Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee
Senator Bernie Sanders ended his presidential bid on Wednesday, making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in a general election campaign that will be waged against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanders initially exceeded sky-high expectations about his ability to recreate the magic of his 2016 presidential bid, and even overcame a heart attack last October. But he couldn’t convert unwavering support from progressives into a viable path to the nomination, with “electability” fears fuelled by questions about whether his democratic socialist ideology would be palatable to general election voters.
“The path towards victory is virtually impossible,” Sanders told supporters Wednesday. “If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination I would certainly continue the campaign, but it’s just not there.”
He called Biden a “very decent man” but didn’t offer an explicit endorsement of the former vice-president.
Sanders said his name would remain on the ballot in states that have not yet held primaries so he can gain more delegates and “exert significant influence” on the Democratic platform.
Biden, who is backed by much of the party’s establishment, told supporters at a virtual fundraiser that he had a “short conversation” with Sanders on Wednesday.
“He didn’t just run a political campaign. He created a movement,” Biden said. “That’s a good thing for our nation and our future. His campaign has ended, but I know his leadership will continue.”
Trump sought to foment the tension among Democrats by tweeting Wednesday that the party stacked the race against Sanders. The president said the senator’s supporters “should come to the Republican Party”.