Bernie Sanders, a Senator from Vermont and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 race for president, has announced that he will be suspending his campaign for president, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the sole candidate for the nomination.
In an address to his supporters on Wednesday, April 8, Sanders said, “I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour”.
So, if you were a supporter of Sanders and you’re not sure of what to do now, here are three important steps.
1. Vote in the primary anyway
Remember that the primary election is more than the presidential election. This fall, 35 Senate seats and 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for election. If your state is one of the fifteen that has a primary election coming up, make sure to research your local leadership and vote for those seats.
And as you might have heard, Bernie has not officially withdrawn from the race. Though his campaign will no longer be active, has name will remain on the ballots in order to continue gathering delegates. If you still want to vote for Sanders in the primary, you can do so, but keep in mind that Sanders made it clear that he is effectively giving Biden the nomination.
2. Turn out to vote blue in November
With that in mind, be prepared to vote for Biden – even if you really don’t want to.
This is where the debate always gets messy. Some supporters consider themselves “Bernie or bust,” where their distaste for all other democratic candidates pushes them not to vote for anyone other than Bernie.
The way I see it, we simply cannot afford another Trump presidency, and I believe that refusing to vote for the Democratic nominee – whoever that may be – is only helping the GOP. In the 2016 election, 12% of Sanders supporters turned to Trump in the general election after losing the primary to Hillary Clinton, and many didn’t vote at all, giving Trump a boost towards the White House.
3. Don’t forget the policies
Bernie was able to mobilize thousands of supporters behind policies like Medicare for All and free college education. His platform served as a source of hope for many of us struggling with the current state of political affairs. For supporters of Sanders who are feeling let down and dejected, I urge you not to let go of those ideals. Call your representatives and let them know that you support those policies, and keep them in mind in future elections.
Remember that those policies do not end with the Sanders campaign. Bernie’s slogan throughout the election was “Not me, us” – and it’s up to all of us to keep the momentum going, whether or not he’s the one leading it.