Election Law question – Could Bernie announce running as an independent …..

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  • #282244

    Jan Boehmerman
    • Total Posts: 2,846

    … if the DNC cheats him out of the nomination again? (Which they are clearly attempting to do)

  • #282254

    NV Wino
    • Total Posts: 4,612

    The presidential race is geared for parties, not individuals. Even if he formed an Independent Party, remember what it took to get the Green Party on the 2016 ballots? And I think it didn’t even make it in about 3 states. Not to mention he would probably be sued by the Independence Party if he tried to use a similar name.

    He could conceivably run in an existing party such as the Green Party. I don’t believe they have chosen their candidate yet.

    “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee
    “Politicians and pro athletes: The only people who still get paid when they lose.” William Rivers Pitt

  • #282255

    • Total Posts: 533

    but the petition signatures requirement and time limits are running.

    a better plan would be to negotiate the nomination of a party with ballot access in many states (the greens would be perfect.)

    even the greens do not have ballot access in all 50 states  (i think only the libertarians have reached that milestone) but it might be the best bet.

  • #282280

    Jim Lane
    • Total Posts: 381

    The first point to note is that there is, IMO, zero chance that Bernie would follow this route.

    Back in 2014, when he was thinking about a presidential campaign, he considered the obvious point about whether to run within the Democratic Party or outside it. You can see his thoughts on the subject at https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/bernie-sanders-i-am-prepared-run-president-united-states-updated-march-19/, an interview he gave The Nation. Key excerpt:

    Unspoken in your answer is the fact that you have a great discomfort with the Democratic Party as it has operated in recent decades.

    Yes. It goes without saying. Since I’ve been in Congress, I have been a member of the Democratic caucus as an independent. [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid, especially, has been extremely kind to me and has treated me with enormous respect. I am now chairman of the Veterans Committee. But there is no question that the Democratic Party in general remains far too dependent on big-money interests, that it is not fighting vigorously for working-class families, and that there are some members of the Democratic Party whose views are not terribly different from some of the Republicans. That’s absolutely the case. But the dilemma is that, if you run outside of the Democratic Party, then what you’re doing—and you have to think hard about this—you’re not just running a race for president, you’re really running to build an entire political movement. In doing that, you would be taking votes away from the Democratic candidate and making it easier for some right-wing Republican to get elected—the [Ralph] Nader dilemma.  [italics added]

    If he had wanted to split from the Democratic Party, 2014 would have been the time to do it, because organizing a serious run as an independent takes a lot of lead time.

    Many people disagree with the analysis that Nader’s campaign in 2000 made it easier for Bush to become President. However you feel about that, note that Bernie accepts the argument. That’s why he ran for the Democratic nomination last time, endorsed Clinton when he didn’t win, turned down Jill Stein’s offer to step aside and let him head the Green Party ticket, wouldn’t even accept all the petitions collected by the Movement for a Peoples Party, ran for the Democratic nomination again this cycle, and will endorse the Democratic nominee if he doesn’t win himself.

    DemExiters who keep looking to Bernie to become their champion are engaging in wishful thinking.

    As to what would happen if he suddenly had a total change of heart, almost all states have sore-loser laws, under which the loser in a primary election cannot then run as an independent or represent another political party in the general election. The Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sore-loser_law says that most such laws don’t apply to presidential candidates, but I don’t know how many states are affected.

    There would also be the problem of getting on the ballot. State laws vary, but an independent would generally have to collect a lot of signatures, a process that takes time and money. Would the Green Party (which, after more than 20 years of trying, is still not on the ballot everywhere) again offer Bernie its spot? All I know is that Howie Hawkins, one of the contenders for this year’s Green Party nomination, has attacked Bernie as being insufficiently progressive. Hawkins has said that he would run (and would campaign in swing states) even if Bernie is the Democratic nominee. That suggests that he, at least, would not step aside.

  • #282298

    The Red Menace
    • Total Posts: 1,077

    Basically if you lose a primary, you can’t then just swing back into the GE as an independent or third party candidate in these states. Not every state has these laws of course (Connecticut is a good example, with how Joe Lieberman did). As @nvwino says, this is part of the party game, to prevent a party-rejected candidate from harming that party’s chances. But it’s still law; if Bernie did try this, he simply would be barred from the ballot in a lot of places.

    • #282314

      NV Wino
      • Total Posts: 4,612

      @twilightsporkle I wish I could forget about Joe Loserman.

      “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee
      “Politicians and pro athletes: The only people who still get paid when they lose.” William Rivers Pitt

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