KEY POINTS

  • Sanders unlikely to exit primary contest even if Tuesday's results are poor
  • He may be hoping to push Biden to shift his policies to the left
  • Sanders may also be hoping to prime his supporters to back Biden

Among Arizona, Florida and Illinois, 441 pledged delegates are up for grabs by Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday. At present, Sanders is trailing Biden by 153 delegates. As daunting as that gap may be, the Vermont senator appears to be ready to stay in the contest for the long haul.

Ohio was originally set to primary on Tuesday as well, but it has been postponed out of concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

Even if the states participating in the Democratic primary on Tuesday don’t end up favoring Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., he does not seem prepared to end his campaign just yet, those close to him have said.

A report from Politico shows that those close to Sanders seem to share this belief as well. As one former campaign aide said, “I think he’s in. Who is going to advise him to drop out?”

Our Revolution chair Larry Cohen agrees. “I think there’s a very good chance that he will stay in,” he said. Cohen and other Sanders allies believe that although the odds are against them, there is still a path to winning the Democratic nomination.

That path is looking increasingly narrow for Sanders, however, as he will need to claim a total of 1,991 pledged delegates ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July. If he and Biden both fail to cross that threshold, it will be up to the superdelegates to pick the nominee – a scenario that does not favor Sanders.

For Sanders, though, staying in the race at this stage isn’t necessarily about winning the nomination. Instead, it would seem that his aim is to push Biden’s policy positions to the left and, in doing so, make the likely future presidential candidate more palpable for Sander’s supporters to get behind in the fall. At the end of the day, Sanders appears primarily interested in seeing his policies implemented and preventing President Donald Trump from winning a second term in the White House.

This was made evident during Sunday’s Democratic primary debate. At one stage, Biden suggested that he would be open to providing free higher education to families bringing home less than $125,000; Sanders rebuffed him and stood by his position that college should be free to any citizen who wants it.

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at the Stifel Theater in downtown St. Louis Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at the Stifel Theater in downtown St. Louis Photo: AFP / Tim VIZER