This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
If Bernie Sander does not drop out of the presidential race now, he needs to at least stop lying about his intentions. He’s no longer running to win, but rather, just to hurt Joe Biden. And he’s putting the health of voters and the country at risk to do it.
After Super Tuesday, Bernie’s campaign was mortally wounded. After the following Tuesday (when Bernie lost both Michigan and Washington) his campaign was on life-support. After yesterday’s elections, it’s dead.
At this point, Bernie wasn’t really expected to win Illinois, and he certainly had no hope of winning Florida. But losing Arizona doesn’t just hurt Bernie, it kills him. His campaign has been limping on for the past two weeks based on two key claims:
- He can secure enough delegates to either have plurality and/or prevent Biden from having a majority
- He wins with young voters, Hispanics, and working-class Whites
The first claim became apparently-false by last week. And as far as the second claim goes, Biden has thoroughly stolen the working-class Whites block from Bernie and he’s been slowly-but-surly chipping away at the youth vote. Yesterday’s election in Arizona proved that Bernie has lost the Hispanic block as well, with Biden handily winning the state and exit polls showing him slightly more of the Hispanic vote than Bernie.
Bernie no longer has any path at all (short of Biden suffering a medical trauma) to the nomination. He barely has a path to breach 1,000 delegates total. He’s done for, and every second he stays in the campaign hinders Biden’s ability to pivot towards facing Trump in the general.
Now, personally I don’t have a problem with Bernie staying in and attacking Bide from the rear. But he needs to stop lying to his supporters about his intentions. He needs to be straight and just admit that his campaign at this point is little more than a vanity project meant to spite the inevitable juggernaut that was Joe Biden’s primary campaign.
Given the pandemic that many in the United States are desperately trying to alleviate through social distancing, Bernie needs to also be realistic about what continuing to encourage millions to come out to densely-crowed polling places for the next three months could cost the nation’s health.
It seems terribly irresponsible to me for Bernie to continue to do this. He can’t win and to still call for the exact opposite of social distancing in light of that is psychotically negligent. It’s in the country’s best interest that the Democrats shut down their already-over primary as soon as possible.
Not only would Bernie be hurting Biden’s already uncomfortably-slim chances of defeating Trump by continuing to campaign, but he would also be incredibly selfish to so in the shadow of COVID-19.