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Bernie Sanders supporters plotting path forward after primaries

By
Eric DuVall
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Baltimore on Saturday. Sanders trails in polls in the state ahead of its primary on Tuesday. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Baltimore on Saturday. Sanders trails in polls in the state ahead of its primary on Tuesday. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO, April 23 (UPI) -- The array of liberal groups that have come together to support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders are beginning to plot a course forward in the event he does not win the party's nomination.

Much like the candidate himself, the groups have not conceded defeat to front-runner Hillary Clinton, but NBC News reports several groups are planning a meeting in Chicago sometime in June, after voting has ended, to explore ways to continue the "political revolution" Sanders has sought to create with his campaign's message assailing income inequality.

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Past liberal challenges for the presidency have created similar issues-oriented groups in the wake of political campaigns that created the underpinning of organizational work needed to become effective advocacy groups.

MoveOn.org was born of Democrats who were angry over the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

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Another Vermonter, former Gov. Howard Dean, mounted a liberal challenge in 2004 that had much in common with the one presently supporting Sanders. Dean was able to raise significant amounts of cash from individual supporters online. When his insurgent campaign faltered against the establishment-backed campaign of then-Sen. John Kerry, Dean converted his campaign apparatus, Dean for America, into a political group Democracy for America. The group continues to support liberal candidates a decade later and has raised $4.8 million in 2016 to do so.

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The groups supporting Sanders are planning a two-day "People's Summit" in Chicago once the primaries have concluded. Charles Lenchner, co-founder of the group People for Bernie, which has its roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement, said those who support Sanders are eager to continue their fight, even if Clinton becomes the party's nominee.

"This is a collection of groups that share a lot in common and want to work together in the future and who represent a significant portion of the coalition that has come together around Bernie Sanders," Lenchner said.

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Though Clinton holds what many regard as an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, the Sanders campaign has said they believe they still have a viable path to winning the nomination. Various delegate counts have shown Sanders would need to win about three-in-four of the remaining delegates to overtake Clinton. Given the party's proportional awarding of delegates, Sanders would need to score huge victories in the remaining primaries to win upwards of 70 percent of the remaining delegates.

Sanders had won seven nominating contests in a row in mostly smaller states headed into Tuesday's New York primary. The candidate had hoped that momentum would help him score an upset victory over Clinton in her adopted home state, but no such surprise materialized. Clinton won a commanding share of the vote and polls show she is poised to do so again on Tuesday, when five state in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast cast ballots.

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In the wake of her big New York win, Clinton has let up on attacks against Sanders, mindful she will need to win back his supporters in a general election. The lighter touch was evident during a Clinton event Thursday on the topic of gun control. During their debate prior to the New York primary, Clinton hammered Sanders for his opposition to some anti-gun measures.

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During Thursday's event she only mentioned him by name once and kept her focus on the gun control measures she supports.

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