The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent, If Clinton Is the Nominee

If you fear Trump, you better vote Bernie Sanders. This sentiment goes for an independent run as well, should Bernie choose to win the White House in this manner. The time is now, and Sanders has come too far, to simply give up if Clinton "wins" the Democratic nomination.
04/29/2016 10:14 am ET Updated Apr 30, 2017
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign even
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Sanders' single win in Rhode Island out of the five contests held on Tuesday puts his opponent Hillary Clinton on the brink of the Democratic presidential nomination. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the record, I still believe Bernie Sanders will become president, especially since the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and server. According to The Daily Banter recently, "She almost certainly isn't going to be indicted." This is about as reassuring as phrases like "It's highly unlikely you won't die from this medication," and "Don't worry, the brakes on your car have an 85% chance of working." In reality, what loyal supporters of Hillary Clinton fail to realize is that even best case scenarios (she doesn't get indicted, but the FBI confirms Obama's assertion that she was "careless"), will only hurt Clinton's already low national favorability ratings. Six months before Election Day, she's not far from Trump in terms of negative favorability ratings, and in some polls, Trump is seen as more trustworthy.

If Clinton circumvents political repercussions from storing 22 Top Secret emails on a private server, and becomes Democratic nominee, there are alternatives for Bernie Sanders. I state the case for Bernie Sanders to run as an independent, if he must, in this YouTube video.

Thus far, Bernie has defied the odds. Vermont's Senator has already achieved the unimaginable, almost tying Clinton nationally and winning 18 contests. Bernie is "in it to win it," but that doesn't mean he shouldn't consider an independent run.

He could win the presidency, running as an independent.

The myth that Ralph Nader gave us Bush's Iraq War ignores the fact Hillary Clinton voted for Iraq, didn't regret her vote in 2004, and stated the Iraqi insurgency was failing in 2005. According to CNN in 2004, Clinton stated "No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction..."

If the Democratic Party blatantly ignores the values and beliefs of millions, and then risks a mutiny from an independent campaign because of this hubris, then it's the DNC that must acquiesce; not the voters against Clinton's neoconservative appeal, or ties to Wall Street.

If you're a Hillary supporter and fear the repercussions of a Trump presidency if Bernie runs as an independent, then switch to Bernie if he runs an independent campaign. This way, you'll ensure that your candidate isn't at risk of an ongoing FBI investigation, and you'll ensure (since Bernie Sanders defeats Trump by a wider margin), that Trump will be defeated. Refusing to support Bernie's independent run, would also be admitting that you don't truly fear a Trump presidency; you just want to instill that fear into others.

From war to Wall Street, and flip flops on everything from the TPP to Keystone XL, a great many Bernie supporters will never support Clinton. On a national stage, Clinton has negative favorability ratings in every single national poll. Beyond the confines of the Democratic establishment, it's a different ballgame. The DNC can't limit debates with Trump, and believe me, Trump won't watch his tone.

No, America isn't a closed Democratic Primary.

Bernie Sanders should run as an independent, if he must, since he could easily win the presidency.

Ralph Nader won 2,882,955 votes in 2000, in a world where gay marriage, diplomatic relations with Cuba, an arms treaty with Iran, and an African American president were seen by millions as virtually impossible. Times have changed, and Bernie is a Democratic-socialist, not a Fox News socialist. That poll you've heard cited, even by Democrats, is completely irrelevant.

Bernie Sanders has thus far earned 8,967,401 votes, despite widespread allegations of voter suppression and a DNC that limited debates; stifling his name recognition for early contests.

Most importantly, Bernie Sanders finally enjoys name recognition. Bernie is now only 3.7 points behind Clinton, nationally. This 3.7-point lead includes recent wins for Clinton, illustrating Bernie's overall strength among voters.

Imagine if the Democratic Primary started today, instead of February 1, 2016.

Bernie Sanders could choose to ride his momentum into November 8, 2016; with independents and Republicans also able to vote in a general election.

Worried about Trump? Bernie beats Trump by a wider margin that Clinton.

Bernie Sanders defeats Donald Trump by 15.2 points. Hillary Clinton is said to be more qualified, but wins by only 8.5 points.

Remember, this 8.5 points is before Donald Trump pivots into a semi-normal human being, where he pretends to care about babies and alludes to the fact he "identified" as a Democrat not long ago.

Also, Hillary Clinton squandered astronomical leads over Obama and Bernie Sanders, losing them both in a matter of months. Name recognition helped Obama and Sanders immeasurably against Clinton, and once voters know there's another choice out there, they tend to pick Clinton's challenger. Like Seth Abramson writes in The Huffington Post, "...on Election Day -- among voters who've been present and attentive for each candidate's commercials, local news coverage, and live events -- Sanders tends to tie or beat Clinton."

Also, Sanders would easily beat Trump at his own game. Independent voters are the biggest partisan group in the United States, with around 43% of American voters identifying politically as independent.

With around 43% of American voters independent, 44.7% of independents favor Bernie Sanders, while 25.9% choose Trump, and only 8.6% side with Hillary Clinton.

As for trustworthiness nationally, Quinnipiac states that 74% of independents find Clinton "not honest and trustworthy." Independents find Trump more trustworthy than Clinton, with 65% of independents finding him "not honest and trustworthy."

Why should Bernie Sanders run an independent campaign?

Because he'd win.

Unlike the battle of lesser evils between Trump and Clinton, Bernie Sanders has the highest favorability ratings in 2016, and 68% of Americans find him trustworthy.

True, Clinton has earned 12,135,109 votes in the Democratic Primary. However, a great percentage of these votes came early on in the primaries, when Americans nationwide, and Democrats, didn't know Bernie Sanders. Tony Brasunas explains why Bernie's name recognition matters in a Huffington Post piece titled Only Voter Suppression Can Stop Bernie Sanders:

Bernie is the one national candidate who people like the more they get to know him. As people learn more about Clinton, Trump, and Cruz, they like them less. As the country learns more about Bernie, they like him more. He's still relatively unknown compared to Clinton and Trump, yet he already outpolls them. Looking at the current trends, one would predict that Bernie Sanders will be the most popular politician in the country come November, just as he is now.

Trump's candidacy is almost a third-party run; a great many Republicans will not vote for him on Election Day.

Another big issue is the fact 25% to 33% of Bernie voters will never support Hillary Clinton. There are Bernie supporters in America who make H. A. Goodman look like Huma Abedin. Also, the more a pro-Hillary super PAC uses it's $1 million to "correct" Bernie voters online, the more animosity generated among Democrats.

It's late April. We have a little over 6 months before Election Day. Bernie is almost tied nationally with Clinton; before the FBI discloses its findings. About 1 out of 3 Bernie voter won't support Clinton (this will increase), and many Republican won't support Trump. Bernie Sanders dominates both Trump and especially Clinton with Independent voters, and Sanders also has great support among Democratic voters. Many Republicans also like Sanders.

Establishment Democrats worried about Bernie splitting the votes, or future Supreme Court justices, will have to put their fears to the test and vote Bernie Sanders, if indeed these fears are real, especially since he defeats Trump by a wider margin.

Bernie isn't Ralph Nader, and he'll likely be more popular than Clinton or Trump in the polls by November. I explain on CNN International that if you fear Trump, you better vote Bernie Sanders. This sentiment goes for an independent run as well, should Bernie choose to win the White House in this manner. The time is now, and Sanders has come too far, to simply give up if Clinton "wins" the Democratic nomination. Also, if Clinton gets indicted after the Democratic convention, Bernie's independent run would be assured of the White House. Cenk Uygur is absolutely correct in this segment of The Young Turks. Future indictments only bolster the case for Bernie Sanders to run an independent campaign, if superdelegates still side with Clinton, even with the reality of DOJ indictments.