The hue and cry has been raised from Democrats: It’s time for Bernie Sanders to drop out. Joe Biden has taken a commanding lead in the race for the nomination, and the fate of the remaining primaries is uncertain due to the coronavirus. This has led many to urge Sanders to quit, thereby putting an end to a complicated situation and taking a step toward party unity in advance of the general election against Donald Trump. But last night, speaking to NBC’s Seth Meyers, Sanders vowed to fight on. Watch him explain his rationale:
“There is a path,” Sanders said. “It is admittedly a narrow path. But I would tell you Seth, there are a lot of people who are supporting me, we have a strong grassroots movement, who believe that we have got to stay in in order to continue the fight to make the world know that we need Medicare for All, that we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, that we need paid family and medical leave. One of the crises that we’re dealing with right now that we must address, climate change and education…all the issues that we have been talking about, campaigns are an important way to maintain that fight and raise public consciousness on those issues.”
That’s the ideological thrust of Sanders’s campaign, which was never about winning alone—though of course he would have loved to prevail. The real strength of Bernie Sanders, and his lasting gift to this country even if he never becomes president, is the way he has amplified progressive causes that were once considered unspeakable. The discourse even on the center-left has changed remarkably since his 2016 run, and he continues to push his fellow Democrats in a progressive direction on a national level. The country may not be ready for a Democratic-Socialist president yet, but he’s going to stay in the race as long as he can to ensure that the ideas he espouses outlive his time in the national spotlight. The short-term cause might be a lost one, barring a miracle, but the long-term cause always mattered the most anyway. With that in mind, there’s no good reason to quit. Everybody deserves a chance to vote for a better future, and to hear a message of change…even if that message falls short in 2020, and the future we dream of remains, for now, in the blurred distance.