After falling behind Joe Biden after Super Tuesday on March 2, Vermont senator and self-proclaimed “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders ended his bid to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on April 8, leaving former vice president Joe Biden with a virtually certain path for the Democratic nomination.
According to CNN, Sanders described it as a very “painful and difficult decision.” But while still holding a wide base of support, the Vermont senator was more than 300 delegates behind Biden, leaving him with not many choices other than to admit defeat and suspend his campaign. While he said he did not have a realistic path to victory, he also told supporters he would remain on the ballot to earn delegates that would give him bargaining power over the party platform.
Former candidate and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg posted on Instagram an interview with The View, talking about how he had been in touch with Sanders.
“He was gracious as he always has been,” Buttigieg said. “Nobody can deny what a force he and his supporters are, and how important of a voice they’ve been.”
Many people are upset by Sanders’ decision, and some celebrities are furious with their fans for not voting. On an Instagram Live video, Cardi B told her followers that she was furious with them for not voting for Sanders, and now has to educate herself on Biden because “I do not want 45 to be president again.”
It hasn’t just affected celebrities; many McCallum students found themselves supporting Sanders after other candidates dropped out if they weren’t already supporting him when he first announced he would run again on Feb. 19, 2019. Some of his student supporters were able to vote, and others were not but they still held strong opinions.
“We all know Bernie would be better, but we have to do what we can with what we have,” sophomore and Democrat John Hamlet told The Shield. “We as a Democratic Party need to swallow our pride and vote Trump out.”
Throughout his campaign, as he did in 2016, Sanders was able to reach out and get the attention of many young people. He was more progressive than former vice president Joe Biden or current President Donald Trump and had much support from high school and college students, as well as other young adults.
“I feel like the country is stuck in the 1950s, and the reason I liked Bernie is because he is the voice for our generation,” sophomore Carrie Anne Murfin said. “He fights for equal health care, women’s rights (including pro-choice), taxation of the very wealthy, and he fights against anti-black laws, which are put in place specifically to target African-Americans.”
Seniors who were planning on voting for Sanders now have to make a choice between the former vice president and the current president or vote third party, and some aren’t a fan of any of the options.
“Trump and Biden are equally evil in my view,” senior Kien Johnson said. “Both are sexual predators, both have deteriorating health, and neither are getting my vote. They are morally bankrupt.”
Neither Biden nor President Trump have ever been convicted of sexual assault or harassment; however, on April 13 Time magazine published an article where former Senate staffer and aide to Joe Biden, Tara Reade, accuses him of sexual assault. This is not the first time Reade has accused Biden; last summer, although not saying he sexually assaulted her, Reade accused him of inappropriate touching.
Current president Donald Trump has faced more than 25 allegations of sexual misconduct. The Huffington Post has a list of women that have made and continue to make allegations against the current president.
Both Biden and Trump have denied the allegations made against them.
Both candidates also reject the notion that they are unfit physically to serve as president. Trump had a health examination in November, and according to BBC was in “very good health.” Biden released his medical assessment that reported him being “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”
Johnson continued to say that he will be voting for either a third party or a write-in candidate.
While Sanders supporters are upset about his decision to suspend his campaign, some people are happy about it. People have expressed that Sanders should have suspended his campaign weeks ago after he fell behind on Super Tuesday. Others never supported him due to their opposition to his idea of “democratic socialism” and a system of health care for all.
“The practices that Sanders suggested we integrate into our government have proven over time across the world to be destructive to the economy and corrosive to individual liberty,” said a McCallum student who asked that we not publish their name. “I have family in Brazil, for instance, a nation that has single payer health care for all citizens, and it is not good; the care is very basic and never progresses to international standard. The wait times for something as basic as a checkup could be months, surgeries (unless immediately necessary) usually have wait times of months or sometimes years; and with all this, taxes rose beyond reasonable levels. Bernie Sanders has told people that nations with single payer health care have better health care and don’t have to worry about the cost; this is not true. The level of care is wildly insufficient compared to here, and people worry about cost in the form of taxes rather than medical bills.”
The source wishes to stay anonymous because they don’t want to come into future conflict with people who hold different views and have different previous experiences.
LASA student and Liberator staffer Zoe Klein thought both Biden and Sanders had their own strengths but because she leans more towards socialism in terms of political ideology, she supported Sanders’ candidacy. Klein said she “always thought Biden had a more realistic chance of winning because he’s more moderate,” and that his “idea of healing before changing was really good.” Klein continued to say that “I think voting blue is very important this year, even if your preferred candidate isn’t on the ballot.”
In the 2016 election, Sanders lost the primary election to Hillary Clinton. Clinton went on to become the Democratic nominee but was unable to beat current president Donald Trump in the November election. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump won the Electoral College vote.
“Last election, the party didn’t unite behind Hillary, and we lost,” Hamlet said. “If we want a new leader, a better leader, we have to stop being selfish and vote for Biden.”
There is of course considerable debate, and political analysts have offered other explanations as to why the Democrats lost and why Trump won in 2016.
Will those same factors lead to a Trump reelection in November or will the red White House turn blue?
Even though he won’t be the nominee, Sanders and his supporters will have a large role to play in answering that question. And Hamlet hopes that Sanders will have a sustained role in American politics long after the current election cycle comes to a close.
“Bernie cares about the poor and helpless. Bernie cares about those who can’t help themselves,” Hamlet said. “In a world where the world doesn’t care about the vulnerable, Bernie did. We need people like him to fix the world.”
This story was originally published on The Shield Online on April 19, 2020.