Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is suspending his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.
The news of his departure from the race clears the path for former Vice President Joe Biden to win the nomination, and to run against President Donald Trump in November’s general election.
Sanders, in a message to his supporters on social media, thanked those who backed his campaign.
“I want to express to each of you my deep gratitude for helping to create an unprecedented grassroots political campaign that has had a profound impact in changing our nation,” Sanders said.
Sanders, who ran as a self-described democratic socialist, expressed appreciation to volunteers and financial contributors for showing “the world that we can take on a corrupt campaign finance system, and run a major presidential campaign without being dependent upon the wealthy and the powerful.” Sanders also noted the average contribution to his campaign was $18.50 per donation.
Today I am suspending my campaign. But while the campaign ends, the struggle for justice continues on. https://t.co/MYc7kt2b16
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 8, 2020
The Vermont senator acknowledged the realities of where things were going for him as a candidate in the weeks ahead. “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth,” Sanders said, adding, “the path towards victory is virtually impossible.”
The decision was “difficult and painful,” Sanders said but also reminded supporters that the movement for which he stood for was not done yet.
While his campaign has been suspended, Sanders announced he plans to remain on future state primary ballots in order to gain delegates at the Democratic National Convention in August and win influence over the party platform.
Sanders also described his opponent, Joe Biden, with whom he disagreed vigorously on a number of subjects during several primary debates, as a “decent man.”
Biden, in a tweet made shortly after Sanders’s announcement, reciprocated with praise for the Vermont senator.
“I know Bernie well. He’s a good man, a great leader, and one of the most powerful voices for change in our country,” Biden said.
I know Bernie well. He’s a good man, a great leader, and one of the most powerful voices for change in our country. And it’s hard to sum up his contributions to our politics in one, single tweet. So I won’t try to. https://t.co/Z6OkCDWFNm
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 8, 2020
In a Medium blog post, Biden elaborated on his thoughts on Sanders’s run.
“Senator Sanders and his supporters have changed the dialogue in America,” Biden wrote. “Issues which had been given little attention — or little hope of ever passing — are now at the center of the political debate. Income inequality, universal health care, climate change, free college, relieving students from the crushing debt of student loans. These are just a few of the issues Bernie and his supporters have given life to.”
Several people on social media shared positive things about Sanders, including presidential candidates who had dropped out of the race before him, and many voices from the left:
.@BernieSanders is an extraordinary leader. From health care to climate change, his campaign drove the conversation around what's in the best interests of working families. We must continue that spirit and ethos as we work to unite the party to defeat Trump.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 8, 2020
Thank you @BernieSanders, for fighting so relentlessly for America’s working families during this campaign. Your fight for progressive ideas moved the conversation and charted a path for candidates and activists that will change the course of our country and party.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 8, 2020
Bernie is suspending his campaign but his efforts advanced many ideas our nation must embrace from health care as a right to ending the nightmare of crippling college debt.
I look forward to continuing to work with @BernieSanders in the Senate for true justice for all.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 8, 2020
For what it’s worth, Bernie’s legacy is secure. To the crass corporate culture, which cares little of its devastating wake, Bernie said “fuck you.” He won in the best way you can win, with his integrity intact. https://t.co/ElvoMts6iE
— Chip Franklin (@chipfranklin) April 8, 2020
Point is that Sanders displayed more attn to down-ballot candidates (I don't mean congressional, I mean things like judges and prosecutors) during his campaign than is typical from national candidates. Warren did too, in fact. If progressives want to build power, these matter.
— Taniel (@Taniel) April 8, 2020
Notably, President Donald Trump also weighed in on Sanders’s departure, though his remarks appear to be intended to stoke divisions among Democrats more than acknowledge the contributions of the former candidate.
“This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco,” Trump wrote. “The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!”