Senator Bernie Sanders shocked voters on Wednesday, April 8 by ending his presidential campaign, effectively clearing the way for former Vice President Joe Biden to swoop in and scoop up the Democratic nomination. Sanders, in his announcement of the suspension of his White House bid, states that he, “cannot, in good conscience, continue to mount a campaign that [he] cannot win, and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.” As an avid supporter of Sanders’s effort for the Democratic nomination, I was devastated at his decision to halt his campaign, but proud that the candidate I believe in eventually put the health and safety of his constituents over his desire to be President. However I, like many other Bernie supporters, wondered whether Sanders’s suspension was worth it, especially given the magnitude of Sanders’s campaign donation sum.
With his campaign raking in over $181 million in combined campaign fundraising donations by Sanders’ election committee as of March 23, Sanders was the most financially supported Democratic candidate in the running for the Democratic nomination. Meanwhile, Biden’s election committee has raised little over $98 million, just over half of Sander’s total on the same date. These numbers are the most telling testimony to the undying faith that millions of Sanders supporters and loyal donors placed in his ideas, policies, and platforms. His campaign spent about 89% of the $181 million raised from a purely small-dollar White House bid, which calls into question if the decision to drop out was well-advised. While the reason Sanders cited for bowing out was honorable, and he had raised about $2 million to support COVID-19 relief through his campaign, spending millions more in contributions than any other Democrat in the running only to quit does not strike me as a wise or well-managed strategy. Although, if Sanders continued to raise and spend the same astronomical amounts of money at breakneck speeds as the Democratic primaries near, many of his constituents (namely young voters) would be left financially vulnerable while national employment rates are steadily plummeting. Sanders recognized this fact and put aside his personal and political ambitions to support his constituency, setting a high standard and even higher example for all candidates for high political office. To that end, my admiration for Sanders has only increased with the end of his campaign.