by Alaina Fox
After a campaign noted for bold policy proposals and attempts to increase turnout among young voters, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced on Wed., Apr. 8, that he was ending his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, acknowledging that former Vice President Joe Biden had the greatest chance of winning.
A Democratic Socialist, Sanders holds radically left stances, which led some Democrats to worry about his ability to sway centrists on both sides of the political spectrum in his favor. Though his Medicare for All policy garnered the most publicity, Sanders vehemently supported the Green New Deal, cancellation of student loan debt, free opportunities for higher education, federal legalization of marijuana, free childcare and pre-kindergarten classes, and higher taxes on wealthy citizens, especially the richest 0.1 percent of Americans.
Beyond his stances, conflict with other Democratic candidates hurt Sanders’s campaign. For example, according to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Sanders claimed that the American public would not support a female candidate for president. Then, as other candidates dropped out and urged their bases to support Biden, Sanders found that the difference in their numbers of delegates had grown too large to overcome. Sanders admitted in a livestream, “We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path to victory is virtually impossible.”
Sanders had anticipated that dropping out of the race would become necessary, and he planned to continue to push for his goals through collaboration with Biden. Voicing his agreement with Sanders on the desired outcomes of his presidency, Biden responded to Sanders ending his campaign, declaring, “Income inequality, universal health care, climate change, free college, relieving students from the crushing debt of student loans… while Bernie and I may not agree on how we might get there, we agree on the ultimate goal for these issues and many more.”
Sanders’s withdrawal has eliminated Biden’s competition, setting the stage for a general election between Biden and Trump. However, despite claiming that he “will work with [Biden] to move our progressive ideas forward,” Sanders will attempt to gain more delegates by staying on the ballot in states with upcoming primary elections. His objective in remaining on the ballot is to gain greater influence within the Democratic party and to continue advocating for various progressive causes.
Though COVID-19 currently dominates headlines and the public eye, debates between Trump and Biden will soon rise to the forefront of political discussions as the general election approaches.
(Sources: NYT, On the Issues, Medium, NBC, berniesanders.com, Wall Street Journal, 538, ABC News)