Latest Sanders Campaign Emails Leave Supporters No Way to Contribute Cash

Sanders suspends Facebook, Instagram ads amid campaign 'assessment'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) / Getty Images
March 18, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suspended digital ads on multiple social media platforms hours after announcing he is reassessing his campaign.

Facebook's ad library, which also discloses spending on Facebook-owned Instagram, indicates that the Vermont senator has zero active ad campaigns as of Wednesday morning. The complete shutdown comes after Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir released a statement indicating that Sanders "is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign." The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The campaign reassessment and ad shutdown come the day after another round of humiliating defeats for the self-described democratic socialist, as former vice president Joe Biden won primaries in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona by commanding margins. While Sanders is not mathematically eliminated from the Democratic nomination, FiveThirtyEight gives Sanders less than a 1 percent chance of winning the nomination.

Biden is running about 400 active ads on Facebook and Instagram, President Donald Trump is running more than 2,000, and even long-shot candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) has 2 active ads.

The ad shutdown is particularly meaningful in Sanders's case, given how heavily the candidate has relied on small donations and digital advertising for fundraising and messaging. Sanders has spent $13 million on Facebook and Instagram ads since May 2018, almost doubling Biden's $7.4 million.

NBC News's Alex Seitz-Wald also noted that an email from Shakir to supporters announcing the campaign's reassessment lacked the usual donation button, possibly indicating that Sanders does not want to solicit funds for a campaign that could soon shutter.