Bernie Sanders Drops Presidential Bid
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who made two tries to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, ended his latest bid for the White House Wednesday, conceding he is too far behind frontrunner Joe Biden to catch up.
“I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I think you know the truth,” Sanders said in a broadcast livestreamed from Burlington, Vermont shortly before noon. “We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”
“I have concluded that this battle for the democratic nomination will not be successful, so today I am suspending my campaign,” he said.
Sanders’ announcement makes the former vice president the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in November.
Though Sanders was briefly considered the frontrunner as the primaries got underway, his campaign never recovered from Biden’s lopsided victory in South Carolina and the former vice president’s subsequent juggernaut in contest after contest.
As the votes were counted, Sanders’ problem appeared to be two-fold: his left-leaning politics were out of touch with mainstream Democrats, particularly the black voters who are a vital base for the party, and his supposed support among young, presumably activist voters never materialized.
After the coronavirus outbreak sidelined both campaigns, forcing them to hold virtual events, Sanders’ message grew weaker and weaker, inspiring increasing calls for him to exit the race and help unify the Democratic party for the general election battle ahead.
For his part, Biden did not join in those calls, but had already adjusted his sights on November and his eventual race against Trump.
In recent weeks he openly discussed possible running mates and he has repeatedly weighed in, critically, on the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
Sanders called his decision to drop out of the campaign, “very difficult and painful” and said if he believed he had any feasible path to the nomination, he would certainly have continued to campaign.
“I know that there may be some … who disagree with this decision, but as I see the crisis gripping the nation exacerbated by a president, unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign which would interfere with the important work required of all of us.”
Sanders did not endorse Biden, instead calling him “a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas.”
Sanders also went on to note that his name will continue to be on the ballot in the remaining primary states, and urged his supporters to continue to vote for him as “we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the platform.”
Shortly after Sanders spoke, Biden released a statement saying he knew Sanders had “put his heart and soul into not only running for president, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life.
“I know how hard a decision this was for him to make — and how hard it is for the millions of his supporters — especially younger voters — who have been inspired and energized and brought into politics by the progressive agenda he has championed,” Biden said.
He went on to say that by withdrawing from the race, Sanders had “put the interest of the nation — and the need to defeat Donald Trump — above all else” and said he’d be reaching out to his former rival in the weeks and months ahead.
“And to your supporters I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed,” Biden concluded.