US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held a rally in Washington, DC on Thursday, with his supporters seeking to retain influence in the race despite Hillary Clinton having all but clinched the Democratic Party nomination.
Many Sanders supporters vowed to continue fighting for his ideals, even as they acknowledged they were not optimistic about his candidacy's chances beyond the party's national convention in July.
President Barack Obama met with Sanders earlier on Thursday, and the president later endorsed Clinton as the party's presumptive nominee.
Celia Byrne, 58, a Sanders supporter who attended the rally, said she hoped to ensure that "the policies and issues central to his campaign will still be advocated by the Democratic Party throughout the rest of the race."
"We’re out here to show that Hillary needs to take this side of the party seriously and not just take us for granted," Byrne said.
"She’s got to change some of her policies, whether it’s on the hourly wage or other things, to get us on her side," she added.
Scott Palmer, a leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, said Sanders should continue pushing for more action on issues like climate change and income inequality to help influence the convention platform.
"There’s a reason why it’s important for Sanders to stay in the race to go to the Democratic convention, even if he doesn’t get the nomination, and that’s to ensure that the liberal ideals his supporters are advocating for get heard," Palmer said.
"He’ll fight for what he believes in, and hopefully there will be other progressive voices that join the chorus and become leaders in their own right and advocate for these issues as well," he added.
Ben Dormas, an 18-year-old Washington, DC resident, said he is ready to get behind Clinton in the general election, despite many Sanders supporters pledging themselves as so-called "Bernie or Bust."
"There’s too much at stake with [Trump] running on the other side. We need a united Democratic Party to defeat a crumbling Republican Party and that means Bernie stepping out at some point soon," he said.
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