Senator Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday, clearing Joe Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination and a showdown with President Donald Trump in November, CNN reported.
“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,” Sanders said in a livestream after a call with his campaign. “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.”
Sanders’ exit caps a stunning reversal of fortune following a strong performance in the first three states that voted in February. The nomination appeared his for the taking until, on the last day of February, Biden surged to a blowout victory in South Carolina that set off a consolidation of moderate voters around the former vice president.
The contest ends now as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which halted in-person campaigning for both Sanders and Biden and has led many states to delay their primary elections, CNN adds.
Sanders added he did not make the decision lightly, describing it as a “very difficult and painful decision.”
“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. If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign. But it’s just not there,” he said.
Sanders’ departure from the race is a big blow to progressives, who rose up during and after the 2016 campaign and commanded the Democratic Party’s Trump era debates over issues like health care, climate change and the effects of growing economic inequality.