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18 Mar, 2020 14:48

Bernie Sanders to ‘assess his campaign’ after spate of primary losses

Bernie Sanders to ‘assess his campaign’ after spate of primary losses

Bernie Sanders will be “having conversations” with his supporters to “assess” the viability of his campaign after Joe Biden racked up three more big primary wins in Arizona, Illinois and Florida.

Biden swept the board in Tuesday’s primaries, significantly expanding his delegate lead over Sanders and appearing to effectively wipe out the Vermont senator’s chances of a comeback.

The former VP crushed Sanders in Florida, leading by almost 40 points with most precincts reporting. Biden had similarly resounding victories in Illinois and finished the night by claiming victory in Arizona.

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In a statement on Wednesday morning, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said that the candidate would be “having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign” but for the moment he was focused on the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis and ensuring that the US “takes care of working people and the most vulnerable.”

There were no bright spots for Sanders on Tuesday night: he trailed Biden by around 100 delegates in Florida alone, and his favorables among Latinos failed to translate to delegates in Arizona, which has a large Hispanic population. Ultimately, Biden has expanded his delegate lead over Sanders to a point where it is increasingly implausible for Sanders to catch up before the Democratic National Convention, which is expected to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in mid-July.

Shakir also suggested, however, that any decision to suspend the campaign would not be rushed, noting that the next primary contest is “at least three weeks away.”

Sanders’ main rationale for remaining in the race may now be to retain a place on the debate stage from where he can attempt to push Biden toward the left on policy. This dynamic has already been effective to a certain extent. Just one hour before the pair’s last debate, Biden announced he was adopting a proposal to remove tuition costs for public colleges for families earning under $125,000.

Though more limited than Sanders’ plan to eliminate tuition and fees at two and four-year public colleges for students, regardless of income, such a move indicated an olive branch to Sander’s progressive faction.

It is likely that Sanders and his team are now preparing to rally Democrats to coalesce around Biden in accordance with the wider objective of defeating Donald Trump in November.

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