still isn't dropping out!

And he hasn't endorsed Clinton either. In fact, he's signaling at something bigger.

What's up with Bernie?

Let's quickly recap Bernie's week:

- Tuesday was the final Democratic primary, in Washington DC. With record high turnout for a primary in DC, Hillary Clinton won with 80% of the vote.

- The two candidates met privately afterwards. He still said "nah" to endorsing her, but the two discussed shared goals.

- Last night, Sanders held an online teleconference for his supporters--and for anyone else curious--to tune in for a campaign update. Many suspected he'd drop out. He did nothing of the sort.

He said that his political revolution must continue, and compared it to other social movements:

"Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end. They continue every day, every week and every month in the fight to create a nation of social and economic justice. That’s what the trade union movement is about. That’s what the civil rights movement is about. That’s what the women’s movement is about. That’s what the gay rights movement is about. That’s what the environmental movement is about. And that’s what this campaign has been about over the past year. That’s what the political revolution is about and that’s why the political revolution must continue into the future."

So what's Bernie doing now?

A meme about Bernie's refusal to drop out.

A meme about Bernie's refusal to drop out.

He shared a few reasons why he's continuing on:

1. To stop Donald Trump

Democrats--along with many independents and even some Republicans--are united in their desire to keep the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, from becoming president. Sanders is on board with #NeverTrump.

He says he will join Clinton to stop Trump's popularity leading up to the election:

"The major political task that 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."

It's not clear whether he'll ever endorse Clinton, but he says he wants to help bring Trump down.

2. To improve the Democratic party platform

Sanders wants to be more involved in the Democratic platform.

He wants to see if he can infuse his progressive mission into the Democratic policies and goals:

"I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda."

Sanders could have more say in crafting this year's Democratic agenda and platform as it is crafted for the national election.

3. To change the Democratic party itself

Sanders also says he's wants to push the Democrats to embrace its working class roots and reject special interests:

"I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life."

4. To help other progressives get elected

Sanders also emphasized the importance of people who share his views getting involved in politics at the state and local levels--and even running for office:

"I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level. Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress."

5. To inspire young people to go into public service

Finally, Sanders spoke about the pressing needs in America to do things like fix our infrastructure, improve our education system, shift to clean energy:

"In other words, we need a new generation of people actively involved in public service who are prepared to provide the quality of life the American people deserve."

How are people reacting?

Basically, it was a concession-style speech, but it wasn't that, and he barely mentioned Clinton except to say that he had just met with her, that they agree on some issues and disagree on others, and that he hoped to work with her.

Some people don't understand.

And some are giving him some serious side-eye.

Many are ready to move on to the general election.

And others are #StillSanders.

What's really going on here? Well, recently his wife, Jane Sanders, said they'd start their own organization if Bernie lost. This could be the start of it. Possibly Sanders is working on taking the "political revolution" to the Democratic convention and beyond in some concrete way.

Before this speech, we knew he was taking his campaign to the very last primary in Washington DC, but now we don't know if or when it's ever going to end. But #OurRevolution goes on.

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Bernie Sanders Isn’t Dropping Out. Is It the End of His Political Revolution–Or the Beginning?

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a freelance international news reporter, having contributed to The Atlantic online and Mic. He's worked at CNNMoney, the New York Daily News, and Voice of America. Patrick loves tweeting, reading, and grabbing coffee in either New York or Washington D.C. Tweet anything on politics or world conflict to him! Follow: @patrickdehahn.

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