“I wish I could give you better news but I think you know the truth,” Bernie Sanders told supporters Wednesday, announcing the end of his White House bid. The senator acknowledged that he is 300 delegates behind Joe Biden, making victory “virtually impossible,” CNN reports. He said he did not want his campaign to interfere with efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. “I see the crisis gripping the nation,” Sanders said in a livestream from his Vermont home. “I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere in the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.” More:
- “We are winning the struggle.” Sanders thanked his supporters and said his movement had won the “ideological struggle” over the last five years, moving his policies from the fringe to the mainstream. “We transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice,” he said. “Please also appreciate that not only are we winning the struggle ideologically, we are also winning it generationally,” he added, noting that he won a majority of votes from people under 50.
- He congratulates Biden. “If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign. But it’s just not there,” Sanders said. “I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”
- Staying on the ballot. Sanders said that while he has suspended his campaign and Biden will become the nominee, he will remain on the ballot, Politico reports. Sanders said he will collect delegates for the Democratic National Convention, “where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform.”
- Statement from Biden. Biden, now the presumptive nominee, had nothing but praise for his former rival. “Bernie has 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. So, 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,” he said in a statement. “Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement.”
- A “tragedy.” The end of Sanders’ campaign is “a tragedy, because he was right about nearly everything,” from his calls for a health care overhaul in the 1970s to his warnings about profiteering drug companies today, writes Elizabeth Bruenig at the New York Times. Sanders “is not and never has been a liar,” she writes. “His remarkable consistency over time, his notorious bluntness and his open disdain for sycophantic politics are all simply manifestations of that one critical fact. It made him an awkward fit for Washington, and it built him a movement.”