Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is assessing his Democratic presidential campaign after 2020 rival former Vice President Joe Biden solidified his delegate lead on Tuesday, sweeping all three primaries as the coronavirus pandemic scrambled the nominating process for the foreseeable future.
Hours after Biden cruised through Arizona, Florida and Illinois, Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir said the self-avowed democratic socialist was assessing his options amid a national health crisis that's forced American life to come to a screeching halt.
"The next primary contest is at least three weeks ago," Shakir said in a statement. "Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign. In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable."
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has infected close to 6,500 individuals in the U.S. and killed 114. Across the world, there are more than 200,000 cases and 8,241 deaths, according to database from Johns Hopkins University.
Sanders has used the pandemic to make the case for his signature policy proposal, Medicare-for-all. On Tuesday night, before most polls closed, he released a string of plans to deal with the crisis, including providing $2,000 cash payments to every American each month and noting that Medicare would cover all medical bills.
Just a little over a month ago, Sanders was viewed as a possibly unstoppable frontrunner, but will likely face escalating pressure to exit the primary and unify the party after his path to the nomination considerably narrowed on Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press' delegate tracker, Biden currently has 1,147 delegates, while Sanders trails with just 861, making it all but impossible for him to catch up. Candidates need to secure 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination at their party's convention in Milwaukee