A petition calling on Bernie Sanders to make an independent run for the White House is quickly gaining steam after the end of the Democratic primary, with close to 100,000 people now imploring the Vermont Senator to go it alone.
Sanders was looking for a big finish in Tuesday’s primaries so he could make his case to superdelegates that he is the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump in November. A win in California — especially a big win — could have gone a long way to helping make his case, but instead, Sanders lost California and New Jersey by wide margins.
Bernie Sanders appeared defiant at first, saying that he would stick to the plan to take his case to the Democratic National Convention this summer, but that resolve appears to be fizzling. On Thursday, President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton, and a report from Politico indicated that Bernie Sanders was taking steps to wrap up his campaign.
But there are close to 100,000 supporters who hope this isn’t the case. Although Sanders has said consistently that he won’t mount an independent run for the White House, his followers are mounting a major push online trying to get him to reconsider.
The website Movement4Bernie is hosting a petition calling on him to consider his own run for the White House, noting what it called an unfair Democratic primary process.
“You are fighting to win, and we support you. If billionaire interests block you from winning the Democratic nomination we urge you to continue the political revolution by running independently of the Democratic Party rather than endorse Hillary Clinton.
“Your grassroots campaign that we have all worked so hard to build is too important to let its fate be decided by a rigged primary which involves only a small minority of voting. Running in the general election will reach tens of millions more people and can be the start of building a new political party for the 99%.”
The site is created and run by Kshama Sawant, a self-professed socialist and member of Seattle’s city council. Her political goals align almost perfectly with the other self-professed Democratic socialist on the other side of the United States.
Like Bernie Sanders, Sawant is an advocate for the 99 percent, fighting for affordable housing, higher wages, and higher taxes on the rich to fund public transportation and public education in Seattle. She was a major player in the city’s fight for a $15 minimum wage, which also happens to be a major plank in the Sanders platform.
On the website, Sawant said that Bernie Sanders has shown he can raise the resources to mount a formidable independent run at the White House. She noted that his run was blocked by the Democratic Party establishment and called on Sanders to run either as an independent or on the Green Party ticket with Jill Stein.
“Despite all the obstacles thrown in the path of Bernie Sanders by the corrupted American electoral system, his campaign has made an enormous impact. Sanders has become a lightening rod for the enormous discontent at the billionaire class and its domination over the political system. His campaign has shown the widespread support for breaking up Wall Street, free higher education, a $15/hr minimum wage, single payer healthcare, major public investment in renewable energy, and reforming a broken criminal justice system.”
That’s not the only effort trying to get Bernie Sanders to make an independent presidential run. A separate petition on Change.org has close to 20,000 signatures, and many other supporters have made appeals online for Sanders to buck the Democratic Party and run.
For now, Bernie Sanders has given no indication that he may reconsider an independent White House run, but that isn’t slowing down the rapidly growing movement calling on him to keep his campaign alive.
[Image via Instagram/Bernie Sanders]