Bernie Sanders is out. Here’s how his rivals, and supporters, are reacting

Bernie Sanders at a rally
Sen. Bernie Sanders at a primary night election rally in Essex Junction, Vt., on March 3.
(Associated Press)

As Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday, his presidential campaign has come to an end, but the movement he started has not. The question now is how enthusiastically that movement will rally behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

Soon after Sanders made his announcement, both Biden and President Trump made overtures to the Vermont senator’s supporters. Biden praised Sanders for changing the political discourse to elevate topics like income inequality, student loan debt, healthcare and climate change and for being “a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America.”

“I’ll be reaching out to you. You will be heard by me. As you say: Not me, Us,” Biden wrote in a Medium post. “And to your supporters I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.”


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is depending on young voters to turn out in California.

Feb. 27, 2020

President Trump took Sanders’ exit as an opportunity to try to divide Democrats. He accused Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren of undermining Sanders’ campaign and costing him victories in the Super Tuesday states; wondered why Sanders would continue to seek delegates despite suspending his campaign; and speculated that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wouldn’t back Biden. “This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!”

David Axelrod, a former advisor to President Barack Obama, wrote that while Sanders “bowed to the math” by suspending his campaign, he would need to do more to help convince his supporters to back Biden. In a follow-up comment, he said that Biden would also have to help persuade those voters by embracing progressive ideas.

Several former Democratic presidential candidates —including former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and businessman Andrew Yang — pushed for party unity while echoing Biden’s comments on Sanders’ effect on politics.

Warren, who has not endorsed anyone since she dropped out of the race last month, thanked Sanders for fighting for progressive values and moving the conversation leftward.

“That fight does not end today,” she wrote on Twitter. “We’ll continue it together in the Senate and keep working to hold the wealthy and well-connected accountable to the people.”


Initial reactions from Sanders’ most ardent supporters focused on mourning his campaign and the movement. Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Sanders in October and helped boost his campaign, thanked him for fighting “for all of us, from the beginning, for your entire life.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and member of the progressive “squad” in the House, stopped short of endorsing Biden, but discouraged people from sitting out the November election or voting for Trump.

“For those of you who plan to sit this election out or vote for Trump, just stop. The livelihoods of millions of marginalized people are at stake,” she wrote in a tweet. “We must all fight like hell to get Donald Trump out of the White House and end the rise of fascism in this country.”