Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is facing increased calls to drop out of the Democrat primary following his disappointing performance in the March 10 contests, as many media outlets and personalities deem his campaign as good as done.
Biden won the races in Mississippi, Missouri, and Michigan relatively early in the night. North Dakota, which offered the smallest prize of 14 pledged delegates, went to Sanders, and the race in Washington was still neck and neck as of Wednesday morning. The needle hardly moved overnight, with 67 percent of precincts reporting at midnight. That number remained steady well into Wednesday morning, showing Sanders up by less than half of a percentage point.
Regardless, media outlets across the board are declaring Sanders’ campaign over.
“Bernie Sanders is all but done,” a Politico headline read. Doug Herman, lead mail strategist for former President Obama’s presidential campaigns, told the outlet that Sanders’ loss in Michigan and the tight race in Washington serve as “daggers” to the Vermont senator’s campaign.
“They both cut arteries,” he said.
“The window is closing for Bernie. Losing states that he won last time in a scenario where he’s got a clean head to head is pretty damning for his candidacy,” he told Politico, adding that the results show that Sanders has failed to expand his base.
That much appears to be true. Sanders performed far worse in key states compared to his 2016 primary performances. He lost Missouri to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by just 1,531 votes. Tuesday’s results show him suffering a defeat by over 169,000 votes. Sanders also edged out Clinton in Michigan by half of a percentage point in 2016. This time around, he lost to Biden by over 16 percent.
“The Best Thing Bernie Sanders Can Do Is Drop Out,” a headline from the Atlantic read Wednesday morning.
“Sanders now faces a crucial choice,” David Frum wrote, contending that it makes more sense for Sanders to head back to the Senate to address the coronavirus and use it as an opportunity to advance his vision for Medicare for All:
He could respond creatively to the political and medical news. He could return to the Senate, and there use his high profile and his massive mailing list to lead the fight for a generous response to the epidemic—achieving, at last, the big legislative legacy that has until now eluded him.
BuzzFeed also acknowledged Sanders’ freefall, proclaiming that Biden is “squashing the revolution”:
The former vice president’s victories Tuesday in Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, and Michigan further weakened Sen. Bernie Sanders’ argument that he can build a winning coalition. And some who just two weeks ago were wrapping their heads around the prospects of fortifying Sanders in a fight against President Donald Trump are now pointing Sanders toward the exit.
Even Sanders’ allies have admitted that it was a “tough” night for the presidential hopeful.
“There’s no sugarcoating it. Tonight’s a tough night. Tonight’s a tough night for the movement overall,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told viewers in an Instagram live on Tuesday.
While she congratulated Biden on his wins, she offered a word of advice to champions of Sanders’ movement, warning them from allowing their hearts to “turn black.”
“And I think it’s important that if you’re feeling sad, you’re feeling down, let yourself feel that way,” she said. “But the number one rule in politics my opinion on organizing, in general, is to never ever ever ever let your heart turn black.”
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) also made waves Tuesday evening after stating that Biden “will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination” and calling for Democrats to effectively “shut this primary down.”
“It is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates,” he said.
Dear @BernieSanders: please don’t wait till after Sunday’s debate to drop out. I get the Hail Mary strategy…but to stand there for 2 hrs in last-ditch desperation & tear @JoeBiden & his policies apart will not help. Please do the right thing… #Biden #Bernie #SuperTuesday2
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) March 11, 2020
It’s time for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the Democratic primary. If he stays in, he’ll be nothing more than a nuisance candidate.
Looking ahead to March 17th, I don't see where Bernie will win. The math just isn't there and instead of prolonging this, he should drop out.
— Shermichael Singleton (@Shermichael_) March 11, 2020
It no longer matters if Bernie Sanders ekes out a win in Michigan.
He's getting blown out in Mississippi and Missouri.
This race is over. Period.
If Sanders doesn't want to drop out, he should at least pledge to stop weakening our presumptive nominee, Joe Biden, with attacks.
— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) March 11, 2020
Despite that, Sanders has shown no signs of dropping out of the race, at least this week. Nina Turner, national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, excitedly tweeted about the upcoming Democrat debate between Biden and Sanders.
“Day is Coming! #Bernie2020,” she wrote:
Debate Day is Coming! #Bernie2020 pic.twitter.com/5Sdi0bZNwu
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) March 11, 2020
The CNN-hosted debate, which will not feature a live audience or spin room, is slated to take place in Arizona this Sunday.
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