Graphics by Yiying Zhang
On April 8, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders ended his 2020 presidential campaign. Though this may seem straightforward, there is still confusion on what this means for Sanders the rest of America. While his campaign has come to an end, Bernie Sanders is still on the ballot and can still be voted for.
In his live-streamed announcement, Sanders said he suspended his campaign because of his low chances of winning and the coronavirus crisis. Sanders was hundreds of delegates behind opposing Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He felt that continuing his failing campaign would distract from the work needed to help people during this crisis.
Though he still can be voted for, Sanders is very unlikely to be elected without a campaign backing him. “I think [Sanders] could’ve had a chance in the primary if he hadn’t endorsed Biden,” said sophomore Naomi Sass. “Some Bernie supporters will vote Biden, and others probably won’t vote in the Democratic primary at all. Biden pretty much has the Democratic nomination already.”
After Sanders suspended his campaign, the spotlight was put on third-party candidates. Many Sanders supporters don’t want to vote for Biden or Donald Trump and have been looking towards third-party candidates that carry similar views to Sanders. One such candidate that has gotten attention is Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. “I am not going to vote for Joe Biden in November – primarily because we live in the strongest blue state in the nation,” said an anonymous senior. “I will probably vote for Gloria La Riva or another third party candidate, and vote more ‘normally’ in the other, i.e. local, elections.” The main issue many have with voting third-party though is that they are unlikely to win. Voting third-party is nearly a vote thrown away, as the Democratic and Republican Parties are the only ones taken seriously.
Though his campaign came to a close, Sanders will continue his movement and is hoping to spread his message further. “I hope that the current crisis will open up more minds to the idea of universal healthcare,” said sophomore Anna Pabst. “I really just want to continue to educate myself on current issues and policies and how they can be improved upon or changed entirely. I think what is most important for those of us who can’t vote is to continue to learn about issues we feel passionate about. One day we will be the voters and politicians and it is important for us to be informed when we have that responsibility.” While Sanders encouraged many young people to continue his movement further, the end to his campaign left many young voters even more jaded with theAmerican political system. “I am definitely going to personally focus on non-electoral politics in the future. Corona is actually a strong motivation for this as well, because it has highlighted how vital our communities are. Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said the anonymous senior. “I was already disillusioned with electoral politics – Lenin wrote extensively on the topic, as do many others – and Bernie was really my only hope. I think local elections matter more and I’ll continue to engage with them, but Federal elections, not so much.”
For many Sanders supporters, there was little hope in this election, even before he ended his campaign. That’s why Sanders has redirected his focus and is encouraging his supporters to take action outside of the election. “I would recommend to anyone who supported Bernie to research Marxism-Leninism and read. Read theory. It is clear that the government won’t let us vote for reform. If voting did anything they’d make it illegal,” said Sass. “There isn’t going to be a candidate as stubborn and dedicated as Bernie that’ll gain as much attention as he did. And if there is, they won’t be a democrat. The Democrats don’t care about the people, and neither do the Republicans. Neoliberalism can’t fix climate change, police brutality, our broken healthcare system, etc. Our government was and is controlled by people who are racist, classist, sexist, etc. To have real change the left needs to organize and become seen. Don’t be an armchair communist, take action, and educate yourself. The people can use the power given to them to do real change. People are organizing, and if you want real change, join them.”