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Ralph Nader: What Will Many Bernie Sanders Voters Do After July? – OpEd


The hard-bitten, corporatist Democrats are moving Hillary Clinton through the presidential primaries. They are using “Republican-speak” to beat down Bernie Sanders as favoring Big Government and more taxes and they may unwittingly be setting the stage for a serious split in the Democratic Party.


What is emerging is the reaction of millions of Sanders supporters who will feel repudiated, not just left behind, as the Clintonites plan to celebrate at the Democratic Convention in July. The political experience gained by the Sanders workers, many of them young, helped Sanders register primary victories over Hillary in Colorado, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire with their energy and votes. They came close in Nevada and Massachusetts and probably won in Iowa.

Hillary’s rhetoric has outraged Sanders’ supporters. She berates Sanders regularly for not being practical or realistic about his Medicare-for-all, breaking up big banks, a $15 minimum wage, a tax on Wall Street speculation and carbon and getting big money out of politics. Clinton’s putdowns exemplify why so many people who back Sanders want to defeat her. Clinton is the candidate of the status quo, favored over all other candidates from both parties by the Wall Street crowd and quietly adored by the military-industrial complex who see Generalissima Clinton as a militarist who would maintain the warfare state.

Democrat Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, derided this “We Shouldn’t Even Try” attitude common among many frightened Democrats. These are, in Reich’s words, “the establishment Democrats – Washington lobbyists, editorial writers, inside-the-Beltway operatives, party leaders and big contributors who have grown comfortable with the way things are.” These hereditary Democrat opinion-shapers tell their audiences that Hillary personifies experience and electability. They argue it is either Clinton or Trump or some other crazed Republican.

Here we go again. Every four years, the Democratic leaders define the Democratic candidate by how bad the Republicans are. This is designed to panic and mute their followers. Every four years, both parties become more corporatist. Sanders’ voters want to define the Democratic Party by how good it can be for the people. And these Sanders voters may not go back into the Democratic Party fold.

Low turnout for the Democratic Party’s primaries is being compared to a much higher Republican voter turnout for their candidates. Low turnout in November would dim Hillary’s chances in an electoral college, winner-take-all system.


Such Democratic Party misfortune can become more likely should Bernie endorse Hillary at the Democratic Convention without any conditions or her acceptance of his agenda, assuming she is the nominee. Last year he declared that he would endorse “the Democratic nominee.” Certainly, all the Democratic politicos in the Congress who endorsed Hillary set no conditions. The large labor unions that went with Hillary are known for giving their endorsements without receiving any benefits for workers. So, Hillary would have no mandate should she win the election. And you know that Clintons without mandates tend to bend toward Wall Street and rampant militarism.

It is doubtful whether Hillary will credibly adopt any of Bernie’s agenda, considering where her campaign money is coming from and how unwilling she is to alienate her circle of advisers.

Where does this leave the Sanders people who see Hillary as experienced in waging wars, qualified as an entrenched pol, and realistic to suit the plutocracy’s tastes, and not really getting much of anything progressive done (alluding to the ways she has described herself)?

The energetic Sanders supporters, including the Millennials who voted so heavily for Bernie, could form a New Progressive movement to exercise a policy pull on the establishment Democrats before November and to be a growing magnet after November with the objective of taking over the Democratic Party starting with winning local elections. This will have long-term benefits for our country.

To those who point to history throwing water on such a potential breakout, I tell them to look at the 2016 presidential primaries. All bets are off when political debates become big media business with huge ratings, and when a gambling czar and builder of expensive real estate, Donald Trump (a hybrid Rep/Dem), is overturning all the old homilies about presidential politics, and is in a primary contest with two freshmen Senators whose vacuous ambitions are their only achievements.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a politician, activist and the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).

8 thoughts on “Ralph Nader: What Will Many Bernie Sanders Voters Do After July? – OpEd

  • March 5, 2016 at 6:01 am

    it won’t happen, but if i was in control it would: bernie wins the dem. nom. and names ralph as vp. i’m sorry, it’s just – ralph has such a keen grasp as how our country is being undermined by – the elite. god bless ralph.

  • March 5, 2016 at 6:31 am

    You are exactly right that Mrs Clinton is The Man’s preferred candidate. It couldn’t be more obvious the way they vilify Trump and ignore Sanders. Her naked ambition is odious and transparent to anyone with any powers of discernment.

    No Sanders supporter with any loyalty to the movement he represents would cast a vote for Hillary.

  • March 5, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I’m partial to what Nader says, I have voted for him every time he ran. From the beginning of Bernie’s run he has says that the movement must not die, when or if Bernie looses. NOW!! I don’t want to think of Bernie loosing. I don’t believe I can vote for Hillary. So I think that a vote for Jill Stein might be my only alternative.

    Corporatist, war monger are a good description of Hillary. Who, keeping a clear conscious could vote for that??

  • March 5, 2016 at 8:56 am

    What a better world this would be if Nader had won in 2000!

    There are also Republicans who will break off if Trump wins.

    I’m writing a book called None of the Above, about a software guy who runs for president. In my book, the discontent is so bad that current parties split into four. This creates the Tea Party and Occupy Congress as two separate parties. This has been one of several plot elemental in my book that became more plausible since I started writing the book.

    P.G. Sundling

    • March 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

      BTW I can already tell you I’ll be voting for Bernie Sanders regardless of what happens at the convention. I’ll even vote for him if he tells me not to. We Americans have been falling in line for too long.

      Our vote is the only message we can send to the Washington elites. Trump is the protest candidate of the right. Bernie is the protest candidate to the left.

      Revolution is coming. I can’t say if how many election cycles it will take, but an open revolt id increasingly likely.

  • March 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Bernie will likely just go home and say nothing about the rest of the campaign.

    Clintons don’t care if they have a “mandate” or not: they loot and pillage whenever they have an opportunity. Wille Jeff will command a half a million for some stem-winders; even Chelsea will get a hundred grand just to show up.

  • March 6, 2016 at 3:35 am

    For the 21st century America, a multu-party system is needed. Hopefully, Sanders supporters can get organized and form a new party. Intelligent people know that there is no future with the status-quo. My vote only goes to Bernie. No switching, no matter what.

  • March 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

    The number one reason people will not vote for Bernie is because they equate “Progressive” with “More Taxes.” This has to be stopped and reversed. Although Bernie has already stated that his policies don’t necessarily mean higher taxes, just more intelligent allocation of existing funds, no one believes it. So they believe the politicians that scare the public by telling them that a vote for Bernie automatically means higher taxes. For him to get elected, he needs to repackage his plan into a thirty-second message that everyone can understand and believe. Nader saw a better world by promoting air bags and seat belts, but corporate interests convinced the public it would make cars so expensive no one could afford them. History has showed us that they were wrong and Nader was right. Bernie needs to do the same thing Nader did!


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