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Sanders' Supporters Were Disappointed By Michigan Primary Results

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bernie Sanders was hoping for a big night in Michigan. That didn't happen. NPR's Don Gonyea watched election returns with Sanders voters in Detroit, and he says, yes, they're disappointed, but they're not giving up just yet.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: They started rolling into the back room of the Anchor Bar downtown an hour before the last polls would close in the state. Cathy Montgomery is a retired social worker. She arrived expecting a celebration.

CATHY MONTGOMERY: I am very optimistic that Bernie Sanders is going to win the primary here in Michigan. Michigan is a working-class state, and Bernie has worked for working-class people his whole career.

GONYEA: Seated at a table nearby is Sanders campaign volunteer Ari Dalbert. He's from Brooklyn, N.Y. This is his first presidential election.

ARI DALBERT: I actually turned 21 yesterday. I was up here celebrating it canvassing for Bernie.

GONYEA: Early returns were popping up on the bar's giant TV screens tuned to CNN. As the numbers started rolling in, Dalbert was getting a bad feeling. Still, he was philosophical about it.

DALBERT: Look; this is a people's movement, right? We're building power. I've met so many great people here in the past few days. I've met hundreds and hundreds of people volunteering. This isn't the end, you know? We'll see what happens.

GONYEA: He does want Sanders to stay in the race. He said Joe Biden's fortunes turned around in just a week. Who knows what could happen in the weeks ahead?

Thirty-three-year-old Justin Onwenu is a community organizer from Detroit. He jokingly cried into his arm when I asked him about projections showing Biden winning Michigan. But he, too, said the campaign isn't over yet, even as he pondered what's next.

JUSTIN ONWENU: I think the values that Bernie Sanders has been fighting for - health care for all people, education for all people, making sure that people have access to clean air and water - those are values that I think can live on beyond this campaign cycle, beyond this moment.

GONYEA: There were certainly complaints in this room that the Democratic establishment is out to get Sanders or that there was something odd about how candidates dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden so quickly. Some saw it as sinister. Others were just frustrated by it all. There was lots of agreement that if Joe Biden is the eventual nominee, he'll have to work very hard to win over many of Sanders' devoted supporters.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, Detroit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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