U.S.

Clinton's VP Pick Must be Progressive, Sanders Warns

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders greets supporters after a campaign rally in Santa Maria, California, on Saturday. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Bernie Sanders has some advice with shadings of a warning for Hillary Clinton: Pick a running mate that reflects my values. 

The Democratic Socialist senator from Vermont addressed the vice presidential question during an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press that aired Sunday. 

"For Democrats to win, they're going to have to address the needs of the working people," Sanders said. "They're going to have to address the needs of the middle class, and that means standing up to Wall Street, standing up to the greed of corporate America."

Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination for president as the primary campaign enters its closing days. Both candidates have been spending much of their time in delegate-rich California, which votes June 7. Sanders, who started the race as a long-shot curiosity before exciting the progressive left and narrowing the gap with Clinton, has vowed to stay in the race through the Democratic National Convention on July 25. 

Clinton remains the presumptive nominee to face Donald Trump as she's 73 delegates away from securing the necessary 2,383 for the Democratic nomination, according to the Associated Press. But Sanders has made overt appeals to the superdelegates who remain in Clinton's corner but can swing their support—and possibly the nomination—to him.

Sanders said on Meet the Press that Democrats "are going to win the election" when they have a "candidate who can excite working families, excite young people, bring them into the political process, create a large voter turnout."

As polls show the race between Clinton and Trump tightening, Sanders' continued strength with progressives and independents poses problems for Clinton, should they heed the #NeverHillary calls and sit out the election—or worse—vote for Trump. If Sanders loses the nomination, speculation mounts as to what he would do, if anything, to bring his followers into Clinton's camp. He was clear Sunday: The former secretary of state needs an anti-establishment figure on the ticket.

"I would hope that if I am not the nominee that the vice presidential candidate will not be from Wall Street; will be somebody who has a history of standing up and fighting for working families; taking on the drug companies...taking on corporate America and fight for a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent," Sanders told Todd.

Democrats seemingly have the answer for a progressive vice presidential pick in Senator Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law School professor who made her national reputation fighting for financial protections for middle-class familes following the Great Recession. Although wildly popular with the base and a candidate that could excite Sanders' supporters, Clinton doesn't need Warren to win in Massachusetts or the Northeast blue states. Plus, there's always the danger of being upstaged by a running mate who was the recipient of widespread pleas to enter the presidential race herself. 

Clinton currently counts 2,310 delegates—1,769 pledged and 541 superdelegates, who can change their support if they wish. Sanders stands at 1,542 delegates—1,499 pledged and 43 superdelegates. California, which awards delegates proportionally, will send 475 delegates to the national convention. California was once seen as a relatively easy win for Clinton but polls have tightened as the candidates' campaigning intensifies. 

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