Sanders exits presidential race, clearing path for Biden’s nomination

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“Bernie Sanders 2016” by photogism is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After an impassioned run, fueled by the idea of what could have been if the Democratic Party had chosen a different candidate in 2016, Bernie Sanders withdrew from the 2020 presidential race. The withdrawal of Sanders clears the way for a general election between, presumptive, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

In a live-streamed speech, Sanders cast his decision in the broader context of the coronavirus. The candidate stated that the resources used to fuel his campaign would be better utilized in the national effort to remediate the impacts of the, still spreading, pandemic. 

“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, adding, “While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.”

The Vermont senator, a democratic socialist, based his 2020 campaign on issues including a single-payer national health insurance platform – a.k.a. Medicare for All – and large-scale national energy sector reform. 

Sanders has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 2007 and, to date, has 100 percent approval ratings from Human Rights Campaign, League of Conservation Voters and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. While Sanders will not be a candidate in this year’s general election, these endorsements – and the liberal policies he proposed – made him a favorite amongst youth voters. 

Biden, the former vice president, can now pursue the Democratic nomination unopposed. However, he has struggled to present any distinct policy plans and, perhaps consequently, is still facing obstacles in regards to mobilizing a broad base of voters for the November election. 

Since Sanders left the race on April 8, reports have emerged that the Biden campaign has sought policy advice from the Vermont native’s team. This may symbolize a, somewhat unexpected, shift to the political left for the traditionally moderate Democrat. 

“I’ll be reaching out to you,’’ Biden wrote in a statement acknowledging the need to draw Sander’s base into his coalition. “You will be heard by me.”

“Together we will defeat Donald Trump. And when we do that, we’ll not only do the hard work of rebuilding this nation — we’ll transform it,” said Biden.

Still, many are skeptical of the candidate. Key criticisms against Biden include eight separate allegations of inappropriate touching, his support of the Hyde amendment which would ban federal funding for most abortions and a public statement made in 2008 where Biden called for a fence to be built along the U.S.’s southern border. 

Despite this, the list of public figures who have endorsed Biden is extensive and growing by the day. Prominent endorsements have come from former President Obama and Democratic senators who were previously in the 2020 Presidential race, including Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. 

Though the campaign cycle has been impacted by the coronavirus spread, it is expected that Biden will be named as the official Democratic nominee at the rescheduled convention during the week of Aug. 17, 2020.

Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

Sofia is a senior chemistry and communication major at William Jewell College. Currently she serves as the Editor in Chief of the Hilltop Monitor.

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