Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders isn't ready to give up on his presidential campaign. On the same day President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail for the first time to help bolster support for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Sanders' campaign was getting ready to hold a massive rally in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Sanders' campaign permit application for the event estimates up to 40,000 people will show up for the rally scheduled to be held at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in Philadelphia on July 24. In all, 10 applications for pro-Sanders protests, marches and demonstrations have been filed with the Philadelphia mayor's office for the week of the convention, where Clinton is expected to officially be declared the winner against Sanders in the Democratic primary.
Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said in June Sanders would deliver a "victory statement" at the planned July 24 rally, but he declined to comment further when reached by reporters Tuesday.
"The planning for the Philadelphia convention is still in the works," Briggs told USA Today in an email. "Happy to let you know when details are nailed down."
The pro-Sanders events include multiple "March for Bernie" demonstrations and a "Black Men for Bernie" rally on July 27-28. The rally seeks, "to address economic inequality, human rights, poverty, criminal justice reform and lack of ownership," according to the city’s permit approval document.
"We are heavily encouraging Bernie to lead that march," Sanders supporter Bill Taylor, who is helping to organize the demonstrations, told local reporters.
Sanders has been reluctant to concede in the Democratic primary after Clinton won the most states and overall votes. She also picked up pledges of support from a higher number of superdelegates, key Democratic officials who can vote for whoever they want regardless of which candidate voters in their state choose at the ballot box.
Sanders, who opposes global trade deals and backs Wall Street reform and free higher education, has said he wants to keep fighting for change even if he doesn't make it to the White House. His refusal to fall in line and back Clinton comes even as other progressive leaders in the Democratic party have declared support for the former secretary of state and first lady, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who at one point championed Sanders' economic proposals.
"His persona has been as a fighter, and he probably feels this is his last shot on this kind of stage. I’m not clear either on how important the specific goals are to him, but it seems important to him not to be seen as rolling over," New York Times reporter Toni Monkovic wrote about Sanders' campaign in June.
But many Democrats have already moved on to get ready for a general election fight against Republican Donald Trump. Obama heaped praise on Clinton at a North Carolina rally Tuesday.
"There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary, ever, and that's the truth," he said.
The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for July 25-28. More than 4,000 delegates are expected to attend the event at the Wells Fargo Center.