Bernie Sanders is continuing to assess the future of his presidential campaign as he lags behind Joe Biden in delegate count and has to face up to the challenge of running for office during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to NPR’s Noel King on Morning Edition, Senator Sanders acknowledged that the path ahead would be challenging: “it’s going to be a very steep road.”
“It’s changing every day because elections are being delayed,” Mr Sanders said. “Where do we go from here with the elections that are being delayed, where we can’t go out and hold rallies or knock on doors? That’s what we’re looking at right now.”
Former vice president Biden currently has a 300 delegate lead on Sanders and many are treating him as the presumptive nominee, despite there still being primary elections to be held and several months until the Democratic Party convention.
When asked if there should be further debates between the two candidates, Mr Biden told an online press conference this week: “I think we’ve had enough debates. I think we should get on with this.”
Mr Sanders feels differently: “I think the American people, especially in this unprecedented moment in American history, want to hear the ideas that will lead us away from where we are right now.”
Both of the contenders for the Democrat nomination are currently restricted to virtual campaigning including video messages and online town hall discussions.
Almost the sole topic in any interaction with voters is the growing impact of the coronavirus and the current administration’s response.
Sanders feels that the pandemic has caused Americans to rethink the role that government can play in their lives.
“I think there is growing sentiment in this country that people now understand that it is incomprehensible that we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all, that we have an economy which leaves half of our people… living paycheck to paycheck,” Sanders said.
“What kind of system is it where people today are dying, knowing they’re sick, but they’re not going to the hospital because they can’t afford the bill that they’ll be picking up?” he added.
Sanders says that this week’s coronavirus stimulus package will likely be followed by another “massive” bill in the coming month.
Asked if he feels the general election might be entirely consumed by the impact of the coronavirus, Senator Sanders says that he hopes the people’s concerns are broadened into a discussion about how we got here and where the American people want to go next.