The senator had a series of poor showings in Democratic primaries around the country, ending hopes for a progressive challenger to President Donald Trump.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ended his bid for the White House on Wednesday, effectively handing the Democratic nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden and ending hopes that a progressive challenger would take on President Donald Trump in November.
Sanders announced the news on a conference call with campaign staffers, and then tweeted about it later Wednesday morning.
“Together we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become,” he said in a livestream to supporters. He thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of campaign volunteers, crediting them with being able to “run a major presidential campaign without being reliant on the wealthy and powerful.”
The senator was seen as a front-runner in the Democratic race, surging to the top of the polls before a series of poor showings on Super Tuesday and subsequent primaries in March. After a series of big losses to Biden, all campaigning virtually ground to a halt due to social distancing restrictions put in place to help ease the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many leading Democrats and onetime candidates had thrown their weight behind Biden after ending their own bids, including former mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.); and billionaire Mike Bloomberg. The support for his competitor left the Sanders campaign reeling with limited options to secure enough delegates going into the Democratic National Convention, which was delayed until August because of coronavirus.
By late March, Sanders acknowledged that his path to the Democratic nomination was “narrow,” but he still insisted he still had a shot and even called for an April debate.
Biden rejected the suggestion, saying that the time for debate was over.
“I think we should get on with this,” he said at a March 25 news conference.
Biden had pitched himself as the most electable candidate, and polls showed that Democrats were, indeed, primarily interested in finding a candidate who could take out Trump ― even if they didn’t agree with that person on every issue.