Sanders has had few recent victories and the primary calendar is barren for weeks to come…
(Liberty Headlines) Bernie Sanders was trying to determine his next moves on Wednesday, after Joe Biden swept to victory in Florida, Illinois and Arizona and seized a commanding lead in a Democratic presidential race upended by the Wuhan virus.
The Vermont senator’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said Sanders “is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign.”
But Shakir also suggested his candidate is no hurry to make any decisions about dropping out, noting that “the next primary contest is at least three weeks away.”
More immediately, Sanders “is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable,” Shakir said in a statement.
Even if Sanders ultimately decides to keep running, however, he has little hope of catching Biden — especially in a political world turned as upside down as much of the rest of society amid efforts to combat the spreading virus, which has killed at least 115 people in the United States.
Neither candidate is traveling or holding campaign rallies, and much of the electorate has been staying home. Indeed, Biden’s third big night in as many weeks on Tuesday came amid tremendous uncertainty about how an already severely disrupted Democratic primary will proceed.
The former vice president now seems on a glide path to the nomination, his delegate lead over Sanders nearly insurmountable. Top Democratic leaders and donors have also increasingly lined up behind Biden as the best option to square off against President Donald Trump in November.
Some Democrats are now calling on Sanders to drop out in the name of party unity, but Sanders’s advisers have suggested he won’t rush to do so, betting that the political landscape could look different as the virus continues to reshape life across the country. Four years ago, Sanders kept an insurgent primary bid against Hillary Clinton going for months, even as it became clear he had no chance of winning after the Democratic National Committee rigged the process in her favor thanks to overweighted “superdelegates.”
Going forward, the primary will be disrupted by the public health and economic havoc wreaked by the Wuhan virus.
Four states — Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky and Maryland — have joined Ohio in moving to push back their upcoming primaries, and others may yet do so. As Shakir noted, that has left the Democratic primary calendar empty until March 29, when Puerto Rico is scheduled to go to the polls. But island leaders are working to reschedule balloting there, too.
That means there is nowhere for Sanders to gain ground on Biden anytime soon, even if he could find a way to mount a sudden surge.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.