Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday, barely a month after he fell from frontrunner status in one of the fastest collapses in the history of the modern primary system.
Sanders was the frontrunner after finishing in a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses and then winning the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses. But the Democratic party quickly coalesced around former Vice President Joe Biden, fearful that Sanders’ positions and his label as a “Democratic socialist” would doom the party in November. Biden easily won the South Carolina primary Feb. 29 and then most of the states the following week on Super Tuesday.
“The path toward victory is virtually impossible,” Sanders told supporters in an online video Wednesday. “So while we are winning the ideological battle, and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful.”
Today I am suspending my campaign. But while the campaign ends, the struggle for justice continues on. https://t.co/MYc7kt2b16— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 8, 2020
Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, called it “a very difficult and painful decision.” The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, underscored his need to drop out.
“I know that there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision,” he said. “... But as I see the crisis gripping the nation, exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership, and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win, and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.”
Sanders called Biden a “very decent man” and pledged to work with him to “move our progressive ideas forward” and to defeat President Trump, who Sanders called “the most dangerous president in modern American history.”
Still, Sanders urged his supporters to continue voting for him in order to “assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic Convention,” where “we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael Ciaglo/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.