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Bernie Sanders Has Left the 2020 the Presidential Race

bernie sanders campaigns in vermont.

Vermont Senator and progressive icon Bernie Sanders is officially out of the presidential race, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the last man standing and presumptive Democratic nominee.

Sanders outlasted many candidates, and for a brief moment in February, thanks to wins in New Hampshire and Nevada, even claimed frontrunner status. The Senator’s progressive proposals and platform drew young voters and fierce support, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Biden surge that started in South Carolina and continued into Super Tuesday, as other moderates dropped out and endorsed the former vice president.

Sanders famously stayed in the 2016 primary against Hillary Clinton for a protracted fight, one that many feared might lead to a contested convention. It seemed for a while like that would be the case this year, as well, but with primary elections postponed with coronavirus making voting a dangerous prospect for many, and his path to the nomination possible but highly improbable, Sanders conceded defeat.

In what he called a “difficult and painful discussion,” Sanders shared that he could not in good conscience continue his campaign during this crisis with such a narrow path to victory. He spoke directly to his supporters and outlined how important his policies continue to be, and his hope that he can continue to shape the platform of the Democratic party, as he will remain on the ballots.

While, in 2016, Sanders was a progressive outlier, many of his policies were popular among other Democratic candidates, including medicare for all. His chief progressive rival was Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who for a time led Sanders in the polls this year, but faltered when the voting began.

Sanders had strong support among young voters, and in 2020, he expanded his support among Latinx voters, but he was never able to capture the support of Black Americans, who overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden in the contests thus far. In early March, Sanders also suffered a defeat in Michigan, a state he won handily against Clinton in 2016. These factors led many to question his path to victory, a question which has now been answered.

Supporters and former rivals used social media to thank and acknowledge Sanders’ campaign.

For those that are disappointed in this development, which is completely understandable, Sanders supporter Ilhan Omar has a message.

Ever classy, Donald Trump wasted no time dancing on Sanders’ grave and blaming Elizabeth Warren for his defeat (a false claim).

Let’s hope that Donald Trump’s glee over this can serve as a reminder that while Biden and Sanders weren’t terribly close in their policies, they were far closer than Biden and Trump, and that it’s a serious leap from “medicare for all” to “healthcare for none.”

Sanders’ political career is not over, and his influence will continue to be felt both in the Democratic party and through his work in the U.S. Senate. For now, this gives the party a long time to unite and work to take down Donald Trump in the general.

(via: NBC News, Image: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.