Bernie Sanders formally suspends presidential campaign

With less than 7 months before the US election, and 4 months before the DNC selects their candidate, the Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders has formally suspended his campaign on Wednesday 9 April. Despite being an early front-runner, the Sanders campaign began to lose momentum on 3 March – also labelled ‘Super Tuesday’. Since then, however, his campaign has ended up sitting just over 300 delegates behind the front-runner, which led to the conclusion that “the path toward victory is virtually impossible”, Mr Sanders explained as he thanked supporters via livestream.

As one of the two last candidates in the race, Sanders, standing as a progressive, gained no support from those who dropped out beforehand, even from other self-described progressives such as Elizabeth Warren. Other candidates including Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, however, have supported Sanders’ rival, Joe Biden, following their own departure from campaigning. With this support, former Vice President Joe Biden, only gained momentum as each primary vote took place. Being the only candidate to not have suspended campaigning, Biden is the favourite to take the Democratic nomination. As Barack Obama’s Vice-President, Mr Biden certainly has experience having served in the White House. Though he has himself admitted he will need a running mate who can ‘take over immediately’ if need be, saying himself that he’s ‘an old guy’. Despite critic’s concerns, it would appear Biden’s path as Democratic nominee is going to be politically seamless from this point on.The progressive movement in the United States no longer has a major candidate on the ballot paper in November. But for progressives to view this election cycle as a total loss would be to ignore how unique both the Democratic race and the Sanders campaign have been. The race saw candidates such as the billionaire, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took to paying Instagram accounts to spread his campaign, as well as Andrew Yang and his slogan of ‘Make America Think Harder’. Both saw wide media focus only to receive 55 and 0 delegates (of the 3,979 available) respectively, displaying how even money and a catchy slogan aren’t as effective as in recent terms. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was just as unique as the tactics and slogans noted. He showed that an “unprecedented grassroots campaign” can fund someone as a serious Presidential candidate, Sanders having refused all donations from billionaires. In his statement made to his supporters on 9 April, he made it clear that his support base and the campaign “has had a profound impact in changing [the United States]”. Despite the 2020 election now having a similar landscape to 2016, there is a base, even if at grassroots for political change in the US.

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Joseph Saul

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September 2021
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