Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is considering the future of his campaign after a third consecutive cluster of losses to Joe Biden in the Democratic primary race.
The idea of Bernie dropping out has been so widely discussed that for a few moments on Wednesday, a report about Sanders suspending campaign advertisements on Facebook was misreported as Sanders suspending his campaign.
On Wednesday, the campaign said Bernie would first vote on coronavirus legislation in the Senate, and then he would fly back to Vermont with his wife, and he would have conversations with supporters.
He has since convened a series of weighty discussions about the future of his presidential campaign with his closest confidants, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversations, and at least three potential paths forward have come up in the private talks.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Senator Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,”
Bernie’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said to the press. “In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
The options that have been raised: keep the campaign technically active with a goal of winning votes and accumulating delegates to the July nominating convention, but forgo attack ads aimed at delegate leader Joe Biden. The second choice: stay in the race and keep aggressively competing for the nomination. A third choice: end the campaign.
With Biden in a solid lead and the future of the primaries in doubt because of the pandemic, many in the party are calling for Bernie to bow out, arguing that the destructive divisions could deepen if he stays in the race. They are eager to focus on a general election position against President Donald Trump and want to empower Biden to start the general campaign as soon as possible.