The 78-year-old Senator from Vermont is ending his campaign to become the Democrat nominee for President in the upcoming 2020 election.
Sanders broke the news to his campaign staff on Wednesday morning during a call, after it was becoming increasingly clear that he was set to once again fall just short of the Democrat nomination. The Coronavirus has shut down much of American life and severely prohibited Sanders’ ability to revive his campaign. Sanders had progressively lost ground to his rival, front-runner and former Vice-President, Joe Biden, well before the virus significantly altered American life for the worse.
While some might argue Bernie is suspending his campaign way too early considering the Wisconsin contest is still underway and there are still a further 26 contests to play for, such as New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut where the 78-year has historically done very well. The race is running away from the Senator and has been for a long time. While he made a very strong start winning two of the first three contests, compared to Biden’s zero, Sanders has only been able to win seven contests since losing to Biden in New England and northern states of Maine and Minnesota. These are key states the former independent needed to win if he had any hope of toppling the party favourite, considering his consistent unpopularity in the south. However, with a total of nine contests won and 7.7 million votes compared to Joe Biden’s 19 and 10.1 million votes, in reality, it was really a question of when he would be making way, not if.
Bernie’s two attempts to become Democrat nominee and President of the United States in 2016 and 2020 have propelled this relatively unknown Senator to national fame and stardom. It was only five years ago that a small number of journalists joined him on a lawn in Washington where he explained he would be running for the highest office in the United States and indeed the world so that his vision and agenda was properly articulated. Since then, he has raised over $200 million in campaign funding, largely through small individual donation, won over 20 million votes, won 32 primary contests and spoke to thousands of people in various states. This is a truly unprecedented achievement considering he joined the Democrat party in 2015 and competed against the universally known, well-established and funded former first-lady of Hillary Clinton and former Vice-President, Joe Biden.
Nevertheless, while it looks likely that the 78-year-old will not become President, the effect he has had on US politics will be seen for generations to come. Sanders has been able to motivate and politically engage hundreds of thousands of young Americans from a vast variety of backgrounds. He has formulated a successful Presidential campaign not funded by big money or business or Super PACs, and clearly inspired those of the ‘radical wing’ of the party such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to run in the House of Representatives. While 2016 and 2020 have shown that the US is not ready for a ‘radical’ President yet, Bernie’s Campaigns have started the normalisation process of what were once thought to be radical policies such as free college education, a $16 trillion ‘Green New Deal’, Universal Health Care, the breaking up of Big Tech companies and heavy regulation of Wall Street.
While the ‘moderates’ have won the Democrat nomination once more. Bernie Sanders and his followers will be hoping that Biden goes one step further than Clinton in 2016 and adopts a running-mate which reflects Sanders’ views and agenda. His proposals have doubtlessly shifted the Democratic Party more towards the left than perhaps ever before.