Courtesy of Rolling Stone
By Jessica Fetrow
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, known for his progressive socialist platform and ideals, announced the suspension of his presidential campaign early Wednesday, making former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election. This is Sanders’ second time losing the Democratic primary nomination, having lost against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth,” said Sanders in the opening moments of his announcement. “We are now some 300 delegates behind vice president Biden, and the path towards victory is virtually impossible.”
In his announcement, delivered via livestream, Sanders emphasized that this decision was not made lightly, and that, “while this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.”
At one point considered a potential front-runner, Sanders’ momentum came to a gradual halt after a less than stellar turn out at the polls, beginning in South Carolina. Sanders struggled to earn the support of older black voters, especially in Southern states, a detrimental loss for his campaign. Sanders had been hesitant to drop out of the presidential race, despite intensified pressure from fellow Democrats in order to unify the party under a single candidate.
A prominent figure with the younger voting demographic, many Catholic University students have expressed their disappointment with Sanders’ decision, but not many have expressed their shock.
“I was frustrated when I heard the news earlier, but not really surprised,” said sophomore politics major Tyler Farrar. “I think Bernie learned from the mistakes that cost the Democrats the election in 2016, and he’s been working hard for the past month or so to ensure those mistakes aren’t repeated even if he wasn’t the nominee. Joe Biden, unlike Hillary Clinton, is well aware that he needs to win Sanders’ voters to take the election and that’s something I find very encouraging.”
Several students have also expressed their dismay with the Democratic National Committee, citing disconnection from a younger, more progressive voting audience.
“I’m super grateful to Bernie and his campaign for the tireless efforts they dedicated to the progressive movement, however I’m deeply disappointed that the DNC has, for a second consecutive election cycle, failed voters across the nation,” said senior computer science major Julia Ma. “The entire primary process has left millions of voters, particularly those in the younger generation, feeling disenfranchised and disconnected from their own party.”
As another presidential campaign of Sanders comes to a close, several of his long-time supporters, such as junior politics and anthropology major Regina Brennan, who participated in a CNN live televised town hall program with Sanders last March, expressed their immense pride for Sanders and all of his work.
“At the end of the day, it’s this confusing mix of heartbreak and pride to have been a part of something so meaningful and so beautiful and to not see it to its full end,” Brennan said.
Regardless of this political loss, Brennan remains hopeful with the prospects of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“What people need to understand about the Democratic party is that it is a big tent party of big ideas. It will be impossible to find a candidate who fully and truly represents everyone who identifies with left-policies and politicians,” Brennan said. “I have hopes for a Biden campaign, and knowing how dangerous the demagoguery of the current president is, I will be supporting him moving forward. If I learned anything from Bernie Sanders the last five years of supporting him, it is that it will never be about the politician, but what they believe in.”
The Democratic National Convention is expected to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 17, 2020, despite calls by Joe Biden for a virtual convention in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.