On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders announced that he is suspending his campaign to be the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Thursday, his now suspended campaign released and ad.
Yes, you heard that right. They took a portion of his live announcement that he was no longer running and turned it into an inspirational video called The Struggle Continues:
So why would he drop out then produce an ad? Well, first off, he didn’t actually drop out of the race, he suspended his campaign.
Now usually the two mean the same thing, in fact, up to now, the two have always meant the same thing in practice. Technically, though, they’re not.
And Bernie made it clear in his announcement (a part that didn’t make it to the video) that he was remaining on the ballot in all the upcoming primaries. He also said that he hopes to amass as many delegates as possible.
While he admits that former Vice President Joe Biden will be nominee, Bernie knows that more Sanders delegates means a greater influence for him and his movement on the party platform at the Democratic National Convention. Bernie also knows that Biden will need much more than his support to beat Donald Trump, he will need to run on policies that the movement Bernie started can actually get behind.
A full-throated endorsement of Biden wouldn’t work at this time and would probably only sideline Bernie and make his personal support moot. This is still early in the campaign season and if it wasn’t for the fact that massive on the ground volunteer mobilization and huge rallies were a major public health risk and also illegal for good reason, Bernie would still be pushing forward to try and win the nomination.
Also, as Bernie mentioned in his statement, with the COVID-19 pandemic laying waste to the world, his time will be better spent in the US Sentate trying to push through legislation that will actually help people right now. It’s ironic that the health crisis that sidelined the Sanders Campaign is also the best argument for Bernie’s signature issue, Medicare for All.
So, while state governors are, in most cases, doing their best to keep their people safe, at the national level, Trump is just being Trump, shilling for a snake oil cure he stands to financially benefit from while treating the worst health catastrophe anyone has faced in over 100 years as a stumbling block to his re-election. Meanwhile Biden is pushing the narrative that he, as President, would handle it better without getting into too many specifics (yes, of course, he would handle it better, but that bar is really low).
And then there’s Bernie. Suspending his campaign so he can devote his time to actually helping and not put his volunteers and supporters in harm’s way.
Not me. Us. A slogan, sure, but also a mantra that it’s now clear Bernie Sanders actually lives by.
Did he get into the race to become President? Absolutely. Was that his ultimate goal? No.
The Presidency was a means to an end. A way to give his country universal healthcare, a living wage and more. If he can get those ideas into the White House without moving in himself, so be it.
The campaign may be over, but the movement Bernie started is most definitely alive and more than well. Bernie is no longer just a guy tossing a job application but the defacto leader of millions demanding to be heard.
He doesn’t need the Dems to nominate him to be heard and what he does over the next few months won’t be construed as a candidate trying to get coverage, but it will get coverage. Bernie is now the most important national political figure in the US.