Bernie Sanders drops out of the 2020 presidential race (mostly)

Bernie Sanders speaks during LULAC’s Loteria night at The Mill. Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on Wednesday he is suspending his 2020 presidential campaign. Sanders’ withdrawal from the race leaves Joe Biden as the only active candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth,” the Vermont senator said in a video message to his supporters. “And that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden, and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”

Sanders said that although his campaign was “winning the ideological battle, and we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful.”

Bernie Sanders hugs a supporter during a rally at the Iowa Memorial Union. Friday, March 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

“I know that there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision, who would like us to fight on till the last ballot cast at the Democratic convention,” Sanders said. But the nationwide emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, “exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership,” means “I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win, and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.”

Sanders said making sure the federal government’s response to COVID-19 “protects the health and economic well-being of the working families of our country, not just powerful special interests” will be his focus in the coming months.

Bernie Sanders rallies on the Ped Mall, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

But that doesn’t mean the senator will stop trying to reshape the Democratic Party.

“I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates,” Sanders said. “While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”

Sanders called Biden “a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.” He called on his supporters to “stand united” with other Democrats to defeat Donald Trump. But Sanders also reminded them that there is more on the ballot in November than the presidency.

“We will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government, from Congress to the school board,” he said.

Sanders told his supporters to keep organizing and fighting for social and economic justice.

“While the path may be slower now, we will change this nation,” he said. “And with like-minded friends around the globe, change the entire world.”

Stacey Walker and Sen. Bernie Sanders during a recording of the Political Party Live podcast at Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College, June 7, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2020 College Campus Tailgate Tour on the Pentacrest. Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village
Sanders supporters caucus at South East Junior High in Iowa City. Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

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