There were primaries on Tuesday night where Biden cleaned up, but you’d barely notice amid the Coronavirus chaos that continues to reign. Parents and families dealing with no school for months, some families dealing with no paycheck right now. The fact that former vice president Joe Biden truly appears to have become the presumptive nominee, especially based on recent voting, seems to have sucked all the interested out of the Democratic primary.
With the primary nearly wrapped up based on simple math, and Biden continued a string of solid victories on Tuesday, the chorus calling for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to drop out is becoming louder and broader. As the Washington Post reports, however, Sanders sees some of the current chaos as a reason to stick it out longer:
RoseAnn DeMoro, a close friend of Sanders and the former head of an influential nurses union, said earlier Tuesday that the current social and political volatility is alone justification for Sanders to stick it out. “Anything can happen within the next several months, and he would be forfeiting his delegates if he got out,” DeMoro said.
After opting for a middle ground last week — neither exiting the race nor signaling it was full speed ahead — the senator from Vermont found his back against the wall once again Tuesday.
The rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis has forced Biden and Sanders to cancel rallies and other activities indefinitely. Before the widespread recognition of the pandemic’s seriousness, several Sanders allies expected him to closely consider dropping out if Tuesday’s results were disappointing, but the current landscape is throwing the usual calculations into question.
Sanders is calculating that with the current chaos affecting the primary, he should stay in to see what transpires. If he throws in the towel, Biden will take the nomination, most likely, without any further challenge. It will become a coronation. Based on recent voting, however, Sanders isn’t posing much of a further challenge even if he stays in the race. He is still accruing delegates even as Biden wins the top-line number in places like Arizona and Illinois, but he’s not impacting the race in a meaningful way like he was two weeks ago.
According to reports this morning, though, Sanders will be “assessing his campaign” over the “coming weeks.” Yes, weeks:
Bernie Sanders will “assess” his bid for the White House after getting thumped by Joe Biden in the latest round of primaries, his campaign manager said Wednesday.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away,” campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.
“Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” he added.
“In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring we will take care of the working people and the most vulnerable.”
Sanders is in a tough position where he, for several reasons, does not want to drop out, but he’s also facing a public health crisis around the country with states postponing primaries or holding primaries with a lack of volunteers and staff to operate them properly. Not to mention the question of whether voters will continue showing up if the nomination is all-but locked up for Biden and public gatherings are being either banned or strongly discouraged.
Bernie is not someone to be pushed around, and calls for him to get out will only intensify his desire to stay in and exit on his own terms, or simply never withdraw but let the primary play out and keep accruing delegates.
The calls, though, are getting pretty overwhelming:
Sanders is facing mounting pressure to swiftly exit the race amid a deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“His campaign is undeniably dead and voters will undeniably die if he doesn’t do the human thing and drop out now,” one top Bloomberg adviser told The Post.
Former rival Andrew Yang also called on Sanders to suspend his campaign for the sake of public health.
“At this point it’s not wise to encourage people to head to the polls,” Yang said on CNN on Wednesday morning.
If the Coronavirus issue wasn’t impacting everyday life and causing havoc all over the country, there’s no question that Sanders would stay in until the last vote was cast.
Under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem likely that the primaries can continue unaffected and that his campaign can continue without further enduring more and more intense scrutiny from public officials and some within his own party to call it quits for the good of the electorate.