If BERNIE SANDERS runs, should he run as a Democrat or as an Independent? The following excerpts are from COMMON DREAMS (March 10, 2014)
For Peter Dreier, a historian of progressivism and politics at Occidental College, there is only one approach that he thinks viable.
“I’d support a Sanders campaign,” Dreier told Common Dreams, but only—capitalizing IF—”he ran in the Democratic Party primaries and not as an independent candidate.”
A Sanders campaign inside the party, he continued, “could (1) draw a great deal of media attention, shift the agenda, and help raise public awareness about corporate power and widening inequality, (2) push Hillary to the left on key issues, and (3) help build a progressive infrastructure within the Democratic Party similar to how the DLC moved the party toward the corporate center. I would love to see Bernie in action during the primary season’s televised debates. I would NOT support Bernie running as an independent candidate, where he’d run the risk of being a spoiler in battleground states and handing the White House over to the Republicans.”
On the other side, Kolhatkar voiced support for Sanders challenging from outside as a way to create “long term change” and avoid “just a different kind of campaign with a different kind of Democrat” candidate.
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“Bernie could stun the corporate Democrats by running inside the party primaries and caucuses,” says Cohen. “When Sen. Gene McCarthy went into the 1968 New Hampshire primary to challenge President LBJ and the Democratic establishment over Vietnam, he won 42% of the vote, drove LBJ out of the race, and showed that antiwar sentiment was widespread.”
Citing a recent opinion survey of their group’s membership, Solomon said that “among those with an opinion on whether he should run in the Democratic primaries, a clear majority is saying ‘Yes.'”
And, according to Solomon, progressives nationally “need to be able to build coalitions and show electoral strength. I don’t think there’s any doubt that as a presidential candidate Bernie could roll up much bigger percentages in Democratic primaries than he could as an independent or small-party candidate on general-election ballots.”