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Monday, May 09, 2016

No, Mark, Bernie Isn't Ralph: a letter to the Philadelphia Gay News

I'm increasingly struck by how fuzzy Mark Segal's thinking often is. There's no comparison between Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader.

Nader is called a spoiler because, running as a third-party candidate, he competed for votes that might otherwise have gone to either Bush or Gore. Bernie not only isn't doing this; he's promised he won't.

In fact, as socialist Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant, who spearheaded the $15 living wage movement, has pointed out in an online petition, Bernie could run as an independent and still not be a spoiler, by simply bypassing "close" states like Pennsylvania. In this way, if he doesn't get the Democratic nomination and turn that party into one that reflects his progressive, anti-corporatist values, he could garner millions of volunteers, votes, and federal matching funds to launch one that does, without aiding Trump in any way.

Meanwhile, for Bernie to try and "make up" before the convention by diluting his agenda would simply serve to demobilize his movement and foreclose the chance for the kind of progressive realignment that his candidacy makes possible. By the same token, it would also demobilize those forces that would be needed to help elect Clinton if she's the Democratic nominee. This would be a lose-lose for everyone but Trump.

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