Sanders Drops Out of Presidential Race


Jake Risch, reporter

Bernie Sanders announced that he would suspend his 2020 presidential campaign. This decision came a few weeks into the growing Coronavirus pandemic where the worsening outbreak has upended the primary elections. The outbreak has delayed primary elections and the DNC convention, drastically reduced voter turnout, and stopped all in person events and campaigning.

During a live-streamed speech from Burlington, Sanders thanked his supporters, his two million individual contributors, his campaign staff, and his volunteers. He continued to press the issues that he has built his campaign on: universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage and providing better working conditions, college education for all, and an aggressive fight against climate change.

Sanders’ ideas have often been criticised, but since his 2016 presidential campaign, support grew for his ideas, such as Medicare For All. As of Dec. 2019, according to a KFF Health poll, a majority of Americans supported it, although that number shrank since late February, when Sanders began to lose momentum in the primary race. Sanders mentioned how the current Coronavirus crisis has exposed the short-comings of the employer-based healthcare system.

In his speech, Sanders mentioned his high support among younger voters. According to 538 polling data, the majority of his support comes from voters under the age of 45. He went on to talk about the the economic hardships plaguing millions of American families because of the Coronavirus. Sanders mentioned that a response from Congress must help working-class Americans and not just wealthy individuals. Sanders promised that in the coming months, he would put in an enormous amount of work in his Senate position to achieve such a response.

In the final minutes of his speech, Sanders addresses the state of his campaign. He said that although he was winning the ideological battle, his path to victory in the democratic primary had become “virtually impossible”. Sanders held a little over 300 delegates behind the democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.  He said he had to make a “difficult and painful decision” about the future of his campaign. 

“I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win,” Sanders said, “and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.” At the end of the 15 minute address, he returned to the core of his campaign with a hopeful message saying, “the fight for justice is what our campaign has been about, the fight for justice is what our movement remains about.” Sanders affirmed his determination and declared to his crowd of virtual viewers, “let us go forward together, the struggle continues.”

Five days after Sanders left the race, he endorsed Biden. In a joint live-stream appearance, the two projected an unmistakable message of Democratic party unity. Biden has run his campaign on the message that he was the only candidate who could win in a general election against President Donald Trump and with Sanders and the progressive wing of the party behind him, Biden has his best chance so far to win. Bernie showed his support for a Biden presidency, saying that he would do “all that I can to see that that happens.”