|Staff Reporter |||Apr 09, 2020 03:26 PM EDT|
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It will be Joe Biden as the candidate of the Democratic Party that will face Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States on November 3 -- the potential return of COVID-19 notwithstanding.
Biden vs. Trump became inevitable after the only other candidate for nominee -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) -- ended his brave presidential campaign on Wednesday. Sanders had sought to bring to the United States his vision of social democracy. He strongly opposes economic inequality and is unwavering in his support for labor rights, universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, tuition-free public college education, and the Green New Deal that seeks to create jobs addressing climate change. All this is now history with Sanders' withdrawal from the race.
And, in a sign of these COVID-19 times, Sanders made his withdrawal announcement on Wednesday in a live-streamed video from his home in Burlington, Vermont instead of a gathering of his staff and supporters.
"I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth, and that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible," said Sanders said in the livestream.
"So while we are winning the ideological battle and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, 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."
In an address, Sanders said that his path to the nomination had become "virtually impossible." He also said the U.S. must stay focused on handling the COVID-19 pandemic as it sweeps the nation.
"I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work ahead of all of us," he said.
Sanders congratulated Biden, calling him a "very decent man," but not officially endorsing Biden. He said he'd keep his name on the ballot in all the remaining primary races to collect enough delegates to influence the Democratic Party platform.
Sanders' bowing to the inevitable now opens the door for the united Democratic Party bringing all its resources to bear to defeat Trump, and polls show they have a better than even chance of doing so. Sanders has always said he'd support Democratic nominee, no matter who it was.
In his withdrawal statement, Sanders said he didn't make the decision lightly, calling it a "very difficult and painful decision." Sanders lost the chance for the presidency in 2016 when he conceded to the eventual Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
"Over the past few weeks Jane and I, in consultation with top staff, and many of our prominent supporters, have made an honest assessment of the prospects for victory," he said. "If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign. But it's just not there."
Despite his surrender, Sanders can take pride in that some of the core ideas he's always fought for, especially ending social inequality in the U.S. and demanding universal healthcare, are now being taken-up by Democrats.
"Few would deny that over the course of the past five years, our movement has won the ideological struggle," argued Sanders. "It was not long ago that people considered these ideas radical and fringe. Today, they are mainstream ideas. Many of them are already being implemented in cities and states across the country."
Political pundits said Sanders will seek to influence Biden into accepting and implementing more of his democratic socialist ideas. They also, believe Sanders' decision to remain on the primary ballot to amass as many delegates as possible are part of an effort to exert significantly influence over the party platform at this summer's Democratic Party convention that will formally nominate Biden as the presidential candidate.
Biden keeps trying to win over Sanders' populist base, which he sees as critical to defeating Trump. He and Sanders spoke by phone Wednesday morning, with the latter explaining his decision to end his presidential campaign.
Biden called Sanders a "powerful voice for a fairer and more just America." He said Sanders' impact on the election is far from over and also made an explicit call for Sanders' supporters to join him.
"And to (Sanders') supporters I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You're needed," said Biden.
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