Sanders: I'm staying in the race and I'm ready for the next debate

After the last primary sweep for Joe Biden, it seemed inevitable that Bernie Sanders would decide to drop out of the race and support the presumptive nominee, but that hasn’t happened. On the contrary, Sanders’ announced today that he plans to stay in the race until at least the end of April when the NY primary is scheduled to take place:

In a Tuesday morning email, the Vermont senator’s campaign said they were ramping up for the next round of primaries with thousands of volunteers phone-banking and organizing in the Empire State.

“In the ramp up to the New York primary, Bernie 2020 today announced full-time state staff and a broadscale digital organizing program throughout the state,” the email read…

“At a time of so much uncertainty and struggle, we have been blown away by the huge grassroots support for Bernie in New York, and the eagerness of people across the state to rally around an agenda that works for working people,” campaign New York state director Rafael Navar said.

As I wrote earlier, New York is now expecting the peak of the coronavirus wave to hit around the middle of April. If that happens and if the health system is overrun as Gov. Cuomo is afraid it will be, I don’t think New York will hold its primary a couple of weeks later. There are already suggestions that the state should scrap it altogether. Sanders’ campaign also said Tuesday it was looking forward to the next debate which, as of today, hasn’t even been scheduled yet:

Senator Bernie Sanders plans to participate in the Democratic presidential debate in April if one is held, his campaign said on Tuesday, the strongest indication yet that he plans to continue competing against Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 primary for the foreseeable future.

The Democratic National Committee has said previously that there would be a debate in April, but one has not been scheduled. The committee has not announced a media partner or a site host — critical elements that are typically agreed upon at least a month in advance. The coronavirus crisis has already upended most facets of the Democratic primary, and there is no guarantee that the debate will take place.

Still, the fact that the Sanders campaign is signaling, for now, that he would be on a debate stage in April is a strikingly public sign of the Vermont senator’s determination to wield political influence and challenge Mr. Biden for primacy despite the former vice president’s nearly insurmountable delegate lead.

Again, I think the US has bigger problems to deal with than scheduling a debate for a race that is already over. But who knows, maybe Biden will signal interest as a way to get himself back on television. So far his plan to broadcast shadow briefings from his home has been a mixed bag. By the way, Biden was supposed to hold his second daily briefing today but it was canceled without explanation. As I saw someone say on Twitter: He got one in a row.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders has basically been doing the same thing Biden is doing. He’s running live-stream discussions to talk about the virus every day. There’s one happening right now (as I write this). Yesterday’s briefing from Sanders looked a lot like a socialist version of a late-night talk show. Or, you know, just a normal late-night talk show these days. He had a musical guest and was joined by three members of the Squad. It’s pretty painful to watch but I guess his fans like this better than having him drop out and pledge his support to Joe Biden.