Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign


Sanders speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa.

Graham Kanwit, Website Editor

After a whirlwind campaign of both unpredictable victories and losses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign. With Sanders’ exit from the race, former Vice President Joe Biden is all but guaranteed the Democratic nomination, effectively ending the party’s primary four months early.

There are several likely reasons Sanders dropped. Though Sanders spent several weeks as the clear frontrunner in the race after a tie in Iowa and a victory in New Hampshire, a last-minute comeback by Joe Biden on Super Tuesday began to turn the tide of the race. Sanders’ campaign was all but defeated in March with large losses to Biden in states such as Michigan and Florida.

The end of Sanders’ campaign marks the (likely temporary) resolution of an internal power struggle in the Democratic Party’s leadership between the moderate, traditionalist wing and the more progressive wing of the organization. With Biden as the effective nominee, the party will likely move in a more moderate direction going into the general election.

On the eve of Super Tuesday last month, many moderate Democrats dropped out to clear the field for Biden, such as Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. These moderates cited party unity as a main factor. Though Sanders is from the party’s progressive wing, party unity may have been one of his motivations for exiting the race as well, as calls to consolidate the Democratic electorate have ramped up dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Though Sanders has exited the race, it is unlikely his platform will go away entirely; the candidate built a strong core following of young, liberal voters advocating for universal healthcare and environmental issues. Even as the presumptive nominee, Biden will need to take these issues into consideration as he prepares for the general election against President Donald Trump in November.

“Focusing on that new vision for America is what our campaign has been about and what in fact we have accomplished,’’ Sanders said in a campaign suspension announcement Wednesday morning reported by The New York Times. “Few would deny that over the course of the past five years our movement has won the ideological struggle.”