Terrible Choices From Major Parties Leading To High Degree Of Interest In Third Party Candidates In 2016

Independent Candidate

The Democratic establishment, and their supporters, mistakingly blame the protest against Hillary Clinton on Bernie Sanders. There is no question that a tremendous number of Democrats and independents prefer Sanders over Clinton, but this is far more than a battle between personalities. It is over principles. Martin Longman tried to set Democrats straight in writing, It’s Not All About Bernie:

Perhaps it is unfortunate, in a way, that Bernie Sanders has a substantial amount of personal charisma and has won the allegiance of quite a number of people based on them liking him personally rather than for what he has to say about U.S. foreign policy and economic justice. The reason I say this isn’t because I think this number is that large, but more because it has contributed to a sense that there is a Cult of Bernie with ardent and sometimes misbehaving acolytes. Some people call them Bernie Bros., but that insulting catch-all doesn’t capture what’s driving so many Democrats into the arms of an (until recently) independent Socialist who is still a harsh critic of the Democratic Party and its leadership.

From a personal perspective, I’ve been traveling in progressive circles for more than a decade now, and I’ve been part of the liberal blogosphere almost since its inception. By far, most of the people I’ve become acquainted with, many of whom are among the most committed and experienced Democratic organizers and partisans you will find, have been Bernie Sanders supporters from the beginning of this campaign. By and large, they aren’t part of any cult and they haven’t been drinking any Kool-Aid.

The liberal blogosphere snapped into existence at a time when it seemed that the Democratic Party had lost its way. They had lost the election in 2000 (made it close enough to steal, if you will), had failed to stop Bush’s devastating tax cuts, and were showing no backbone against Bush’s post-9/11 national security insanity. In the 2002 midterms, the Democrats performed much worse than expected.

Meanwhile, the media was not questioning the assumptions behind or the factual basis for the march to war in Iraq, and they were painting concerned citizens as unpatriotic.

In the beginning, the progressive backlash against this didn’t much include any retrospective condemnation of the Clinton administration, except to the limited degree that some blamed it for letting things get so out of whack. It wasn’t until we had the 2008 primary that progressives began having an internal argument about the legacy of the Democratic Leadership Council and the triangulating ways of Bill Clinton. This was fueled further when the economy collapsed in September of that year, which eventually led to the Occupy Movement and a further split on the progressive left…

So, what the Sanders campaign really is when you get past the idiosyncrasies of Bernie Sanders, is an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a desire to change the party to meet the needs of the country on a more urgent basis. And the practical way that can be done is by having their voices heard at the convention. To the degree that this ambition is shunted, the progressive conscience of the party is marginalized and frustrated.

The focus shouldn’t be so much on personalities or the worst behavior of the loudest and most annoying people. It should be on the big picture. Young people, in particular, are vastly more attracted to the Sanders message than what is being offered by Clinton. These are potentially Democratic Party members for life, but that isn’t going to happen automatically, and especially not if they feel that their beliefs are unacceptable and have been defeated.

Many of us are seeing our principles betrayed by having the party establishment back Hillary Clinton. Those of us who backed the Democrats in protest against George W. Bush’s foreign policy and neoconservativism are not going to automatically vote Democratic if this year it is the Democrats who are running the neocon as their candidate. Similarly, those of us who protested the violations of civil liberties, hostility towards government transparency, the role of money in government, and the support for an increased role of religion in public policy under Bush are not pleased to see a Democratic candidate who shares these faults. Plus Clinton is to the right of Trump on issues ranging from trade to drug policy. The election of Hillary Clinton looks like a third term for the policies of George W. Bush with the ethics of Richard Nixon.

Clinton certainly has the edge in the election, but it is now looking very close. If Democrats want the support of those who backed them in opposition to Republican policies, and if they want to win, they need to offer a candidate who respects our values–not one who quotes arguments from The Wall Street Journal to attack Medicare for All and other progressive programs. If the Democratic Party doesn’t offer an acceptable candidate, many voters will look elsewhere.

Third party candidates have the potential to disrupt the Democratic/Republican monopoly more than usual this year. A Data Targeting poll from today shows that “55% of respondents favor having an independent presidential ticket in 2016.” This includes “91% of voters under the age of 29.” In addition, “65% of respondents are at least somewhat, pretty or very willing to support a candidate for President who is not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.” Both Trump and Clinton have historically high negatives. While I am skeptical that this will actually occur, here is their most dramatic finding:

In a ballot test against Clinton and Trump, a truly independent candidate starts off with 21% of the vote.

This number increases to 29% in the “Big Sky” region, 30% in “New England” and 28% in the “West” region.
Among voters with an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton, the independent actually wins the ballot test

TRUMP: 11%

Democrats can greatly reduce the risk of seeing Donald Trump being elected by nominating a candidate who stands up for Democratic principles like Bernie Sanders. Otherwise they risk losing a generation of potential voters, and possibly the beginning of the end of our current two party system if it fails to provide a true choice.


  1. 1
    Adrienne says:

    HEAD'S UP TALKING HEADS: The anger of Bernie's supporters has been a process called: REACTION. 

    Every time Hillary & the DNC have lied, cheated, insulted Bernie – their ACTION, SUPPORTERS HAVE BECOME MORE ANGRY – REACTION.

    While Bernie has maintained course, HILLARY ET AL HAS HARDENED US INTO OUR POSITION OF #NOTHILLARYEVER. That's not on Bernie – IT'S ON HILLARY & COMPANY. 

    If you log-heads were real investigative journalists, you'd have read across the multitude of Bernie supporter FB sites and seen the evolution. 

    In early March, much commentary on those sites reflected a general feeling of "I'd prefer Bernie, but if he's not nominated, I'll vote for Hillary." 

    With each bit of election fraud, DNC chair action to rig the election for Hillary, with each state Dem party that accepted the Hillary Victory Fund bribe and cheated to help Hill win, the anger expressed by Bernie supporters ratcheted. 

    Again, these are FACTS – you panelists need to start trying them before saying stupid stuff like "there's been no rigging." (See Chicago BOE Election Fraud Proven, DailyKos.)

    Through this and Hillarys repeated efforts to discredit and marginalize Sanders, aided and abetted in extremis by corporate media and it's talking heads, Bernie remained focused on just moving towards the goal. Despite Hillarys smarmy and low blows, BERNIE TALKED ISSUES. – A fact for which the Dem party began to credit itself. 

    Yet the lies and cheating have continued apace. If, again, any of you were real investigative journalists familiar with the tenets of a real democracy, you might have noticed that the REACTION OF BERNIE SUPPORTERS IS TO HAVING THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE CORRUPTED TO THE EXTREME, WITH NO-ONE IN DEM LEADERSHIP OBJECTING. INSTEAD, THEY WERE LEADING THIS NEFARIOUS DISENFRANCHISEMENT. But that would take work-like reading FaceBook sites…

    Worst of all, Pres. Obama, who's the head of the Dem party, HAS COLLUDED IN THIS CORRUPTION. 

    So here's the result: BERNIE SUPPORTERS ARE INDEPENDENTS-NOT DEMS, even if we registered as such. The Dem party now seems to think they're going to benefit from our numbers-43%- by "unifying the party-while still hosing Bernie. THAT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN. 

    And that's not on Bernie-WE ARE ALL ADULTS WHO HAVE WATCHED THIS DEBACLE UNFOLD, EXPOSING A DEEPLY CORRUPT SYSTEM. We understand the system just fine, Debbie & Barney. Just because you and your plutocracy are ok with it DOESN'T MEAN WE CONCUR. 

    WE ABSOLUTELY REJECT WHAT THE DEM PARTY IS AT THIS JUNCTURE. You've aided and abetted the slide downward of middle and lower income citizens the past 20 years, even squandering a "triple" with control of the presidency, House and Senate. You were so busy snugging up to the trough of special interest money YOU'VE DONE NOTHING TO SUPPORT THE 99%. And now you think we should support you. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Unless you come behind Bernie-who can readily defeat Trump. 

    If not-and they foist Hill off as the nominee, WE WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER. That's 43% OF VOTERS. 

    With that and her national poll numbers against Trump points below him, THE DEM PARTY WILL MAKE TRUMP PRESIDENT. 


    Oh – BTW – your boogeyman scenario of Trump being the anti-Christ won't help. WE KNOW CLINTON WOULD BE FAR MORE DANGEROUS. 

    So, next time you start yammering about Bernie not condemning A CORRUPTED DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN NEVADA, think again. Then check the videos. You'll likely see Ms. Lange violating these clauses of federal election law:
    (All complaints related to discrimination or access can be reported to the Civil Rights Division at 800-253-3931)- has list of election fraud complaints that the DOJ prosecutes

    Conduct Actionable as Federal Election Fraud, Intimidation, or Suppression
             The following activities provide a basis for federal prosecution under the statutes referenced in each category:

    * Malfeasance by election officials, acting “under color of law,” such as diluting valid ballots with invalid ones (so-called “ballot box stuffing”), rendering false vote tabulations, or preventing valid voter registrations or votes from being given effect in any election (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242), as well as in elections where federal candidates are on the ballot (52 U.S.C. §§ 10307, 20511).
    * Preventing or impeding qualified voters from participating in an election where a federal candidate’s name is on the ballot through such tactics as disseminating false information as to the date, timing, or location of federal voting activity (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242)…."

    Election fraud proven:
    Election Fraud Proven at Audit by Chicago BOE – flipped precinct by 18pts from Bernie to Hillary
    Apr 21, 2016 2:57pm CDT by charlieg

    So take your little chastisement of Bernie and your demands for apology and lay them at the grave of King George III. WE SUPPORT DEMOCRACY. 

  2. 2
    Victor Tiffany says:

    #BernieOrBust agrees. If Dems don't nominate Sanders, then we're shifting toward the Green Party: #RevolutionOrBust

  3. 3
    Drew says:

    Well said, Adrienne!!!

  4. 4
    JimZ says:

    Ron is correct.  Having caucused for Sanders, I am not a bot or any other object of derision.  I am an educated, conscientious American in his 7th decade, who has studied history, economics and public finance, not to mention some literature and poli. sci.  But further, Over the years I've studied conventional and unconventional political movements spanning the entire political spectrum.  My understanding of politics has evolved, but is always accompanied with a dab of humility as I don't claim to know everything.  My parents always counseled us to be lifelong students of humanity and of the world.  I like to think I can divine BS when I see or hear it.  I support Sanders because I've studied his positions and compared them with those of other candidates.  But further, I've evaluated them against my areas of expertise (economics & public finance, first of all), and found them sound.  Sound and our best hope of providing the best life for our grandkids and theirs.  As of mid-May Sanders appears to be the best (maybe the only?) hope of keeping Trump out of the WH – a fact to which many in the media and in the D party seem oblivious.  I don't want to wake up the morning of November 8, 2016 with the same sick feeling I had the morning of Nov. 8, 2000.  And the name Clinton on the ballot is right now beginning to give me such fears.

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