The candidate favoured by Muslims to win the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election has pulled out of the race to the White House.
Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist whose progressive agenda pushed the Democratic Party sharply to the left, ended his campaign on Wednesday, clearing the way for a November 3 election battle between former Vice President Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump.
Sanders, who promised to lead a grassroots political revolution into the White House, acknowledged he no longer had a path to victory after a string of decisive nominating contest losses to Biden, but promised to work with his more moderate former rival to oust Trump.
“I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win, and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour,” he said in an online speech to supporters from Vermont.
In February Sanders won endorsements from a national Muslim political organising group and came top in a survey of Muslim voters.
The national board of the Muslim Caucus in America said: “For decades, Senator Sanders has been consistent in fighting for progressive policies and has demonstrated in word and in action the need to care for all Americans regardless of race, creed, or class,” the organisation explained in its endorsement. “His passion has ignited a whole generation committed to disrupting corruption, inequality, and all forms of racial injustice.”
The endorsement pointed to Sanders’ long history as a civil rights and labour rights activist, his commitment to ending “endless wars” and his statements in favour of vulnerable Muslim communities around the world including Palestinians, Kashmiris, Bosnians and Uighurs.
Meanwhile, a survey by the Council on American-Islamic relations, which surveyed 346 registered Muslim voters across the country who said they would support a Democratic candidate for president, found that Sanders won the largest share with 39% support. He was followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, at 27%.
During his campaign Sanders called Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist,” and blasted Saudi Arabia’s rulers as “murderous thugs” while calling for an even-handed US diplomacy that prioritises human rights and multilateralism.
The Vermont senator proposed conditioning U.S. military aid for Israel to push it to end its occupation of Palestinian territories. He also called for lifting the blockade on Gaza and addressing the humanitarian crisis there.
In the Senate, he was one of the leading voices working to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and he was one of two legislators to reject a bill to impose sanctions against Iran in 2017.
On the other hand, Biden, who describes himself as a Zionist, has been a staunch supporter of Israel throughout his political career. Last December, he dismissed Sanders’ pledge to condition aid to Israel as “bizarre.”
The former vice president also sent a video message to the conference of the Israeli lobby AIPAC in March, breaking with his more liberal opponents who boycotted the event.