Bernie Sanders, who saw his once strong lead in the Democratic primary evaporate as the party's establishment swiftly lined up behind rival Joe Biden, ended his presidential bid on Wednesday. It's an acknowledgment that after wins in places like South Carolina, Michigan, and Florida, the former vice president is too far ahead for Sanders to have any reasonable hope of catching up, reports the AP. The Vermont senator's announcement makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Trump in November. Axios acknowledges the damage done by fellow Democratic hopefuls who dropped out and subsequently endorsed Biden, but it adds that the coronavirus "has been smothering" what was a very challenging comeback attempt.
"The Bernie movement" was fueled by huge rallies and canvassing efforts, relics of a pre-COVID-19 time. He also struggled to find space on TV and social media, which have been focusing largely on the epidemic. In its campaign post-mortem, the New York Times hails Sanders as a candidate whose "quest for the White House ... began five years ago in relative obscurity but ultimately elevated him as a champion of the working class, a standard-bearer of American liberalism, and the leader of a self-styled political revolution." But it, like many other outlets, points out that the lack of black support he encountered in his 2016 run was repeated the second time around. The Times adds that his exit is distinct from that in 2016, "when he stayed in an increasingly acrimonious race against Hillary Clinton even after it became clear she would be the eventual nominee." (Read more Bernie Sanders stories.)