Counterpunch recently published an article by Dave Lindorff The Push To Make Sanders The Green Party Candidate.
The enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders is phenomenal. His meteoric rise in popularity and influence is astounding. From being an asterisk in early polling, Sanders has now eclipsed Hillary Clinton in popular support in every major opinion poll.
Sanders has effectively fought the entrenched establishment candidate and her allies to a virtual tie. There remains a path to victory, albeit extremely narrow and unlikely.
Sanders has from the outset promised he would support the Democratic nominee. Many of his supporters, caught up in the euphoria of backing a candidate they love and admire, are urging Bernie to run as a write-in candidate, an independent, or on a third party ticket, rather than support Hillary and remain a Democrat.
Lindorff’s is another voice in that choir. A choir, unfortunately, without a clue.
His article is certainly passionate, but is very short on analysis. The Green party is only on the ballot in 25 states, according to the article. Let’s assume for the purpose of discussion that it is on all state and territories’ ballots. Or assume Sanders could cobble together ballot positions through an assemblage of minor parties in states where the Greens are not on the ballot. Assume Bernie has no problem in being ballot qualified everywhere as a third party or independent candidate.
The wisdom being shared in the Counterpunch article conveniently avoids discussing the mechanics of the election process. Our electoral system is not even close to being democratic. To win the presidency, a candidate must win a majority of the votes in the Electoral College. Even were Bernie to perform spectacularly, the likelihood of his being able to assemble the 270 Electoral votes necessary to win is negligible in a three way race.
With no candidate in possession of 270 Electoral votes, the election is thrown into the House of Representatives. Each state has one vote in the presidential election process. And each state’s vote is determined by the votes of the state’s congressional delegation. The Republicans control the majority of state delegations and would elect the next president. Bernie might win Vermont.
In that effort, Bernie will have forgone any chance of being the most important Democrat in the country, which he would be if Hillary loses the presidency and Bernie remained a Democrat.
The upside of the Bernie third party effort would be a vitalized Green party. The downside would be abandoning the Democratic party.
With the defeat of Hillary, Bernie’s revolution would continue unabated and unchallenged by Wall Street Democrats. Progressives would control the party, grow its base, attract new voters, primary conservative Democrats, and nominate a true progressive in 2020. Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, or another member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party would be our nominee.
It is infinitely easier to take over an existing national party than it is to create one. With Hillary’s defeat, the Democrats will become the new progressive party, and would advance policies presently advocated by Greens, Peace and Freedom, Socialists, Humane party, etc.
The Democrats have the opportunity to become a party of the left. To become THE party of the left.
But only if we ensure that Trump beats Hillary.
All other scenarios and game plans are smoke and mirrors.
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