Mar 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders says he'd drop out if Biden has plurality at Democratic convention

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders at his campaign office in Burlington, Vermont, on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday he would drop out of the 2020 race if Joe Biden won a plurality of pledged delegates at July's Democratic convention.

Details: "If Biden walks into the convention, or at the end of the process, has more votes than me, he's the winner," Sanders told Maddow. But he added if it ended up being that a candidate only had a plurality of votes and a second ballot were required that could potentially be decided by superdelegates "it would be a real, real disaster for the Democratic party."

People would say 'the person who won the most votes didn't get selected.' Not a good idea."

What else he's saying: In his interview with Maddow, Sanders said Biden's references to his Obama administration role were "working well" as the former president is "enormously popular" with most Democrats and African American voters.

  • But he made clear he respected the fact Obama hadn't endorsed any Democratic presidential candidate.

Of note: Sanders made the remarks as he became the latest 2020 candidate to release an ad invoking Obama's image.

Go deeper: Sanders pondered a primary challenge against Obama in 2012

Go deeper

Bernie Sanders to "assess his campaign" after latest round of primary losses

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders will move to "assess his campaign" after Joe Biden's sweep of the Florida, Illinois and Arizona primaries, his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement Wednesday.

The big picture: Sanders trails Biden by almost 300 delegates, making it statistically improbable that he can catch up in the primary race, according to the New York Times.

Joe Biden declared Washington Democratic primary winner

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden was declared on Monday the winner of the Democratic presidential primary in Washington state, AP reports, narrowly defeating Bernie Sanders.

The big picture: Biden was also the winner of Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Missouri on Tuesday — snatching most of the delegates up for grabs from Sanders, who faces a quickly narrowing path to the Democratic nomination.

Sanders says he's staying in race, looks forward to debating Biden

Bernie Sanders said at a press conference Wednesday that he will not suspend his presidential campaign after a second consecutive week of bruising primary losses to Joe Biden, telling reporters that he looks forward to Sunday's one-on-one debate.

Why it matters: Sanders' path to the nomination narrowed significantly after Biden built up his delegate lead in most of the states that voted Tuesday — including the key prize of Michigan, where Sanders' surprise win over Hillary Clinton in 2016 gave him a needed boost of momentum.