Metro, News

Brown students react to Sen. Bernie Sanders dropping out of presidential race

After Sanders announced the end of his campaign, students reflect on influence of candidate, how to move forward

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Sanders said that while he is dropping out, he will remain on the ballot in the remaining primary states and gather delegates, in hopes of exerting influence over the party platform at the convention. 

Senator Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is ending his campaign for President of the United States, all but ensuring that former-Vice President Joe Biden will become the Democratic Nominee.

Sanders informed his staff of the decision to drop out on a conference call, which was followed by a live stream event where he addressed supporters. “While we are winning the ideological battle, and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful,” Sanders said in the live stream.

When polled by The Herald in early March, the majority of Brown students supported Sanders, with 50.5 percent of undergraduates polled indicating they would support him in November, The Herald previously reported. Only 21.1 percent of undergraduates signaled support for Biden.

For some Brown students who supported Sanders, his exit is disheartening but expected. “It didn’t come as a huge surprise because I know the pressure the establishment has been putting on (Sanders) to drop out,” Jack Doughty ’22, a Brown Students for Bernie organizer, said. 

For others, Sanders’ exit from the race came as a surprise. “I was so shocked. I didn’t see it coming. I thought he would stay until the end,” said Ricky Zhong ’23, a member of Brown Students for Bernie.

Doughty found that Sanders’ ability to connect with young voters stemmed from his willingness to discuss issues such as universal healthcare. “He allowed people to sink their teeth into the injustices that really affect people every day,” Doughty said.

Sanders’ “voice of justice” and outspoken support for workers’ rights in the midst of a national and international crisis makes his exit from the race even more disappointing, according to Doughty.

For Zhong, it is hard to get excited about the prospect of Joe Biden being the Democratic nominee. Sanders “represented the change that I and so many others want to see. Biden is not representing that change,” he said. Still, Zhong said he does believe the majority of Bernie supporters will eventually support Biden, out of a dislike of Trump more than anything else. “They’ve seen what Trump can do — there is a lot more hope with Biden being a Democrat” than with another four years of the Republican incumbent, he said.

This reluctant support was echoed by Doughty. “I am pretty firm in my belief that we need to weaken (Trump’s) chances of winning as much as possible and if that means supporting Joe Biden, I think that’s what should be done.” Doughty emphasized that he is willing to work with and support “any person who wants to engage with the issues that Bernie (championed).”

Joshua Neronha ’22, a Pete Buttigieg supporter who has shifted his support to Biden, hopes that Bernie supporters both on- and off-campus will eventually support Biden. 

But Nerohna understands that the Biden campaign must actively work with Bernie supporters to earn their support. “I really hope that Bernie supporters will consider a vote for Biden,” Neronha said. “Obviously the Biden campaign has a lot of work to do to reach out to Bernie supporters and make sure that what they believe is incorporated into the party platform.”

Doughty hopes that the Biden campaign will take on some of the issues that Bernie supporters care about most. “There is so much to be done and now Joe Biden is in the position to become the microphone of all of these demands,” Doughty said. “I will seek out opportunities to be part of groups that are focusing on forcing (Sanders’) issues and making alterations to (Biden’s) campaign.”

Bernie’s influence on the Brown campus and on young people around the country cannot be overstated, Doughty said. “Bernie has been an important figure for the political formation of our entire generation and I think he is going to change the way that we approach the issues of our society going forward,” he said. 

Sanders said that while he is dropping out, he will remain on the ballot in the remaining primary states and gather delegates, in hopes of exerting influence over the party platform at the convention. 

“Even though he might not be president in 2020, he has been responsible for such a great shift in our political process,” Doughty said. 

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One Comment

  1. M M Peters says:

    Bernie’s radical policies have been rejected by his own party .His supporters at Brown as elsewhere, are in it for all the freebies Sanders promised. Not going to happen.
    The Great Satan is hated so much that a popular says “ 2020 any capable person “ . If Biden is going to be the candidate it seems to me the search for such an individual is ongoing.
    As forme I will vote for same individual I voted for in 2016: Michael Bloomberg.

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