Sanders Does the Right Thing

He has ended his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Via CNN: Bernie Sanders drops out of the 2020 race, clearing Joe Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination

Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday, clearing Joe Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination and a showdown with President Donald Trump in November.Sanders made the announcement in a call with his campaign staff, his campaign said.

Presumably, whatever data he received from yesterday’s vote in Wisconsin were enough to dissuade him of any more thoughts of a miracle comeback.

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. senyordave says:

    The optimist in me likes to think that he called Biden, offered support, and Biden promised him a voice on some of his pet issues like MFA and student debt. And in return Bernie will tell his supporters to work there ass off for the Democrat in November, because we now know many thousands of people will die because we have a horribly unfit person as president. Hopefully all but the most strident Berniebro will see the light.

    12
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I stated yesterday, on another thread, that Sanders staying in the race exacerbated the voting/risk problem in Wisconsin.
    The other side of this is that, hopefully, Sanders remaining in the race drove turnout high enough to win the Supreme Court Seat away from Republicans.
    Yes…it is allegedly a “non-partisan” race. A “non-partisan” race in which incumbent Justice Kelly, appointed by Scott Walker and endorsed by Trump, is running his campaign out of the Wisconsin Republican Party Headquarters.
    It would be a huge shot in the arm for Democracy if the challenger, Judge Karofsky, could pull off this win in spite of all the Republican efforts to suppress the vote. When the SCOTUS is telling people they are going to have to risk their lives in order to vote for you, you know you are fighting an uphill battle.

    10
  3. Scott F. says:

    @senyordave:
    I like your optimism. Biden has already shown a willingness to adopt some progressivism into his positions with his endorsement a few weeks ago of Elizabeth Warren’s plan to reform consumer bankruptcy laws to include relief of student loan debt. I’ve always thought that Obamacare was designed to move incrementally toward universal healthcare coverage, so if Sanders can be openminded enough to take what he can get instead of his maximal wishes, he could get some movement from Biden as well.

    7
  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @senyordave:

    And in return Bernie will tell his supporters to work there ass off for the Democrat in November

    There shouldn’t have to be a quid pro quo…the Bernie Bros SHOULD work their asses off for Biden, no matter what.
    Should Biden adopt some of Sanders issues/views that would be good.
    But it shouldn’t be requirement in return for saving the Nation.
    The very idea smacks of Sanders egotistical personality. Fuq that.

    9
  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’m glad Bernie took this action. It no doubt was a very difficult decision for him personally and he gets kudos from me for making it.

    5
  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    Bernie’s as much a narcissist as Trump, but he’s not a malignant one, he’s not the moral and intellectual black hole that Trump is. He does actually care about issues, he just hasn’t got a clue how to get to where he wants to go. Hint: old man yelling at clouds is not the way to build a coalition. Old man disciplining his asshole followers (a minority, one hopes) and motivating all his people to beat Trump, is.

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  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I hope I’m wrong, and I’m definitely going to vote for Biden myself, but I’m not convinced Biden can actually win. Biden just seems completely past his “sell by date” to me, and I think the party is shooting itself in the foot by its insistence on not moving on to younger leadership. Hopefully he’ll win anyways, but I’m just not sure, and I think a younger more dynamic nominee would do much better than Biden.

    10
  8. Jon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    the party is shooting itself in the foot by its insistence on not moving on to younger leadership.

    You mean the voters who, given the option of voting for younger leadership, voted for Biden.

    16
  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jon:

    You mean the voters who, given the option of voting for younger leadership, voted for Biden.

    Is Trump a good nominee just because a lot of voters, given the option of voting for someone else, voted for Trump?

    2
  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jon:

    And I’d note I haven’t gotten to vote yet. But I guess it doesn’t matter that I have absolutely no choice at all because I’m not a “real American” like people in Iowa, so my evaluations of candidates are necessarily less worthy than theirs.

    3
  11. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “The very idea smacks of Sanders egotistical personality.”

    He just did the right thing which, for all that it seemed inevitable to you and me, must have been incredibly difficult for him.

    Maybe we can stop kicking him for one day? You can start boiling the tar tomorrow. Today a little decency.

    10
  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jon:

    Also, I’d recommend the Jon’s of the world to check out the psychological research on the Ultimatum game someday, because the one thing both Biden and Sanders supporters seem to have in common is that they seem to think they don’t have to worry about people doing something irrational purely out of spite.

    1
  13. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “I think a younger more dynamic nominee would do much better than Biden.”

    It’s hard not to agree with that — but so much of his vote is going to be votes against Trump that this may well matter less than it normally would. To paraphrase a famous Louisiana political slogan, “Vote for the dotard, it’s important.”

    8
  14. @Stormy Dragon:

    Is Trump a good nominee just because a lot of voters, given the option of voting for someone else, voted for Trump?

    From the point of view of a nomination process, he was a great nominee because he was able to go on and win the election.

    18
  15. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Is Trump a good nominee just because a lot of voters, given the option of voting for someone else, voted for Trump?”

    I’d say the only metric for determining whether or not someone was a “good nominee” is whether he wins. In that case, Trump was.

    9
  16. @Stormy Dragon:

    And I’d note I haven’t gotten to vote yet. But I guess it doesn’t matter that I have absolutely no choice at all because I’m not a “real American” like people in Iowa, so my evaluations of candidates are necessarily less worthy than theirs.

    Have I ever mentioned that we have a weird, problematic nomination process?

    15
  17. senyordave says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I hope I’m wrong, and I’m definitely going to vote for Biden myself, but I’m not convinced Biden can actually win.

    Prior to the virus I would have agreed with you. But there is no way to spin Trump’s “leadership” during the worst crisis in decades as anything other than a complete failure. You run against Trump by pointing this out every minute of every day. Label Trump as Mr. “I take no responsibility”, you get ads talking about how he held rallies and played golf instead of doing his job.
    And Biden runs as Obama’s VP, part of an administration that worked. And if Kamala Harris is his VP nominee, she makes a great attack person, she’s a former prosecutor.

    5
  18. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Old man disciplining his asshole followers (a minority, one hopes) and motivating all his people to beat Trump, is.

    It’s important to understand–and a lot of people don’t–that the Bernie-or-bust crowd in 2016 was a much more marginal phenomenon than is commonly believed. Polls after the election showed that the vast majority of Sanders supporters voted for Clinton in the general election. It’s true that the percentage who didn’t, while a minority, was not insignificant: it was around 20%. However, that was actually lower, by some estimates, than the percentage of 2008 Hillary supporters who didn’t back Obama in the general.

    Furthermore, there’s evidence that many Sanders voters were actually Republicans. According to one poll, of the roughly 10% of Sanders supporters who voted for Trump in the general election, half said they’d also voted for Romney in 2012. The image of Sanders supporters as all being left-wing purity trolls was overstated. (As for the 2008 Hillary voters who didn’t vote for Obama in the general–even voting for McCain–my theory is that they consisted mostly of old-style white racists for whom the nomination of Obama was kind of a last straw before they left the Democratic Party for good.)

    I’m not suggesting the Bernie Bros were irrelevant to the 2016 outcome. It was a very close election, and even marginal defections (or people not voting) could have made all the difference. My point is that the defections were marginal–in both 2008 and 2016. The difference between the two cycles isn’t that there were more Bernie-or-busters than PUMAs; the evidence suggests there weren’t. The difference is that in 2008 the overall conditions (a two-term unpopular incumbent Republican, an economy in free-fall) were so overwhelmingly favorable to Dems that Hillary-or-busters weren’t enough to matter.

    Obviously, Bernie’s 2020 run didn’t have the same coalition as in 2016; there wasn’t the anyone-but-Hillary dynamic anymore. But I highly doubt Bernie-or-busters will be more numerous this year than they were in 2016; in fact there’s a good chance they’ll be a lot smaller. Biden isn’t as widely hated as Hillary, and he’s maintained more support from the white working class, the exact demographic she struggled with when faced against both Sanders and Trump. In any case, most Sanders voters will vote for Biden, just as most of their 2016 counterparts voted for Hillary. The minority who don’t could potentially make a difference, but if the conditions in the country get sufficiently bad for Trump (as I suspect they will), that already small group won’t matter.

    12
  19. @Kylopod: These are good points.

    I think a lot of the anxiety related to the BernieBros is generated because of the slim margins in MI, PA, and WI last time.

    11
  20. Lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Sanders is not a narcissist in any meaningful way. He’s certainly egocentric but he is much more the True Believer in the Cause. Yes an egocentric one who believe’s he’s the channel, but his interest is really externalized.
    While I consider his policies utterly and completely wrong-headed, I see no reason to think he’s not completely sincere in his beliefs (wrong in his approach, wrong in this thinking, etc but sincere).

    this contra Trump who has no concern or belief outside of What is Good For Me. Trump really does seem to be a narcissist. Let’s not be stupid and label Bernie just to insult him. He’s wrong headed but in a completely different way than Trump. (in a way I could see Sanders as almost admirably flawed person – his concern for welfare being real enough even if I am entirely sure his solutions are 100% wrong. Trump has absolutely no saving grace nor redeeming facets to him at all. He’s actually evil in a bumbling banal incompetent sort of way)

    19
  21. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I wish I could slip sideways into Earth 517, where Senator Warren had caught fire and was holding daily press conferences where she was announcing her latest plan for [x].

    8
  22. senyordave says:

    @Lounsbury: He’s actually evil in a bumbling banal incompetent sort of way)

    Which didn’t matter all that much until he became the most powerful person on earth.

    2
  23. Jen says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think a lot of the anxiety related to the BernieBros is generated because of the slim margins in MI, PA, and WI last time.

    Speaking only for myself, this is 100% my anxiety, then and now. With the Electoral College system in place, we have seen unequivocally that small margins in certain states matter a lot. To @Kylopod’s point, it doesn’t really matter how marginal the Sanders support was in 2016 nationally, because it was *enough where it mattered.*

    I hope Biden runs a good campaign from this point forward. I hope he chooses a VP wisely, not just because VPs can help or hurt a ticket, but because of his age.

    Biden was not my first choice, but I will vote for him enthusiastically because the alternative is too dire to think about.

    14
  24. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: As a the head of sales once pointed out to me, a lot of Reps end up using their sale because they can’t seem to take “yes” for an answer. It has to be “yes” for the right reasons.

    1
  25. Jon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    the Jon’s of the world

    Heh, I rather like that.

    But in any event I was not commenting on the quality of any candidate, simply pointing out that it was the voters who have been choosing Biden, not the the party.

    4
  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I understand the worries over Biden’s ability to beat trump in an election, those same fears should apply to Superman because of the risks inherent in a continued trump presidency. But Superman wasn’t running. Bernie was and in that race Biden beat the pants off him.

    As such, Biden was the superior candidate. In a different world, one where I was God, it would have been Elizabeth Warren. But that is not the world we live in. In this world, Biden was the candidate who was superior to all the others. I’m OK with that.

    The only question now is is this a just world, one in which a majority of the electorate in all the right places are capable of making semi-intelligent choices. Time will tell.

    10
  27. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Is Trump a good nominee just because a lot of voters, given the option of voting for someone else, voted for Trump?”

    Invalid logic, IMHO. The point being made was that the younger leadership failed to get the votes.

    2
  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think a lot of the anxiety related to the BernieBros is generated because of the slim margins in MI, PA, and WI last time.

    Which is continues to be a source of great anxiety.
    I also think Russian bots distort the real number of Sanders followers.

    4
  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I also think Russian bots distort the real number of Sanders followers.

    I’m not worried about the Russian bots exaggerating the numbers Sander’s followers. We have the supposedly liberal MSM to do that.
    See@Kylopod: above.

    3
  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @Jen:

    What’s important is the distribution of Bernie Bros, for all we know, they could all live in the 212 area code. In states like Michigan, Penn and Wisconsin, I’d be more concerned with getting the AA vote out, suburban voters and voters who are getting by on two part-time jobs.

    3
  31. gVOR08 says:

    My real fear in this election is that the GOPs will leverage the Coronavirus to ratfrack the election. Given recent events in WI, DeWine’s delay of the Ohio primary, and Trump’s opposition to expanded vote by mail, how could one think otherwise? If polls look bad for Trump in Oct I wouldn’t be surprised to see him declare a national virus lockdown and declare the election delayed. He hasn’t the authority to delay the election, but if red state guvs go along with it, how to we have an election seen as legitimate?

    The precedent of 1864 would seem to be that if some states don’t select Electors, go ahead without them. Red states would sue to delay the EC vote until whenever they got around to actually voting. If it hits the current Supreme Court I have little faith the WI precedent, that election dates are sacred, would stand.

    That said, my bigger fear is Biden coming down with the virus before the election.

    5
  32. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I understand the worries over Biden’s ability to beat trump in an election, those same fears should apply to Superman because of the risks inherent in a continued trump presidency.

    Isn’t Superman an illegal alien? El Cheeto would have a field day with him.

    Seriously, about half the time I can’t see how Trump could possibly win, but then that was my attitude about 103% of the time in 2016.

    The other half, I’m worried people are really that stupid, or that mean-spirited, and would reelect a man (we would judge this by his shape) who’s proven completely unqualified for the job.

    3
  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    Trump can’t cancel the election. Ian Milhiser covered that here and also what happens if Congress were to cancel. Good news, Trump and Dense would be out of office on 1/20/21 regardless and likely a Dems Senate would be choosing the next president.

    Short analysis, there’s lots of impetus for the election to happen as scheduled.

    5
  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    likely a Dems Senate would could be choosing the next president.

    Note correction.

    1
  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Trump can’t cancel the election.

    Trump’s done lots of things he “can’t” do.

    Who’s going to stop him if he does cancel the election?

    6
  36. EddieInCA says:

    I’ve been hard on Senator Sanders since 2016. I’m glad he suspended his campaign, and also glad you stated he would work with Biden. I’d have liked a stronger comment asking his supporters to support Biden, but hopefully that will come.

    Glad it’s down to two now. Let’s focus.

    And… Cenk Uygur needs to STFU…. again.

    2
  37. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    To @Kylopod’s point, it doesn’t really matter how marginal the Sanders support was in 2016 nationally, because it was *enough where it mattered.

    But that just gets into the larger issue of how to frame election outcomes. There’s never one explanation for why an election happened the way it did. The Bernie-or-busters could have been singlehandedly responsible for Hillary’s loss, in the sense that, if they hadn’t abandoned the Dems, Hillary would have won. But then, there are at least a dozen other factors that could be described as “singlehandedly” responsible for her loss, and some of them were probably more crucial than the Bernie-or-busters.

    The point here isn’t that those voters aren’t worthy of criticism (or that Russian ratf*ckery didn’t play a role in driving those voters away). The point is that there’s a danger in getting overly focused on this factor alone, when there are more important things we should be focused on in trying to win this year. If we see disgruntled Bernie supporters behaving more or less the same way they did in 2016, that doesn’t automatically imply Dems are doomed. The other factors are bound to be different. If our baseline is better than it was four years ago, the Bernie-or-busters may not be enough to matter even if there are just as many of them as before; if it’s worse, then they may be the least of our problems.

    6
  38. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Seriously, about half the time I can’t see how Trump could possibly win, but then that was my attitude about 103% of the time in 2016.

    I’ve long abandoned any belief that Trump’s awfulness will doom him. But I think the tanking economy will, more likely than not, doom him this year.

    As for people who say, “Eh, 2016 proved all the normal laws of politics don’t apply, Trump is immune to anything, he could shoot someone on 5th Ave blah blah blah”–my reaction is, horsesh!t. What 2016 proved was that a candidate can get away with a great deal if the overall conditions are favorable to his party. In 2016, they were. But they won’t be this year.

    In other words, just because enough voters stuck with a man who boasted about grabbing women’s genitals, doesn’t prove they’ll have the same reaction to seeing their job and bank account disappear.

    6
  39. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA:

    And… Cenk Uygur needs to STFU…. again.

    At some point a year or two ago I just realized that I didn’t give a shit what that jerk said anymore about anything ever.

    2
  40. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: to actually go full coup, you need strong support from the military. And Trump no has that.

    3
  41. Teve says:

    @marcushjohnson

    Pundits and political journalists finally beginning to understand—the south chooses who the Democratic nominee is. Black voters decide. If you can’t win in the south, its game over. Liberal college campuses don’t decide. New England doesn’t. Iowa doesn’t. The south does.

    Someone in the comments replied, but I haven’t verified, that for the last 30 years the candidate African American Democrats picked was the candidate who got the nomination.

    2
  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Did you read Milhiser article? He has no authority to do so.

    1