A Bernie Sanders rally in Carson, Calif., drew thousands of supporters. (via Twitter)

Speaking Tuesday night at the StubHub Center at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif., Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders celebrated his victory in Oregon’s primary with a crowd of more than 8,000. An estimated 13,000 more gathered in an “overflow area” outside of the stadium.

Sanders spent little time dwelling on his Oregon success, however, preferring to speak about his campaign’s future. “It will be a steep climb, I recognize that, but we have the possibility of going to Philadelphia with a majority of the pledged delegates,” Sanders said. “Some people say that we’ve got a steep hill to climb to do that. And you know what? That is absolutely true. But you know what? Together we have been climbing that steep hill from day one in this campaign.”

Sanders also brought up the subject of recent polls that give him, not rival Hillary Clinton, better odds of beating Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, in the general election. “Whether a national poll or state poll, we do much better beating Donald Trump than Clinton,” Sanders said. “The Democratic Party wants to be certain that Donald Trump is defeated … we, together, are the campaign to do that.”

Most mainstream media outlets have been downplaying the Vermont senator’s win in Oregon and calling the Kentucky primary in favor of Clinton. Oregon Live explains:

The Associated Press still hasn’t called the Kentucky Democratic presidential primary race, even though Kentucky’s secretary of state says (unofficially) that Hillary Clinton won.

It adds that with 99 percent of precincts reporting, the candidates are just 0.5 percent apart. Although Sanders won Oregon “relatively easily,” the two candidates will split the state’s 74 delegates proportionally.

This means Sanders’ big win doesn’t significantly reduce his delegate deficit against Clinton. The Los Angeles Times notes that “former Secretary of State Clinton has 2,291 delegates to Vermont Sen. Sanders’ 1,528,” but Sanders has to “win about 90% of remaining delegates to overtake Clinton.” Clinton’s total includes 524 superdelegates, who Sanders believes should switch their allegiance to him.

Coming off of Tuesday’s success, Sanders said he is “beginning to like the West Coast.” The Sanders campaign is preparing for the final round of primaries on June 7, in which 546 delegates will be up for grabs in California alone. Sanders was scheduled to hold several other California-based events on Wednesday.

He spent much of his speech on topics of importance to California voters.

“We have a moral obligation to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders told the crowd. He also advocated for a tax on carbon.

On education, Sanders declared, “We need to make public colleges and universities tuition-free,” eliciting deafening cheers from the crowd. George Skelton recently noted in the Los Angeles Times that Sanders’ idea of tuition-free public college “is not loony”; in fact, he argues, California “did provide tuition-free college for generations.” This “helped California achieve greatness by broadening the middle class and providing opportunities for upward mobility not available in other states.”

Sanders also touched on building affordable housing and improving life in large cities. Los Angeles and San Francisco face crises owing to extreme rates of homelessness and unaffordable housing.

Sanders reminded the crowd of some of his other key issues: universal health care, prison reform, equal pay for women and LGBT rights.

Although tensions within the Democratic Party are rising to extreme levels, the Sanders campaign is not giving up. A win in California would not only increase his pledged delegate count, but, Sanders hopes, sway many Clinton-favoring superdelegates to “feel the Bern.”

—Posted by Emma Niles

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