Bernie Sanders Cannot Drop Out.

He needs to stay in the race, and we need his message more than ever.

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Photo via Bernie Sanders on Instagram

It has been a little over a month since Super Tuesday, and yet it feels like an eternity ago. Watching the democratic party’s eerily rapid consolidation around denying healthcare coverage to every American was something I don’t think I will ever be able to forget or forgive, and the events that have happened since just make everything going on within the democratic party even more surreal. In the midst of an escalating health crisis that has killed thousands and left ten million more people uninsured, it has never been more clear that this is the moment Bernie Sanders was made for.

In mere weeks we have seen the unimaginable culmination of everything the senator has been railing about for decades, and we need him to continue that message now more than ever. Of course, that reality only made the news that his campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Representative Pramila Jayapal have begun to urge him to exit the democratic primary, and pave the way for Joe Biden to secure the nomination once and for all even more upsetting.

Bernie Sanders cannot exit the race.

From the very beginning, one of the central messages of his campaign was not a statement, but a question: are you willing to fight for someone you don’t know? Well Bernie has been fighting for someone he doesn’t know for forty years, and now is absolutely not the time to end that fight. Regardless of what his advisors may be telling him, the calls from his base to continue this race have been resounding, and we have fought too hard for this to end now.

Bernie doesn’t owe the democratic party anything. He owes the sixteen and seventeen year old organizers who were fighting for him before they’re even old enough to vote. He owes the volunteers who were knocking on countless doors all across the country, traveling hundreds if not thousands of miles from every corner of the nation to early voting states in order to help him and this movement achieve success. Of course, I understand the rationale about suspending campaign fundraising, but suspending the campaign itself when his base does not want him to is another thing altogether.

This is not the time to let the progressive message fade.

Bernie Sanders is the reason that the issue of Medicare For All has been overwhelmingly popular in every single state that has voted thus far. He is the reason we are talking about the cancellation of student loan debt, and the fact that companies like Amazon and Netflix are not paying a penny in taxes. We are living in the middle of a pivotal, unprecedented time when virtually every single average middle, working class, and poor American in the country is beginning to come to terms with and question the instability of the economic and political structures around them. This is the moment for Bernie to continue to speak to their pain louder than ever before.

While there is no denying that short term success and a Bernie Sanders victory in the primary for 2020 will be unlikely, this is about what happens after. This is about ensuring that the victory of the ideological debate around issues like healthcare, student debt, and economic inequality does not fade at a time when these conversations are more important than ever before.

Now is not the time to pack it in, and cave to the pressure of those who want nothing more than to see the message of this campaign die. Now is the time to be relentless, and remind those against the movement that we are not going anywhere any time soon. There is too much at stake to give up now, and Bernie has a responsibility to the people he has drawn in to the electoral process to continue this fight.

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Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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