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What Next? Can the #Movement4Bernie Accomplish Anything?

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The writing is on the wall for the Bernie Sanders campaign for President of the United States. The corporate run Democratic machine is not going to allow him the party’s nomination, and for many, this is not a surprise. Even before Hillary Clinton launched her campaign in April of 2015, she was already being touted by the party establishment and the media as the next president. When Sanders entered the campaign shortly after, it seemed Clinton’s chances may not be so secured, but the Democratic Party’s primary process is designed in such a way to offer voters an illusion of choice while allowing the party elite to make the electoral decision on their own, and they had already made up their minds.

With the Sanders campaign, barring a catastrophic event inside the Clinton campaign, all but officially over Bernie’s strongest supporters are the radical left are looking for an alternative plan. Upwards of 30 percent of Sanders voters have stated they will not support a Clinton nomination and a Bernie or Bust movement formed out of that realization.

However, the Bernie of Bust movement is without a clear path to victory. One of the largest organized movements comes from Socialist Alternative, and more specifically their socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant who launched #Movement4Bernie.

#Movement4Bernie seeks to encourage Sanders to run his campaign as an independent all the way through the November election. The movement alternatively asks Sanders if he chooses not to run as an independent, to join the Green Party and join Jill Stein on a
parentingwithoutgodSanders/Stein ticket to run against the establishment.

The reality is that running as a Green is the only partially viable option Sanders has. Asking him to run as an independent means he will not have ballot access in the majority states and would have to resort to being a write-in candidate and write-ins are not actually counted in elections.

Speaking to Dennis Trainer Jr. on the Acronym Podcast, Stein said she would be open to that discussion with Sanders about forming a campaign together, but hesitated to give the specific requirements she would have for stepping down as the presidential nominee and getting behind Sanders. It’s obvious Sanders would never, with his political clout and experience, accept a VP role under Stein, and nor should he.

Yet, all of this work to encourage Sanders to join this movement is seemingly a waste of time. Sanders has repeated time and time again that if he is to lose the party nomination he will endorse Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and even more recently a senior staff member on his campaign has said that after the race, Sanders plans on staying a registered Democrat, ending his history as an Independent.

Why are these socialist activists wasting their time rallying to run a candidate through November who has no desire to run?

One major reason could be they don’t see any viable alternatives. Yes, Jill Stein and the Green Party offer a strong ideological position, one that Sanders supporters and the like can rally behind, yet they cannot seem to get the momentum to build a strong movement that can make a real difference and offer a voice to the masses. Jill Stein, for all her great qualities has the charisma of a paper bag, and the reality is, in today’s political arena, charisma is key. You have to sell yourself as knowledgeable, excited, personable, and beyond confident. Stein, as evident in her Acronym Podcast, is not many of these things.

She lacks a great deal of confidence and readily admits to learning much about American politics on the fly. She is likable and kind, but doesn’t seem very personable. There is coldness to her words and an uncertainty as to what she is saying. She struggles to lay out the plans to make her dreams a reality.

For these voters, Sanders encompasses all of these things and more. While he may not be the revolutionary, anti-capitalist socialist the Socialist Alternative Party wants, he is the closest thing they see as an electable candidate and they believe he is a path forward to making their ideological desires for the country a reality.

The path forward is going to need a radical movement and these activists seem to have decided to put all their eggs in one basket, and that is to support Sanders to the end. This strategy will ultimately fail, leaving many supporters without a movement after Sanders endorses Clinton in July and will likely be too little too late for the Stein campaign to make a strong pitch to those supporters to rally them into a Green Party revolutionary campaign.

Activists who have rejected the #Movement4Bernie will need to act now and build a strong coalition that opposes the establishment party politics and either fully stand behind the Green Party and Jill Stein, or find a new radical way forward that will make a lasting impact on American politics.

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Dan Arel is a political writer and social activist. He is the author of Parenting Without God and the upcoming book, The Secular Activist.

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