Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign, he announced on Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the apparent Democratic presidential nominee.
“I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign,” Sanders told supporters in a livestream, saying he wished he could provide supporters with “better news” but “I think you know the truth.”
“We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path to victory is virtually impossible,” he said. Sanders called Biden “a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”
Calling the decision “difficult and painful,” Sanders said he had to make an “honest assessment of the prospects for victory.”
He added that he understands some supporters who want him to fight on through the convention, but he could not “in good conscious continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour” as the COVID-19 outbreak grips the nation.
He pledged to have significant influence over the party platform this summer, as he did during the 2016 convention. He pointed to policies like a $15 minimum wage, which has been picked up in some states and cities since he first began campaigning for it at the presidential level five years ago, as evidence that his progressive platform is winning.
In a conference call with staffers earlier Wednesday, Sanders thanked his team for its “extraordinary work.”
Biden released a lengthy statement on Medium after Sanders’ departure from the race, saying he “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.”
“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,” Biden said. “Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement. And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.”
President Donald Trump also tweeted soon after Sanders’ announcement was made public.
“Bernie Sanders is OUT!” Trump wrote. “Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!”
The Vermont independent senator’s 2020 bid started off strong. He narrowly missed first place in Iowa before picking up wins in New Hampshire and Nevada. All the while, his campaign continued to rake in millions in small-dollar donations and pack rallies full of supporters as he ascended to national front-runner status amid a crowded Democratic field.