Bernie Sanders Won’t Drop Out

Even amidst a national crisis, he refuses to do the right thing.

Despite Joe Biden’s unbroken string of victories starting with South Carolina and it being all but mathematically impossible for him to catch up, Bernie Sanders intends to continue his quixotic campaign. It’s time for the Democratic Party to stop humoring him.

WaPo (“Bernie Sanders Plans to Participate in Next Debate, Campaign Says“):

Senator Bernie Sanders plans to participate in the Democratic presidential debate in April if one is held, his campaign said on Tuesday, the strongest indication yet that he plans to continue competing against Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 primary for the foreseeable future.

The Democratic National Committee has said previously that there would be a debate in April, but one has not been scheduled. The committee has not announced a media partner or a site host — critical elements that are typically agreed upon at least a month in advance. The coronavirus crisis has already upended most facets of the Democratic primary, and there is no guarantee that the debate will take place.

Still, the fact that the Sanders campaign is signaling, for now, that he would be on a debate stage in April is a strikingly public sign of the Vermont senator’s determination to wield political influence and challenge Mr. Biden for primacy despite the former vice president’s nearly insurmountable delegate lead.

“Senator Sanders is still running for president,” said Mike Casca, a top campaign official. “If there is a debate in April, he plans to be there.”

Holding additional debates, let alone additional in-person primaries, during this pandemic would literally put lives at risk. Given that there is no offsetting necessity, they therefore shouldn’t be held.

Frankly, I’m not sure there would be any value to more debates even notwithstanding the COVID-19 outbreak. Biden should be focused like a laser on defeating President Trump, not a nuisance candidate to his left.

The party should not host another debate this cycle. If it does, Biden should decline the invitation. Let Sanders rant all he wants.

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Allows him to keep talking. His strong suit. It isn’t like he is taking time away from being a Senator. It’s all he has been doing for decades. All talk.

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  2. Kit says:

    I can imagine some real good coming out of another debate. If the country is not ready to lend a sympathetic ear to how health care has failed the nation, then the issue really is a lost cause, and so are we. Bernie could make his case one last time, Biden could make some rhetorical gestures in that direction, and then Bernie could toss in the towel and give his full-throated support to the next president of the United States! That could be a powerful moment, but only if Bernie is willing to play ball. If not, then the Democratic National Committee should just wrap things up and move on. I think most of us will understand.

    Psychologically, I can imagine the old curmudgeon thinking that fate, in this late hour, is calling out to him like never before. The prize somehow slipped through his fingers just one month back. But suddenly here’s the whole rotten world in meltdown when only he has the answer. A powerful film will come out of this some day. And I’m eager to start my nostalgia for a guy I never really liked. But he needs to leave the stage first. And now is probably the time. Still,that debate stage would make for a hell of an ending to the film…

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  3. mattbernius says:

    And it’s behavior like this that leaves very little doubt in my mind that Sanders did in fact tell Warren that he didn’t think a woman could beat Trump — if for no other reason than because he feels he’s the only one who can win.

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  4. @Kit: Understanding that I am in favor of truly universal health care in the US, I am not sure how Covid-19 is a great basis for Sanders trying to sell MFA.

    MFA would not have stopped the virus from coming, nor would it have prevented its spread. MFA would not have guaranteed more tests nor more ventilators nor more hospital beds.

    Apart from a health crisis allowing for the subject of health itself to be front and center, I don’t see this as a great moment for Bernie to make MFA arguments.

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  5. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Apart from a health crisis allowing for the subject of health itself to be front and center, I don’t see this as a great moment for Bernie to make MFA arguments.

    I imagine that we will hear about plenty of people who were too afraid to get tested and/or receive care because of fear of the hospital bill. And others who did the right thing and were thrown into bankruptcy as a result.

    Apart from that, I think the health crisis is a key issue of Biden and democrats, and a well-intentioned debate would serve the party’s interest. I’ll admit to being out of my depth here, but I feel that Biden should stay visible until the presidential debates begin.

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  6. DrDaveT says:

    SARS-CoV-2 is a pandemic, but Bernie Sanders is endemic.

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  7. @Kit:

    Apart from that, I think the health crisis is a key issue of Biden and democrats, and a well-intentioned debate would serve the party’s interest.

    To be honest, I think a singular candidate’s voice would far better serve the party’s interests at the moment.

    Debate just leads to more division in the party and does little to advance actual policy outcomes.

    Indeed, the only route to any policy outcome is to defeat Trump in November and to have a shot at the Senate while retaining the House. A divided party makes that less likely, not more.

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  8. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    To be honest, I think a singular candidate’s voice would far better serve the party’s interests at the moment.

    This.

    The longer Sander’s stays in with no path to the nomination, the longer it will take for his supporters to come back into the fold. Not to mention the higher the chances of a repeat of 2016 conspiracies about the DNC screwing Sanders out of the nomination.

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  9. Kathy says:

    Mr. Sanders, this is not the time to get people to go out to vote for a lost cause.

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  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Despite the denials from the Bernie-crats, those who accused Bernie of being the flip side of the Tiny coin were right. Bernie is a narcissist as well, just not as flamboyant as Tiny.

    I suspect some Bernie-phile will make the argument that he needs to stay in the race on the chance that Joe suffers a debilitating medical issue. This is pretty self-serving and in the end, a likely futile argument. If Joe can’t serve, the Dems will likely vote to throw the convention open. If that occurred, don’t be surprised if the candidate became Andrew Cuomo. Covid-19 has made him a bit of a rockstar.

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  11. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Debate just leads to more division in the party and does little to advance actual policy outcomes.

    I guess I am failing to get this across, but I see any debates more as theater: keep the spotlight on Biden (how else is he to stay in the public eye in the coming months, especially now that traditional campaigning has ground to a halt?), and maybe heal some rifts in the party.

    I’m certainly not claiming the Bernie would play along, simply that I think it would work well if he did/could.

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  12. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius:

    The longer Sander’s stays in with no path to the nomination, the longer it will take for his supporters to come back into the fold. Not to mention the higher the chances of a repeat of 2016 conspiracies about the DNC screwing Sanders out of the nomination.

    Sanders did a lot more to lose the Democrats the 2016 election than the Russians or Comey did.

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  13. Erik says:

    This just adds evidence to my contention that if Bernie can’t be president he truly DNGAF who is.

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  14. mattbernius says:

    As much as I don’t try to share the NY Post, I think this is relevant to the conversation:

    Bernie Sanders skips coronavirus stimulus vote for campaign event https://t.co/pKqDWOdySl— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) March 25, 2020

    And people wonder why he has so few legislative achievements and a lot of his colleagues take issue with him…

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  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    …the longer it will take for his supporters to come back into the fold.

    Sanders supporters are not coming back to the fold. Democrats who prefer Sanders may come back, but I’m not even sure how many of them will. But Sanders supporters were not part of the Democratic fold to begin with. Sanders isn’t a Democrat; there’s no particular reason to think that his supporters are either.

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  16. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    FWIW, I should note that was a procedural vote and Sanders did vote for the final package (much to the chagrin of a number of his supporters).

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  17. Mister Bluster says:

    a procedural vote…

    Glad you noted that as I did hear Senator Sanders this AM on the radio say he had voted for the bill. I did not hear him say that he would suspend his campaign and unite with Joe Biden and work for the defeat of the diseased creature in the Oval Office.
    I fear Sanders is too egotistical to make that pledge.

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