Former vice president Joe Biden on Wednesday credited his former 2020 rival Bernie Sanders with starting a powerful progressive movement that will continue despite Sanders’s decision earlier in the day to suspend his presidential campaign.
“He hasn’t just run a political campaign, he’s created a movement,” Biden, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, said in a statement after Sanders announced he was dropping out of the race.
“And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday,” Biden added. “That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.”
Biden noted that the Vermont senator’s progressive platform has shaped discussions around a number of issues. Sanders supported “Medicare for all” and free four-year public colleges and influenced how Democratic candidates fundraise, prodding them to eschew high-dollar fund-raisers.
However, his candidacy unnerved Democratic Party brass, who worried his left-leaning agenda could alienate more moderate Democratic voters.
Sanders announced his decision to end his campaign earlier on Wednesday but said he would remain on the ballot in the remaining primary states in order to “assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic Convention where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform.”
“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,” he said in a statement to supporters. “While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not,” he added.
Sanders closed by congratulating Biden, who he called a “decent man,” and vowing to cooperate with the now presumptive Democratic nominee to advance a socialist agenda.