Bernie Sanders Drops Out of 2020 Democratic Primary Race

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont suspended his presidential bid on Wednesday, essentially handing the nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Today I am suspending my campaign. But while the campaign ends, the struggle for justice continues on," Sanders tweeted.

"As you all know, we have never been just a campaign. We are a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-generational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down but always from the bottom on up," Sanders said in a virtual address to supporters. "While this campaign is coming to an end, this movement is not."

The senator also congratulated Biden, calling him a "very decent man" and vowing to work with him to move progressive ideas forward.

"Together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump," Sanders said.

Sanders had been running on high after securing a trio of primary victories in the early voting states. The senator won the popular vote in Iowa, finished first in New Hampshire and came out nearly 20 percentage points ahead of his next closest competitor in Nevada.

But the dynamics of the race then changed drastically after former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped out and endorsed Biden for the Democratic Party's nomination.

The former vice president later emerged as the Democratic frontrunner after his make-or-break win in South Carolina in late February. He built off that momentum to sweep 10 of the 14 states in play on Super Tuesday on March 3. His campaign dealt a humbling blow to Sanders in the races that followed, garnering victories in states that the Vermont senator had won in 2016.

Biden continued his electoral sweep during the March primaries, cementing his delegate lead. The success capped off a historic comeback victory for the vice president in what is now his third presidential run. Biden is only the second candidate in modern history to become the nominee after losing both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Speaking to supporters after his primary wins on March 17, Biden urged for unity within the Democratic Party. He argued that he and Sanders "may disagree on tactics" but share a common vision on issues like affordable health care and combating climate change.

"Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought a remarkable passion and tenacity to all of these issues. Together they have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country," Biden said via live-stream from his home in Delaware. "So let me say especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Sen. Sanders, I hear you. I know what to stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal is as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party, and then to unify the nation."

Before his departure, Sanders took a final swing at Biden during a Democratic debate in Washington D.C. He tore into Biden's decades-long Senate voting record, holding the former vice president to account over his history on Social Security cuts to the Defense of Marriage Act.

The two also disputed over Medicare for All, Sanders' signature health care proposal. Biden argued that this wasn't the time for a "political revolution" but Sanders, citing the coronavirus pandemic, claimed that now is the perfect time to address the issue.

"Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. We got people who are struggling, working two or three jobs to put food on the table," Sanders said. "What's going to happen to them?"

But Sanders promised that if Biden won the Democratic nomination, he would support him in the general election against President Donald Trump.

"If I lose this thing, Joe wins—Joe, I will be there for you," Sanders said.

Trump responded to Sanders' exit via Twitter on Wednesday. He attributed his downfall to Senator Elizabeth Warren and encouraged his supporters to join the Republican Party.

"Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!" the president wrote.

This is a developing story and more information will be added as it becomes available.

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders addresses a campaign rally at Grant Park Petrillo Music Shell in Chicago, Illinois, on March 7, 2020. Kamil Krzacynski/Getty