Should Bernie Run as an Independent?

It’s been a tumultuous past couple of days for Bernie Sanders supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters alike. On the one hand, history was made as the first woman clinched a presidential nomination. On the other, Sanders fell short in California, but pledged not to give up the fight, announcing he would continue his campaign at the final primary in Washinton D.C., June 14.

 

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Sawant speaking at a rally to stike poverty

While Hillary’s lead in superdelegates has been firmly established, Sanders supporters believe that once the votes are finished being tallied in California, Sanders may actually have been closer to claiming the state that reports originally suggested. For them, his campaign is far from over, many going as far as to suggest that should Clinton claim the Democratic nomination, Sanders should run as an independent. A campaign lead by Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant states:

“His campaign has shown the widespread support for breaking up Wall Street, free higher education, a $15/hr minimum wage, single payer healthcare, major public investment in renewable energy, and reforming a broken criminal justice system.”

 While many worry that an independent run from the Vermont Senator would divide the left, the foreplanning councilwoman has already constructed a counter-point stating:

If electing a Republican is really Bernie’s main concern, there is no reason he could not at least run in the 40+ states where it’s absolutely clear the Democratic or Republican candidate will win, while not putting his name on the 5-10 closely contested ‘swing states.'”

Could Bernie be this year’s Ralph Nader?

Although this is an option, it could cause a situation similar to the Al Gore/Ralph Nader situation in New Hampshire in the 2000, where 22’000 votes for Nader cost Gore the election. The counter-argument would be that Bernie provides an option for voters who would rather not vote for Trump or Hillary, and in Republican states this could help Hillary more than hurt her. As pointed out by Sawant without Bernie the opposite could happen:

“If Bernie drops out to back Hillary it would leave Trump, Cruz, or other right-wing Republicans a free hand to monopolize the growing anti-establishment anger, while most of the left is trapped behind Clinton, the crowning symbol of establishment, dynastic, Wall Street politics. Could the far-right even dream up a better scenario to build their forces? While Trump might not win the election, support for hard-right populist politics will grow if there no fighting left alternative offered.”

So should Bernie run as an independent? That’s up for him to decide, but as of right now, over 70’000 of you agree. You can sign the petition for an independent Bernie here.