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Bernie Sanders, the progressive Senator from Vermont, announced he was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president late Wednesday evening. Despite finding some early success in the primaries, nearly winning Iowa and tallying outright wins in Nevada and New Hampshire, his campaign failed to gain the momentum it needed to prevent Joe Biden’s overwhelming win in South Carolina.
During a live streamed speech to his supporters, Sanders said that the “path toward victory is virtually impossible,” due to Biden’s sizable delegate lead.
Delegates are people selected to represent the candidate during the party convention. They are assigned based on the number of votes a candidate receives in their state.
With that said, Sanders went on to argue that his agenda is still gaining momentum, despite the struggles of the campaign. “Few would deny that over the course of the past five years, our movement has won the ideological struggle," Sanders argued.
He went on to say that the campaign and its supporters have “transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice.”
Biden reaches out
After the news broke, Joe Biden, now the party’s presumptive nominee for president, responded in a series of tweets, commending Sanders’ campaign and reaching out to his supporters.
“I know Bernie well. He’s a good man, a great leader, and one of the most powerful voices for change in our country,” Biden wrote. “You haven’t just run a political campaign; you’ve created a movement. And make no mistake about it, we believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday,” he continued.
He went on to make a case for unity, but acknowledged that some Sanders’ supporters might be reluctant to jump on board right away. “And to Bernie’s supporters: I know that I need to earn your votes. And I know that might take time. But I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of this moment. I hope you’ll join us. You’re more than welcome: You’re needed,” he wrote.
CNN says Sanders, in dropping out, “didn’t say anything nice about Joe Biden”
Shortly after playing the clip of Bernie Sanders announcing he was dropping out of the 2020 presidential race, CNN anchor John King accused the Vermont Senator of not saying anything nice about Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“What struck me the most there is Senator Sanders, in saying goodbye, did acknowledge that Joe Biden had an insurmountable lead, but he didn’t say anything nice about Joe Biden,” King alleged after playing the clip. “He did not say he’d spoken to him, he did not say he would work with him. He said it was imperative to beat President Trump, but there was no big embrace for Joe Biden. He said nicer things about Joe Biden during the Democratic debates than he did in saying goodbye.”
Hearing this, CNN correspondent Dana Bash chimed in, declaring that it was “really noteworthy that that was not part of his message at all.”
However, in the clip that the network had played just moments before, Senator Sanders said, “I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward"
The omission comes following months of allegations of media bias against the Sanders campaign on the part of news outlets including MSNBC and CNN.
King later tweeted about the incident, writing, “Harpoons deserved and accepted, and my apologies to Senator Sanders. We had some technical issues and I did not hear the ‘I will work with’ – The error was mine and the blame lies with me not anyone else in the conversation.”
Talks with Obama
Sanders reportedly was in contact with former President Barack Obama several times over the course of the past month. While the specifics of the conversation were kept quiet, individuals familiar with the discussions emphasized that there was mutual agreement that the party should unite against defeating President Trump.
Trump, for his part, acknowledged Wednesday that he expects Obama to be more visible now that the race for the Democratic nomination is all but set. “"He’ll come out, I’m sure he’s got to come out at some point," Trump said. “Because he certainly doesn’t want to see me for four more years. We’re not – we think a little bit differently."