Why Is Sanders Running As A Democrat?

(Somewhat ironically, a technical error prevented me from getting an archive of the first night with the “new set.”  I’ve embedded the livestream from Facebook here, but I’ve only got the last ten minutes locally and right now FB is not letting me download the video directly.  If/when I can get this archived on YouTube, I will.  For now, you can find it here:  https://www.facebook.com/144898762238389/videos/496311224370776).  Yes I know the audio’s out of sync.)

Why is Bernie running as a Democrat?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders takes the stage on the first night of the second 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

One of the most-often asked questions I see – or depending on who’s talking and what their purpose is, accusations – about Bernie Sanders is why he’s running on the Democratic ticket.  There are a number of reasons, some easier to see and obvious, some not so much.

First and foremost, he’s running on the Democratic ticket because the two major parties have the process locked down and an independent candidate doesn’t have a chance in hell at winning.

Now maybe – MAYBE – if he finds a way to get on the national ticket without the democratic party at this point, if they decide to keep playing to power, depending on how things go over the next couple of months – after all this work and in this time of great crisis that screams out with the voice of millions that the things Sanders has worked for must be done now, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that he could win the electoral college as a write-in. He needs 270 votes.  9 states, for a total of 53 electors, don’t allow write-ins.  The rest – 483 – do, with various requirements.  In Michigan, for instance, you have to file a letter of intent by the beginning of September and have a list of electors.  Each of them must have been a resident of the congressional district for which they’re voting for one year, and a US citizen for ten. But right now I think the inclination of the campaign is to do everything possible to save the one remaining party structure that *could* be saved to energize a united President and Congress to get some things done.  Certainly that’s not the Republicans, so the Dems are what’s left.

But in the end, Bernie’s allegiance is to this country, not a party.  How that will lead him to decide the best way to pursue this situation, I don’t know.  I think if he made sure to dot his I’s and cross his T’s he could be an eligible write-in candidate. Depending on how many districts in which he can win the popular vote at that point, he’s got a margin of 213 electoral votes to work with.

But in the end his allegiance is to doing the right thing for the people of this nation.  He’s entirely uncorrupted by special interests.

That’s. Why. The. Party. Doesn’t. Want. Him. To. Win.

That’s why the power that props the party up, including all the media companies who make all the big campaign donations, do not want him to win.

That is why it does not require a conspiracy. The big money interests, including those who control most of the information you see, do not want a healthy, educated population. Having a healthy, educated population creates opportunity for you which means it creates competition for them in an “open market.”

This is not an open market.  If this market was open, we’d all be making plenty.  We’re not.

This is not a free country.

You are not free when you don’t have your health.

You are not free when you aren’t taught quality critical thinking skills. You can not be free if you can’t think clearly. You can’t think clearly if you’re surrounded by carefully crafted messaging with the direct purpose of keeping you stuck where you are and falling like you have been for decades.

It would be easy and poetic to say that we’ve become so advertising-besotted that we can’t tell a real message from an ad anymore, but sometimes poetry doesn’t tell the story.  The reality is not that you are stupid.

  • The reality is that you have been kept ignorant.  What you hear and see shapes what you believe, and no matter what your race, class, culture, identity, background, current status, that is the truth.

    There is a very small group of people who control what you hear and see for their own interests.  That is also the truth.  In much the same way it does not require a formal conspiracy for like interests to pursue like ends, it does not require traditional authoritarianism to keep at least enough people at heel to discourage the rest who aren’t from rising up in protest.

    One of the ways that works is through recursive authoritarianism.  So and so has this going on at worked that could be improved or has ethical considerations that concern you, but it’s clear that your best interest, and the company’s, is to simply not acknowledge that out loud. So you agree to say nothing and now whatever your position, you have to use it to ensure nobody else does either.  Authoritarianism.

    You are constantly at risk of losing your livelihood if you do the right thing ethically when you’re doing business.  I have been constantly paraphrasing a line from Robert Heinlein lately: the survival of the species is the only universal morality.

    Willful ignorance – the selfish pretense to stupidity

    A whole BUNCH of people are about to hit what a lot of people, including people like me, have lived with most or all of our lives. It is not going to be pretty.

    And where we are mostly not prepared is in our own minds and hearts to just admit that we have been wrong, and do something about it.

    You are watching everything change, right now. It is changing precisely because IT HAS TO.

    It’ll happen the easy way with good leadership – leadership that has consistently stood *against* all these abuses of power and resources, who has consistently worked in the best interests of *the people* and *the nation* and long-term sustainability and health and education and all the other things that go along with REAL freedom.

    This is not an acute problem. This is the predictable result of a systemic problem. We can face that, or we can KEEP trying to pretend “it can’t happen here, not to us, we’re good people, my deity wouldn’t do that to me, we’re just trying to [insert euphemism to rationalize all the ego-driven bullshit of this planet], we’re doing the right thing, all these people who want all these changes are just self-interested, I just want what’s best for me.”

    What’s best for all of us is to start working together instead of against each other. Abundance is everywhere. We have everything we need. We just refuse to let go of the things we don’t, because they’re comfortable.  Because of that, we’ve all become far LESS comfortable than if a few of us weren’t so obstinate about their comfort.

    The future is scary.  The unknown is scary.  The future is unknown.  What is known is that we are at a key point in human history when we can no longer continue to pretend and act at the game of political leadership.  We must lead, individually starting with ourselves, and in the world starting with a capable, competent, non-nonsense president who walks into the office with zero allegiance to anyone but the people who elected him.

  • The global coronavirus pandemic absolutely must be dealt with in an immediate fashion, and it is – as much as the ham-handed boobs currently running the country can manage it.  But we absolutely must not ignore the lessons it brings, because frankly there will be more if we don’t re-prioritize IMMEDIATELY.  To simply deal with the immediate problem is to remain unprepared for the next one.

    Bernie Sanders understands that and is doing his best with a system that has been corrupted almost beyond repair.  Personally, I hope if he loses the Democratic nomination he chooses to move forward as a write-in candidate in any state where he can’t get on the ballot as an independent, immediately if he loses the Democratic primary, which *right now* it appears he may, but we’ll have to see what happens.  The concept of faithless electors exists, too.  We have no idea how the national conventions, which are traditionally where the nominations take place, will turn out yet.  A lot can change between now and then.  I think it would be a mistake to start running independently *before* the official things are officially official, unless they try to drag ass past the deadlines for indys or write-ins to get on ballots.

    But if they officially reject Sanders as a nominee…boy.  I just can’t see him as head of the Senate.  That’s not his job.  And the offer would have to be made – which would immediately break Biden’s campaign promise – and he’d have to accept, neither of which we know anything of right now.


    1. That answer is simple. He can’t win as an independent. No one can. He needs the resources & funding that the DNC can provide.

    2. I think he should have run as a GOPer at this rate. He’d have gotten more and better support from the media at the very least.

    3. Because math. It’s a two party system and 3d party candidates can’t win.

      • There’s a lot more than math involved.

      • John Henry not really.

      • John Henry You can ask Ralph Nader how it works if you are confused. And tell him “thanks” for electing W.

      • There’s also the question of viability, and many others. That’s why it requires long articles and complex discussion.

      • I Loved To Wake Up in the Morning When Barack Obama Was President. Viability? It’s not even close between Bernie and Biden. I trust the primary voters to have gotten it right. Bernie is a great guy, with a lot of good ideas, but like many progressives and progressive movements before him, their role in our two-party system is to generate one or two good ideas which the Dems then incorporate into their platform, a la carte. But his agenda – the whole package – was doomed from the start. Again, in a two-party system, you can’t neglect the independents, and the moderate section of the party. And the Bernie Bros abhor the thought of paying attention to the moderates, let alone falling in line behind one. So they will remain on the sideline, either voting for some random 3d party candidate, or not voting at all, both of which help trump remain in office, because they don’t understand what another 4 years of trump will mean. They would rather be content as keyboard warriors attacking “the system” instead of getting behind a moderate who will have the power to significantly affect the Supreme Court, fix the ACA, protect citizens from gun nuts, protect women’s right to choose, get religion out of government, oppose suppression of voting rights, etc etc. Sooooo maybe you are right that it takes longer discussion…..!

      • Terry Hellenkamp Bernie Sanders is just a career politician who is out to have his ego stroked and to collect as much money as he can just like you did last time. Don’t make the guy out to be some sort of a saint or some sort of an activist. Bernie Sanders has not done anything in his entire career for anyone but Bernie Sanders. And the reason he runs as a Democrat is most likely because he hates Democrats maybe even more than he hates Republicans and he ran against Hillary last time because he truly hates women. so I truly don’t think that Bernie Sanders is a great guy or even a good guy

      • Jayne Barnum Congratulations on writing the stupidest thing I will read all day, hopefully.


    4. You’re not sorry. You will be, but you’re not. Yet.

    5. If “only Democrats” are so great, why don’t we have the critical infrastructure we need?

      More importantly why is it okay that two corporations get to decide who the president is?

    6. Gail Roberts Who gets to decide who is and is not a Democrat? You? The DNC?

      Or would you prefer that he run as an independent and split the vote?

      That’s what Trump and his supporters want, after all. A guaranteed second term for Trump.

    7. John Barelli Like I discussed in the article and the show, this is becoming an increasingly plausible possibility, but I don’t know if it’s becoming increasingly likely. There are arguments for and against right now, but my current position is wait and see what’s going to happen with the three primaries just completed and those upcoming. Let the process do what it’s supposed to. if it proves broken again, then other options are on the table. A write-in candidacy may be one of them. There may be others. We’ll see.

    8. John Henry A “write-in candidacy”?

      You mean, when Bernie, who wants more than anything else to get Trump out of the White House, decides to bow out, you and others will run a write-in campaign for him anyway?

      You must really want Trump to win another term. And if Bernie won’t be your vehicle to that (and he won’t, or I’ve seriously misjudged him and my support was completely misplaced), you’ll find some other sucker to draw votes away from the nominee.

      It wasn’t “broken” last time. Bernie had a fair shot, and he lost. It isn’t “broken” this time either, no matter what kind of spin you want to put on it.

      I was told by someone claiming to be a Bernie supporter that all of his talk about how Biden was a good man that he would support was just “what he has to say”. Apparently some people think Bernie would happily lie and deliberately trick most of the people following him in order to gain the White House for some unspoken agenda.

      But seriously, if he runs an independent campaign, or if someone runs it “for” him, it won’t be to win. It will be to ensure Trump gets another term.

      Lots of big money wants to see that. How much are you getting?

    9. That answer’s simple. He can’t win as an independent. No one can. He needs the resources and the funding the DNC can provide.

    10. John Barelli I’m not interested in pointless arguments and dumb accusations. It’s an option on the table. Maybe you ought to read the article and find out what I mean BEFORE you tell me.

    11. John Barelli literally, it’s the Democratic Party. That’s why democrats get to decide who is a democrat. If you are registered as another party member then you are not a democrat. That’s common sense. But Bernie had said several times he is not a democrat so…. there’s that as well. Is critical thinking really that hard for some folks?

    12. John Henry hell no, a write in candidacy is not an option. And the process is not broken. The person with the most primary votes won in 2016 and that’s how it will be again. It’s not that difficult. If you think letting the voters decide who they want to represent them means the process is broken you’re insane.

    13. Karen Tuttle He uses the party for his benefit & they allow it. I stopped donating to the DNC directly after 2016. I donate directly to a democrat candidate instead. That way my money does not go to support a fake democrat who hates the party & has said so. I don’t get it. Why is it allowed?

    14. I Loved To Wake Up in the Morning When Barack Obama Was President. I did read the article. If it’s “an option on the table”, then please review what happened to the Republicans in 1992, when Ross Perot ran as a spoiler. Clinton might have won anyway (experts are split on that), but certainly Bernie supporters are not split between Biden and Trump to any significant degree.

      I’m not Bill Clinton’s biggest fan, but even he was better than four more years of Bush, so I don’t have an issue with Perot.

      But under no circumstances do I want to risk having that happen to us in 2020, and Bernie has clearly stated that he will abide by the results of the primaries.

      Unless, as has been said to me by a number of folks that I simply assumed were trolls, Bernie really did lie to Democrats in order to gain our support.

      Bernie has taken it off the table. I believed him when he did so.

      Are you telling me he lied?

    15. Karen Tuttle Millions of Democrats have said that Bernie is a Democrat through their votes.

      Or are you saying that the DNC should get to decide for us who we may vote for?

      I find myself arguing with both sides here. Bernie is a Democrat because he ran as one. Far better that than having him run as an independent and split the moderate/liberal/progressive vote. The DNC saying that he couldn’t run as a Democrat could have encouraged just such an independent run. And a Trump victory in November.

      And seriously, if Bernie can’t win the Democratic nomination, what gives anyone the idea that he could win the Presidential election as an independent?

      The most he could be would be a spoiler, and help Trump. I believe him when he says that he doesn’t want to do that.

    16. John Barelli He is a divider. He has said he hates the democratic
      party. I do not like Bernie, I do not like what he stands for. His goal is to turn our party into a SOCIALIST PARTY. He’s a misogynist also. No #NEVERNERNIE.

    17. Gail Roberts So, since you don’t like what Bernie stands for, you certainly don’t want folks like me polluting your party, and we should just stay home this November.

      Despite what Biden says, he really isn’t going to support all those “SOCIALIST” programs that he says he agrees with. That’s just a lie to con us into voting for him?

      Got it, thanks!

      Seriously, you Trump fans should compare notes. The “only Bernie” Trump people tell me that Bernie is lying when he says that he’s not trying to destroy capitalism, and the “never Bernie” Trump people tell me that Biden is lying when he supports most of Bernie’s platform.

      (Pardon me when I believe both of them, and neither of you.)

    18. There are TWO Parties. They are the only game in town.

      Oh yeah, Third Parties? They will show up soon, now that the country is polarized and, especially, the DNC, is polarized. We need to ban all Parties!

    19. Karen Tuttle What is your background in political science?

    20. Gail Roberts – I assume you’ll be sending that check back to the IRS, then?

    21. John Henry Really, democrats are responsible for all our entitlements, not socialist senators.

    22. John Barelli You decide what you are. He’s riding the fence. Dem when it suits him, but really an Independent. It divides our party, which is what his goal it. Bernie is not a democrat.

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