Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) seemingly suspended the Democrat presidential primary race after hanging on for more than a month after Biden surged into a delegate lead that most party leaders felt was insurmountable. “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,” he told his supporters.
But then, in a stunning twist, he announced that he’d stay on the ballot, keeping his delegates in an apparent effort to gain leverage at the Democratic convention. President Trump quickly pounced, noting:
“He’s going to keep his delegates and he would like to get more? That’s not dropping out…When you keep your delegates and you want more delegates before you get to the convention — that’s a weird deal going on there.”
Sanders has been re-evaluating his candidacy since Super Tuesday, when he lost enough states to give Joe Biden the delegate lead and frontrunner status. Still, Sanders was holding on to his place in the race until he notified his campaign staff in a conference call Wednesday morning that he was pulling out, the Hill reported.
The coronavirus outbreak made it impossible to have in-person rallies and sucked much of the energy out of the primary as the media focused almost exclusively on the outbreak and response.
Sanders struggled to get media coverage
Sanders found himself sidelined even more than Biden, although both have struggled to get media coverage.
With the postponement of many primaries until at least June, it would have been impossible for any candidate to get enough delegates to clinch the nomination until just before the rescheduled convention in August, according to the Hill.
Sanders said he would stay on the ballot for the remaining primary races so that he could exert influence on the party platform at the convention, the Hill reported.
“While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible to assert influence over the party platform and functions,” Sanders said.
Biden acknowledges Sanders “movement”
Biden said that Sanders’ candidacy “created a movement” that will continue to be important to the Democrat party going forward.
“He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement,” Biden said in an attempt to woo loyal Sanders supporters to his candidacy.
Biden credited Sanders with changing the national conversation on income inequality, universal health care, climate change and free college.
President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination and urged his supporters to come to the Republican party instead of supporting Biden.