Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he’s suspending his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination following a series of primary losses to former Vice President Joe Biden.
“We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible,” the 78-year-old senator said in an address to supporters Wednesday. “I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I’m announcing the suspension of my campaign.”
Sanders, one of two independents in the U.S. Senate, joined the race for the White House in February 2019, three years after he lost the Democratic presidential nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He had initially exceeded sky-high expectations about his ability to recreate the magic of his 2016 presidential bid and even overcame a heart attack last October on the campaign trail. But he found himself unable to convert unwavering support from progressives into a viable path to the nomination amid “electability” fears fueled by questions about whether his democratic socialist ideology would be palatable to general election voters.
Sanders said Wednesday that his decision was “very difficult and painful,” but necessary because of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic under what he called “the most dangerous president in modern American history.”
“As I see the crisis gripping the nation, exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership, and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, 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.
“If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, then we would continue. But it’s just not there.”
Sanders’ decision Wednesday made Biden to presumptive candidate to face off against President Donald Trump come November. The senator congratulated Biden on Wednesday, calling him “a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”
Once the Democratic Party’s front-runner, Sanders saw his strong lead evaporate as the party’s establishment lined up behind Biden. Among the former vice president’s supporters are several of his former rivals for the nomination, including former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
In an email sent Wednesday by Sanders’ campaign, the Vermont senator said he announced his decision to staff during a conference call earlier in the day, according to The Washington Post.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2020 Cox Media Group