On social media, supporters of the write-in Bernie Sanders co-campaigns have come up against challengers claiming that a write-in vote for Bernie is nothing more than a protest vote. A vast majority of the opposition looks exactly like the tweet below. They link to a blog post published in The Hill, which was written in September about a statement Bernie Sanders made the same month pertaining to protest votes.
Sanders discourages third-party votes: 'Not the time for a protest vote' https://t.co/HpSVAZypRO
— Nasty Brasilmagic (@Brasilmagic) November 3, 2016
“This moment in history for a presidential election is not the time for a protest vote,” Sen. Sanders said on CBS’s Face the Nation in September.
Another article out there by My NBC 5, states that Sanders has said not to “waste a write-in vote” on him, but when the author of the article was asked, he stated that New England Cable News had titled the story “Vermont Activists Urge Write-In Votes for Bernie Sanders” and that when New England Cable News asked Sen. Sanders’ office for a comment about OpDeny 270, his office chose not to comment. Without a current comment from Sanders, New England Cable News chose to use the quote from September.
First of all, the comment Sanders made is from September, before the last several WikiLeaks dumps, before the FBI’s surprise announcement, and before the write-in campaign came together. In fact, there’s little reason to believe Sanders had even heard of the campaign to deny Trump and Clinton their 270 electoral votes when he made the comment about protest votes. To be clear, as of Friday afternoon, right before the election, Sen. Sanders has not appeared on any public platform and told people to stop writing him in. Some headlines claim that he has, but upon reading the actual articles, they end up pointing back to his plea from September.
In fact, when a member of the Green Party Radio Network interviewed Bernie on-the-spot in St. Albans, Vermont about the write-in campaign, Sanders made it clear that, while he wanted Clinton to win in states where the battle between her and Trump was close, if the young man wanted to write him in in Vermont, he thought it would be fine.
— ThinkingLiberal (@LiberalThinkg) October 25, 2016
Organizers and supporters of the targeted write-in campaign say very strongly that they are not organizing a protest campaign. The Deny 270 strategy isn’t to win the election in November. It’s to prevent everyone from winning in November. It’s to use the election liberties granted to us by the Twelfth Amendment. The Twelfth Amendment contains a plan that can unravel the two-party system. It says that if no candidate is able to earn 270 electoral votes in the General Election, the decision gets sent to the House of Representatives.
There are multiple electoral college scenarios in which Bernie Sanders, should he take even one state, could prevent both Trump and Clinton from winning the election in November.
The write-in voters aren’t hoping to send a message of protest, they’re hoping to win.
Bernie supporters on bridge on Mission Center over I-8 pic.twitter.com/sLRxPCjfPn
— J W August (@JW_August) November 5, 2016
Real Strategy reported that multiple informal write-in Bernie campaigns “have been digging through election law, organizing volunteers, registering as electors and working on a strategy that they say could put Sanders in the White House.”
While Michael Sparks, the blogger from The Independent Thinker seems to be focused on honoring Bernie with write-in votes only in Vermont, the movement swiftly caught fire and took on a life of its own in a way that no one could contain or control.
Sparks certainly couldn’t contain it to Vermont write-in voters. The founding members of Op Deny 270 couldn’t contain it to just Vermont, New Hampshire, and Oregon write-in voters. Meg Bones, who had been pushing “#DenyEm270” for months before watching it suddenly go viral, noticed that once people in any state learned that they could write Sanders in and have it count, they would want to. Voters kept asking her and other leaders within the movement if their own state would count write-ins.
State after state, Sanders’ supporters checked election codes, called election officials, and triple checked with emails to Secretary of State offices. Many of the verification emails have been uploaded to social media by a Bernie Sanders elector from California named Scott McCampbell. Voters wanted to know if their votes would actually count before writing-in Bernie Sanders, and McCampbell’s emails have been reassuring.
The widely accepted list of states that will allow write-in votes for someone who has not pre-registered as a write-in candidate is as follows: California, Vermont, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Iowa, Washington, Wisconsin, and Oregon.
California activist Denise Pouchet and others looked into election code and court rulings line-by-line, making sure that if it was at all possible that a state would count someone’s write-in vote for Bernie, the people of that state could be made aware. Massachusetts, District of Columbia, and Florida have been disputed heavily, and there is no consensus among all parties involved in the campaigns as to whether or not Bernie could win electoral votes in those areas. The official states listed above, however, have been verified multiple ways, according to organizers.
— #BernThe270 (@BernThe270) November 3, 2016
Krista Pearson, a Colorado Springs resident who co-runs Op Deny 270, told Seattle Weekly that more people are joining everyday. She says that Washington has a long history of supporting third-party candidates and that Sanders took 73 percent of the vote in the Democratic primaries.
“People are excited about it,” Pearson said.
Bernie voters don’t see their votes as protest votes. They are trying to win a President Sanders, using the electoral college and the Constitution.
— Bring Bernie Back (@squidartdotcom) November 3, 2016
It’s not just the diehard Berniecrats that believe that, in this close election, a write-in vote is not a protest vote if the goal is to earn an entire state’s electoral votes. For example, Politico reported that another candidate is now aiming to use the Twelfth Amendment to deny both candidates the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Of course, the article wasn’t about Sanders, but it did claim that Evan McMullin, a relatively unknown Independent had a real shot at the presidency.
“His dream is to block both major-party nominees from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win — mathematically possible if he steals Utah’s six electoral votes.”
Politico reported further.
“Chris Krueger, a well-wired Washington analyst for the investment bank Cowen and Co., wrote in his ‘DC Download’ newsletter on Tuesday that McMullin is the key player in one of two ‘not-impossible scenarios’ that would throw the election into the House. Under what Krueger calls ‘The Utah Scenario,’ if McMullin takes Utah’s six electoral votes, Clinton could wind up with 267 and Trump with 265, both short of 270.”
This is the exact strategy that “Write-In Bernie Strategically” organizers like Meg Bones, founder of the page US, have been promoting long before the nation even heard of Evan McMullin. While many on social media are saying that our House of Representatives would never choose Bernie in a situation like a Twelfth Amendment Election, organizers of the write-in Bernie campaigns know that it’s the members of the House that take office in January that would ultimately vote between the leading three candidates, not the current House of Representatives.
That brings us to the next challenge thrown at the Deny 270 crowd. What if Bernie wins electoral votes, denies Trump and Clinton their wins, but doesn’t want the job anymore? On October 14, after the write-in Bernie campaign had gone viral, Bernie told Bill Maher that he wished he was still running for the presidency, as the Inquisitr reported earlier. That aside, in the event that the decision is thrown to the house, Bernie can either accept the nomination of the people or refuse it. That’s certainly up to him.
If he accepts it, the House will choose between Trump, Clinton, and Sanders. If he rejects it, they will choose between Trump and Clinton.
Sanders knows that he has the cleanest reputation of the lot. Would he be willing to let the House have only Clinton and Trump to choose from, if Clinton’s reputation takes many more hits? Given that each state in the House would vote as a singular representative vote, Bernie, not Clinton, would have the only real chance of winning a state like Wyoming. Meanwhile, other blue states would look back at their primaries and caucuses. Bernie did better in the liberal states. He also did great in the current swing state of New Hampshire. See, in a House of Representative vote, states like Wyoming and New Hampshire would have as much of a vote as California. Both Clinton and Trump lost Wyoming miserably. Even the current House Democrats aren’t as Clinton-loyal as, say, the Democratic superdelegates were, and the next House Democrats could be even more progressive.
See, while Bernie’s supporters have been canvassing, phone-banking, face-banking, decorating freeway bridges in order to let people know that we really could have a President Sanders, and getting electors certified, Sen. Sanders has been busy working on a little thing Berniecrats call a “Brand New Congress.” While Hillary and Trump have been throwing insults back and forth, Bernie Sanders was heavily promoting down ballot Progressives even before he lost his party’s heavily rigged primary election.
Besides all that, though, Sanders knows how hard people have been working on the write-in campaign. It seems most likely that if he wasn’t up for the job, he would have actually announced that he would reject any nomination before early voters could write him in, but he didn’t.
— Message in a Bottle (@AlfredoMendozo) November 1, 2016
Another opposition force claims that a write-in for Bernie will swing states to Trump. It’s true in theory that in some states (the ones that Bernie told the Green party supporter he wanted Clinton to win), people writing in Bernie could deliver that state to Trump. The organizers believe that most people who are going to write-in Bernie were those same people using the hashtags #BernieOrBust and #NeverHillary during the primary season. The organizers don’t believe that very many of these voters would have voted for Clinton anyway. They believe these are mostly independent voters who would have voted third party.
— Bad Brown Sanders (@bad_bad_bernie) October 29, 2016
Regardless, if in swing states, some otherwise Clinton-voting voters write-in Bernie, it’s been calculated for. Scott McCampbell has been keeping tabs on the polls and the projected electoral vote count. In order to deny Clinton 270 electoral votes, she will need to lose a state or two to someone. Trump can pick up a state or two and still fall below the 270 votes he needs as well. This precise argument is why organizers are encouraging a close state like New Hampshire to write-in Bernie, even if they might otherwise vote for Clinton. The organizers also point out that Evan McMullin and Gary Johnson will both be taking traditionally GOP popular votes away from Trump. Meanwhile, Stein will take some popular votes from Clinton. Clearly, the organizers aren’t just having a tantrum. A significant amount of work has gone into the campaign.
Writing in Bernie Sanders is only a protest vote in states where he couldn’t possibly win electoral votes.