Running as an Independent, Sanders could win, according to a multitude of polls, the number of people voting for him, and those trying to vote for him in closed primaries.
The math adds up for Sanders, presuming it’s a three-way race between Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Independent Bernie Sanders. Here are the numbers, according to RealClearPolitics.
Donald Trump has gotten about 10 million votes to date. Clinton and Sanders have gotten about 12 and 9 million votes to date. However, Clinton’s lead of three million votes seems to come not from people voting in favor of her over Sanders, but from Sanders’ voters not being able to vote.
These Sanders’ voters will be able to vote in the general election and are largely independent voters who have been shut out of closed primaries, as the Hill reports.
Sanders himself indicated that in just New York alone, three million voters — the amount of Clinton’s lead — were kept away from the voting process.
“Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries,” Sander explained. “That’s wrong.”
He continued, “You’re paying for this election; it’s administered by the state, [and] you have a right to vote,” Sanders told one of his supporters [who couldn’t find a way under the rules to cast his vote.] “That’s a very unfortunate thing that I hope will change in the future.”
Sanders voters feel burned in New York: Got a minute? Indies fume at being shut out of Dem primary … Clinton p... https://t.co/ZFXuykVYri— Woody (@Harley_Woody) April 19, 2016
And while many of the independent voters who have been shut out across the nation might be Trump voters, Sanders has consistently won independent voters, and beaten Trump, in just about every one of the many polls taken this election season.
The following report shows not only Sanders beating Clinton among independent voters, but in a nationwide poll, “Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton by a 47-42 margin… Sanders beats Clinton by a narrow margin of 49-48 among registered Democrats, and he demolishes Clinton by 16 points among self-identified independents.”
Therefore, when the votes Sanders’ has earned so far are added to the estimated votes for him that could not be counted in the primaries but would be counted in the general election, and considering the national polls, Sanders seems to beat both Clinton and Trump.
For this and other reasons, such as his trustworthiness, some people are making the case for Sanders to run as an Independent.
The following was published in the Huffington Post.
“Bernie Sanders should run as an independent… 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.”
Sanders’ campaign manager has stated that Bernie is committed to running as a Democrat, but he also notes how Sanders has energized independents and is committed to keeping Trump out of the presidency — something that Sanders may only be able to do if he is on the ballot in the general election.
Bernie Sanders campaign manager responds to Donald Trump's suggestion Sanders should run as an Independent. https://t.co/eyzra5gjTU— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) April 27, 2016
But running as an Independent is not as easy as it sounds. First, many people believe that Sanders can wait until the convention at the end of July, see if he becomes the Democratic nominee, and if not, run as an Independent.
As it turns out, there are three ways to become a presidential candidate, and none of them are simple.
The most-used method is the one Sanders is currently trying — to be selected by one of the two national parties, Republican or Democrat. As the public is learning, this is a complex process involving many closed primaries and the votes of superdelegates who can do whatever the heck they want regardless of public opinion.
Another way is to be a write-in candidate, but that does not mean that voters simply write-in their pick for president. In fact, seven states don’t allow write-in candidates, so anyone hoping to be president would have to get enough votes without counting those from Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, or South Dakota.
Also, in several states, a candidate has to jump through hoops, such as filing paperwork and getting signatures, to have write-in votes count for them.
And then there is the option of running as an Independent. There are hoops with this too, but at least all 50 states and Washington D.C., allow it. However, there are deadlines in each state to get on the ballot as an Independent, and some states require a list of signatures, so becoming an Independent candidate takes some time and effort.
Here’s the rub: Many of the state’s deadlines for becoming an Independent candidate happen before the Democratic convention.
This means that Bernie Sanders must make his decision about running as an Independent very soon — by May 9, if he wishes to be on the ballot in Texas.
Deadlines to run as an Independent (and therefore to collect votes) in individual states start with Texas’ early May 9 deadline, and then about a dozen more happen in June and July, before the Democratic convention.
So it’s now or never if Sanders wants to be considered as an Independent candidate in more states than those with deadlines after the Democratic convention.
While Sanders initially said he would not run as an Independent, his statement came long before the widespread voter issues. These have been so serious as to spur lawsuits, such as the one in Arizona where there were not enough places for people to cast their votes, as noted in the Washington Post, and the switch made by the head of New York’s Board of Elections, from defending his staff to instead making an apology to the public.
“‘I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the public for any actions that might have been taken by our staff that may have caused any amount of the public trust in New York City to erode,’ executive director Michael Ryan told a crowd of nearly 100 who packed the board’s weekly meeting.
“That was a reversal from his position last week, when he told Fox 5’s ‘Good Day New York’ he was ‘proud’ of his staff.”
These issues and his faithful supporters might convince Bernie to change his mind and run as an Independent. But some say that this is exactly what Donald Trump wants — Sanders to run as an Independent. Because that will allegedly help Trump get elected.
However, the currently published math doesn’t secure Trump a win if Sanders runs as an Independent. In fact, it indicates that if he runs as an Independent, Sanders could very well win the White House, but he must make his decision soon to start getting on state ballots as an Independent candidate.
[Photo by John Gress/Getty Images]