Sometimes a candidate can do everything right and the odds just aren't in their favor. Such was the case on Tuesday night when, after a hard-fought election battle, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed to concede the overall victory to rival Democrat, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton early, barely waiting until the first few states were in to address his supporters. True to character, of course, Sanders's Super Tuesday speech was moving as ever, encouraging voters to keep pushing forward in the hopes that subsequent elections might prove more fruitful.
"Thank you, thank you," said Sanders, amidst a wave of "Feel the Bern" cheers. "This campaign—as I think all of you know—this campaign is not just about electing a president, it is about transforming America. It is about making our great country the nation that it has the potential to be."
Prior to Tuesday, Sanders's camp seemed to have largely accepted its fate, lagging behind Clinton in most major polls and states by an an average of 30-40 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics aggregate. In places like, Massachusetts (where Sanders trailed Clinton by just under 7 percentage points), Vermont (where Sanders led Clinton by a whopping 75 percentage points), and Oklahoma (where Clinton led Sanders 43 to 41 percent — a spread of just 2 percentage points), the Vermont senator potentially stood to steal a respectable number of delegates, but even then, it wasn't nearly enough to be considered a sweeping victory.
Naturally, Sanders handled it all with ease, even taking the time to crack a few jokes with supporters early in the day, according to Politico. "I will tell you after a lot of thought, I voted for me for president," Sanders quipped, taking a selfie with a supporter in Burlington, Vermont, where he and wife Jane had just cast their ballots.
To Vermont voters, who overwhelmingly voted for Sanders in what was projected to be a landslide victory, Sanders delivered a few especially touching words at a campaign rally early in the night. "On a personal note, I want to thank all of you for the love and the friendship that you have given our family," Sanders told a crowd in Essex Junction. "You have sustained me."
You win elections through a strong grassroots effort. Thank you, Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota and Vermont. pic.twitter.com/MpiCPzDcRK
Sanders' words on Tuesday, though curiously timed, were especially encouraging to voters who felt the media had already dismissed the Vermont senator's progress — and considering that those same, grassroots supporters are the ones who have propelled him this far, it was a smart move.
Read the full transcript of Sanders' statements below: