Is Sanders’ End Game to Sell Out His ‘Political Revolution’ or to Take It All the Way to November?
To date, Sanders has not even responded to Stein’s offer, which was made in a letter which she released publicly. But that said, he has also not rejected her offer. His only statement so far regarding running for president outside of the Democratic Party, has been one made early in his campaign, saying he did not want to be “another “Nader” -- a reference to Ralph Nader’s role running for president as an independent in 2000, which many people saw (wrongly) as having thrown the Florida vote, and thus the national election to George W. Bush instead of Al Gore. But as Sanders surely knows, his running as a Green nominee would not at all be like Nader running as an independent -- and 2016 is nothing like 2000 either.
As I have written before, when Nader ran in 2000, he was an independent and had to spend enormous amounts of time and money battling obstructive state laws designed to keep independents off of state ballots. As well, he only scored a few points in national polls, and so was never allowed into any of the presidential debates, and never got any coverage in the media. This meant that most people, even given Nader’s wide name recognition as a consumer advocate, he was an unknown as far as his progressive campaign positions went. In contrast, Sanders, running as a Democrat this election year, was automatically in all the televised Democratic primary debates, and since he campaigned relentlessly in 46 states and ran as a candidate against Clinton in all 50 state primaries (plus DC and Puerto Rico), he and his policies and principles are as well or better known to voters as are Clinton’s. The media has had to take him seriously, and with his popular base of millions of voters -- something Nader never had -- would continue to have to report on him as a Green candidate. Because of that, Sanders would surely continue polling in high double digits (perhaps higher than Trump or Clinton!) and would thus have to be included in the coming presidential debates. And his proven ability already to raise over $200 million during the primaries in just small donations from his supporters will continue if he runs as a green, assuring that even in the area of buying paid advertising, and covering the costs of a national campaign, he will be competitive (he will also easily qualify for federal matching funds based upon whatever he raises from his non-corporate donors).
That is to say, put simply, Sanders not only would not be a “spoiler” running as a Green candidate for president. He would be a contender, and perhaps even a winner.