And then there was one. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont suspended his campaign this morning, setting up a head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump for the presidency.
In a livestream on his website, Sanders said ‘few would deny that over the past five years, our movement has won the ideological struggle.
‘The future of this country is with our ideas.’
Sanders will remain on the ballot during all remaining primaries and continue to gather delegates in order to influence the Democratic policy platform. Biden will now be uncontested at the Democratic National Convention, which has been pushed back a month to August. That’s if it happens at all.
Since Biden’s surge in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday early last month, Bernie’s presidential bid had morphed into more of a pressure group, first attempting to push the former vice president to the left on key policies, then mobilizing to fundraise for efforts against the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown caused several primaries to be delayed. Controversially, Wisconsin pushed ahead with its vote yesterday, with a depleted number of voting officials and social distancing enforced at polling locations. The timing of Bernie’s withdrawal likely factors in the public safety risks of asking citizens to vote during a pandemic.
Avid Bernie supporters will undoubtedly be disappointed. Many of them won’t be enthused by the prospect of campaigning for Biden, who voted for the Iraq War as a senator and has struggled to make it through a stump speech or media appearance without bungling a line or misremembering an anecdote.
Someone interview this person today please pic.twitter.com/jHfNPS2SGr
— Spencer Neale (@Spencer_Neale) April 8, 2020
Donald Trump was rapid in his response, tweeting ‘Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!’
Directly addressing Sanders supporters in a statement, Joe Biden said, ‘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.’