Bernie Sanders Has Ended His Bid For US Presidency
Senator Bernie Sanders has ended his presidential campaign, clearing the way for former vice president Joe Biden to capture the Democratic nomination and challenge President Trump in November.
The Vermont senator announced his decision to campaign staff before delivering remarks on a livestream.
"I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth," Sanders told supporters, adding that "the path towards victory is virtually impossible."
"I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will be unsuccessful," Sanders continued, calling it a "difficult and painful decision."
Sanders alluded to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that continuing his campaign would "interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour."
Sanders said the virus "has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is."
However, Sanders emphasised that he would not stop fighting for political change.
"While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not," Sanders said.
He congratulated Biden, calling him a "decent man," and conceded he will win the nomination, but declined to endorse him outright.
Instead, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in states that have yet to hold primaries, hoping to rack up more delegates so that his supporters, and his policies, will be able to influence the party platform at the Democratic convention.
Sanders thanked his supporters for making a "profound impact in changing our nation."
"Together we have transformed the American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become," Sanders said.
He argued that ideas such as Medicare for All and raising the minimum wage had gained traction in mainstream Democratic politics, proving "our movement has won the ideological struggle."
Sanders adopted a sad but positive tone as he informed his staff about his decision before his remarks, according to an aide on the call.
"The struggle goes on. This was never about Bernie Sanders, this was always about the movement," the aide said.
In a statement following his announcement, Biden praised Sanders, saying he and his supporters "have changed the dialogue in America."
"Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn't just run a political campaign; he's created a movement," Biden said.
"And make no mistake about it, I believe it's a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That's a good thing for our nation and our future."
Biden said Sanders "doesn't get enough credit for being a voice that forces us all to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if we've done enough," and made a direct appeal to Sanders' supporters.
"I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You're needed," the former vice president said.
"Together we will defeat Donald Trump."