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Bernie Sanders Will ‘Assess His Campaign’ After Three More Primary Losses


Former President Barack Obama, who is close to Mr. Biden, has grown increasingly anxious over the difficulties of incorporating the Sanders wing of the party into the Biden coalition, should his former vice president prevail, according to former aides and associates. But he has made it clear he will wait for the Vermont senator to approach him before playing a larger role, one former aide said.

And Larry Cohen, a longtime Sanders confidant who is chairman of Our Revolution, the political organization that spun out of the 2016 Sanders campaign, said it was not in Mr. Sanders’s nature to drop out before all the primaries are over, “but the pandemic and the current delegate count could lead to a different outcome.”

“The delegate count speaks for itself,” he said.

Already, public health concerns have prevented Mr. Sanders from holding his signature rallies and relegated his supporters to phone banking rather than canvassing in person door-to-door. On Tuesday morning, his top spokesman, Mike Casca, said in a statement that the campaign was not conducting “get out the vote” outreach and was instead “making clear to voters that we believe going to the polls amid the coronavirus outbreak is a personal decision.”

Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Maryland have postponed their primaries, and more states could follow, raising the possibility that a significant portion of the election season could stretch well into June.

It is possible Mr. Sanders could stay in the race to collect delegates in order to accumulate leverage and bolster progressive power in party reform — while running what effectively amounts to an inactive campaign as he focuses on his legislative agenda around the coronavirus.

So far Mr. Sanders has not yet been abandoned by a critical mass of his supporters. Robert Reich, the former labor secretary, said Monday that the time had come for Mr. Sanders to concede the nomination to Mr. Biden, but few other Sanders supporters have done so — even while they acknowledge his motivation may be something different from winning the party’s nomination.

Mr. Sanders, “in his career in public life, has been committed to ideas even when the ideas weren’t captivating the public,” said Representative Mark Takano of California, who endorsed Mr. Sanders last week. “These next several primaries are about, I think, keeping those ideas in the forefront.”

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