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Sanders bows, Biden ready to take on Trump in November

By AFP | April 9th 2020
US Senator Bernie Sanders at a meeting for the Democratic primaries, in Keene, New Hampshire.

After a campaign shaken by twists and turns, Bernie Sanders abandoned the race for the White House on Wednesday, promising to work with Joe Biden, now the assured winner of the Democratic primary, who called for the rally to beat Donald Trump.

In announcing to his supporters that he was throwing in the towel, the independent senator greeted Joe Biden as a "very respectable man" and said that he would work with this more moderate candidate in order to advance his program firmly anchored on the left.

Noting the real tensions between the two camps, the former American vice-president, 77, reached out to supporters of 78-year-old Bernie Sanders.

"I know I have to win your votes. And I know it may take time. But I want you to know that I see you, that I hear you, that I understand the sense of urgency that drives you," said wrote the man who will face Donald Trump on November 3.

In the evening, he further praised the "passionate voice for progress" of Bernie Sanders, who "inspired and motivated millions of supporters, especially young voters".

At the end of a campaign which had seen an unprecedented number of candidates, displaying record diversity, Joe Biden promised to choose a woman as co-listener.

And he had very strong words on Wednesday towards Senator Kamala Harris. At 55, she had hoped to become the first black woman president of the United States before giving up the Democratic primary in December.

Despite her strong criticism of Joe Biden during a debate, she now supports him and accompanied him on Wednesday for a fundraiser conducted online with donors.

"I am very fortunate that you are part of this, this partnership in the future, because I think that moving forward together can make a big difference, and the biggest thing we can do is to make Donald Trump a president with a single term, "said Joe Biden.

Upset campaign

While all Democrats agree on one big goal, to beat Donald Trump, Joe Biden has successfully argued that he attracted the votes of black people as well as white workers and independent women. Three essential voter groups for any Democrat running for the White House.

The coronavirus pandemic then came to upset the campaign, forcing since mid-March the cancellation of meetings, the postponement of fifteen primaries and sending the candidates home.

Joe Biden will have to be officially nominated candidate by the party at the time of a democratic convention, which was postponed until August 17 because of the pandemic.

"Seeing the crisis hitting the country (...) I cannot, in all conscience, continue to run a campaign that I cannot win," said Bernie Sanders, during a speech broadcast online since his home in Burlington, Vermont.

He admitted that Joe Biden's lead was now unattainable.

But the independent senator said he would remain in the remaining primaries in order to "exert a significant influence on the party program".

After a fierce battle, Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden, "most progressive" candidate?

Despite his defeats, this self-proclaimed socialist had a major influence on the party, putting at the heart of the debate proposals that seemed very extreme to many four years ago, such as on universal health coverage.

"Although our campaign is ending, our movement is not" dead, "said Bernie Sanders. "The struggle continues".

Donald Trump reacted by asserting that "Joe asleep", as he nicknamed his great rival, would have trouble winning the support of progressive supporters of Bernie Sanders.

He also wondered why Barack Obama was not yet publicly supporting his former right-hand man. "He knows something you don't know," he said at a press conference.

In 2016, the Democratic President declared his support for Hillary Clinton in June, once she was assured of winning the nomination.

Several progressive youth organizations sent an open letter to Joe Biden reminding him that he had "been unable to win the votes of the vast majority" of young people.

Even if Joe Biden is more in the center, he campaigns "on the most progressive program of all the democratic candidates in American history", had pointed out in March a former member of the Barack Obama team, Jon Favreau, according to whom the credit goes to Bernie Sanders and his movement.

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