Democratic presidential candidate suspends political advertising on Facebook
Sen. Bernie Sanders is reassessing his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination following recent defeats by former Vice President Joe Biden, a senior campaign advisor has revealed.
The independent Vermont senator has suspended all political advertising on Facebook, suggesting he may be about to drop out of the 2020 Democrat race.
Less than four weeks ago, Sanders appeared to have the inside track on winning the Democratic Party’s bid to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November.
He is now facing increasing pressure to abandon his campaign, however, as Biden has emerged as the clear front-runner.
Biden’s dominating victories in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona on Tuesday effectively closed off any viable path for Sanders.
This comes despite the coronavirus outbreak seeming likely to force the candidates to remain off the campaign trail for weeks, or maybe months, to come.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away,” his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement.
“Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign.”
The campaign’s decision to pull Facebook ads was part of “conserving resources,” according to Sanders’ communications director, Mike Casca.
On Tuesday night, Biden made a direct appeal to Sanders’ base of young backers, as he turned his attention to Trump and the general election.
“Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought remarkable passion and tenacity to these issues, and together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in the country,” Biden said.
“And let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do.”
Bernie Sanders is considering dropping out amid fears of a 2016 repeat
Many Democrats are worried about a repeat of the bruising primary battle that Sanders and eventual nominee Hillary Clinton waged in 2016.
But some Sanders allies have urged him to campaign through the primaries, even if he can’t win, to give him more leverage to influence the party’s platform at the convention.
Sanders, a democratic socialist whose sweeping agenda would reshape the American economy, was leading the race as recently as the last week of February, after a dominating performance in Nevada’s caucuses.
Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, was on life support following underwhelming finishes in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, as centrist voters split their support among several rivals.
But the moderate Biden’s commanding win in South Carolina on Feb. 29, powered by African-American voters, pushed other candidates, such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to drop out and endorse him.
Since then, Biden’s momentum has only accelerated.
His latest wins have given him a nearly insurmountable lead over Sanders of 971 to 737 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July, according to Edison Research.
A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination.
Still waiting on a revolution
Sanders, 78, has struggled to expand his coalition of supporters, while his vow to increase turnout among infrequent voters has thus far not succeeded.
The coronavirus outbreak has also prevented him from holding rallies.
Nevertheless, Biden, 77, still faces work to persuade Sanders’ backers to support him against Trump, 73, particularly young voters.
Voters between the ages of 18 and 44 were the only major demographic to stick with Sanders on Tuesday, Edison Research polls showed.
The Democratic nominating campaign begins an extended hiatus on Wednesday after concerns about the coronavirus outbreak prompted several states to postpone their contests, including Ohio on Tuesday.
The only primary election scheduled between Wednesday and April 4 is in Puerto Rico, where lawmakers appeared poised to delay the vote until late April.
Hours after saying Sanders would weigh his options, campaign aides were forced to deny a report by Axios news — later withdrawn — that he was ending his campaign.
A corrected article reported the decision to end Facebook advertising.