Senator Sanders underwent emergency surgery to reopen a blocked artery at the beginning of October.
After a short break, the 78-year-old was back on the campaign trail in a competitive Democratic primary, but he does not have the energy that he used to. His latest round of campaign ads shows a tired Senator asking supporters to chip in and get on board; a far cry from the energetic Bernie that America saw since the 2016 election. It is fair to say that the heart attack definitely took its toll on him. As much as the campaign pushes the narrative that he is healthy and ready to continue campaigning, doctors recommend limiting stressful activity after such a procedure. Campaigning for President certainly qualifies as stressful activity.
In spite of this, Sanders seems to be hovering at the same 17-20% in national polls, and some have him even higher. In this digital age, it is easier for a candidate in this circumstance to redirect campaign efforts to digital media to keep the campaign running when they are unable to maintain a rigorous event schedule. It also helps that he has near-universal name recognition and has established a nationwide political brand that ties his name to specific policy proposals. These things are keeping him afloat, because the other Democratic candidates are playing nice and not making an issue of Bernie’s declining health.
But Bernie is tired. He has practically been running for President for the last four years, and his intense schedule has caught up with him. His campaign has drastically cut the number of events each day and uses more surrogates now. Members of the campaign, and of the general public, are concerned that the Senator’s heart will not be able to take the stress of a close primary. With his health on the line, it would be in his best interest to take a step back and throw his endorsement behind another candidate. He could very easily get his friend and closest ideological equivalent Senator Warren elected by stepping out of the race at the right time and publicly backing her campaign.
Because of his health and his advanced age, Senator Sanders would not be a two-term President. The polls in individual states show that it would be a hard feat for him to even become a one-term President. If he cares about himself, it is time for him to suspend his campaign and give his body the time to fully recover from his heart attack. If he cares about the party, it is time for him to suspend his campaign and throw his support behind someone that has a similar ideology to lead the party. If he cares about the country, it is time for him to suspend his campaign and make sure that voters don’t have to fear that their nominee may not be able to perform the duties of the office.
Bernie should drop out. He probably will, but it will be at a strategic time to allow the greatest possible benefit to his ideological equivalent, Senator Warren. If his poll numbers remain steady, he will probably drop out around the early primaries, so that other candidates don’t have the opportunity to vie for his base.
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