The 2020 presidential race has been full of twists and turns, but the path just got a lot more straightforward. On April 8, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his 2020 presidential campaign, clearing the way for former Vice President Joe Biden to take the Democratic nomination. Sanders reportedly announced his decision in a call to staffers ahead of a public livestream. While Sanders had been trailing Biden in polls and primary contests around the country, he still had a large and devoted base — and these tweets about the end of Sanders' campaign show they just weren't ready for this.
In a live-streamed speech on April 8, Sanders thanked his supporters who donated, phone banked, and came to rallies. "Together, we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of country this can become," he said. Sanders, one of two remaining candidates in the race as of early April, has been viewed as the progressive option, with Biden viewed as more moderate. In the speech, he referenced campaign stances like universal health care and raising the minimum wage, as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. "If we don't believe we are entitled to health care as a human right, we will never achieve universal health care," he said. He said, however, he couldn't "in good conscience" continue a campaign that could not win in the middle of the pandemic.
His departure from the race left many progressive supporters heartbroken and disappointed.
It was Sanders' second stab at the presidency after losing the 2016 Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During that race, Sanders remained technically in the running much longer, waiting until June (when Clinton secured the majority of delegates needed to win the nomination) to effectively back out. In 2020, he was considered an early frontrunner and won primaries in nine states before ending his campaign. His departure leaves Biden, the only remaining candidate, as the presumptive nominee.
In his speech, Sanders said he would stay on the ballot in states still holding primaries, but suggested Biden would be the nominee. Many states have postponed their 2020 primary elections due to the requirements to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. On April 2, the Democratic National Committee announced the party's 2020 convention, where the presidential nominee would be confirmed, has been postponed to the week of Aug. 17, 2020.