A Bernie Sanders Independent run for President is not something that gets talked about much among Democrats or the mainstream media, beyond this one piece from the Guardian.
The thinking is that Sanders will graciously bow out of the race once it becomes clear that he has no chance against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
This thinking is flawed in a couple of key regards, however.
One, it assumes that Hillary Clinton will win the nomination outright, which will not be a “done deal” until the primaries are going and people are actually casting votes; two, it assumes that Bernie doesn’t really want to be President of the United States and is just running his campaign for show.
Tell that to the Vermont Senator’s supporters and see how far you get.
The reality is that a Bernie Sanders Independent run is very much a possibility. In fact, it would be a shock if he didn’t do it.
Sanders has perhaps more grassroots support than any other candidate. He certainly has more grassroots donations, the L.A. Times reports.
His supporters are substantial, and they are vocal.
They do not foresee Hillary Clinton as the anointed one. What they think wouldn’t mean anything if he was Ralph Nader, but quite clearly, he isn’t.
He carries a substantial amount of support at this time and has even beaten Clinton in a few polls, most significantly this one from the significant early primary state of New Hampshire, MSNBC reports.
Bowing out of the race and allowing Hillary to forge her path to the White House as the possible first female President would be a no-brainer should she win the nomination and face only one Republican challenger in November.
However, there is a very real possibility Donald Trump could run as a third-party candidate should the GOP decide to broker their convention and go with a more established candidate.
While Trump has said he is committed to running as a Republican, after some initial hesitancy, the establishment leaders are clearly not as sold on him.
If they renege on that nomination in the face of Trump’s overwhelming support — and if he has the votes to warrant it as many polls have indicated he has — then it’s almost a given Trump would forge ahead with an Independent campaign, and it would be a significant one.
A Bernie Sanders Independent run, with the support that he has already received, could really shake things up at that point, taking the general election from run-of-the-mill Republicans vs. Democrats to the first election in years where a third party had a viable chance of winning the White House.
Sanders would not have to win a majority of the vote to win the Presidency. He would only have to win the highest percentage. This would ignite his base and give them something to believe in rather than simply voting Hillary because there is no other choice.
Since Clinton already has problems with trustworthiness and Sanders’ character reputation is more favorable among many Democrats and Independents [per Huffington Post], he could steal thunder from both Hillary and Trump’s campaigns, and that momentum could place him in the White House.
Therefore, a Bernie Sanders Independent run is something that his supporters should be clamoring for if Hillary wins the nomination and Trump decides to run as an Independent. And if Bernie wants to prove that he’s the candidate he says that he is, he’ll go through with it.
Of course, that isn’t something the Senator wants to do just yet.
But what do you think, readers?
Would a Bernie Sanders Independent run spell doom for the Democrats, or would it be exactly what his chances of winning — and the country — needs to survive? Sound off in the comments section below.