On Friday, April 15, 2016, Kshama Sawant — social justice activist, socialist, and Seattle city councilwoman — called for Bernie Sanders to form a new political party (or join the Green Party) and run as an independent if he does not clinch the Democratic nomination for president. Sawant launched a petition to gather support for the idea, not dissimilar from one created earlier on MoveOn.org.
The stakes are too high to let this moment slip through our fingers… We can’t allow the corporate media, Wall Street PACs, and the Democratic Party establishment to derail this movement before the real presidential election even begins. An independent run by Bernie could open a new era in American politics if linked to building a new party for the 99% and laying the foundation for an ongoing mass political movement that runs hundreds of left candidates for all levels of government, independent of corporate cash.
In an article for Occupy Wall Street, Sawant declared that the “Democratic Party establishment is completely opposed to this political revolution,” in which Sanders is “a lightening rod for the enormous discontent at the billionaire class and its domination over the political system.”
Addressing concerns among many on the Left, including Bernie Sanders himself, that an independent run would draw votes away from Hillary Clinton and hand the Republicans the White House, Sawant suggests Sanders wouldn’t necessarily need to run to win, but rather build a force for future elections:
…there is no reason he could not at least run in the 40+ states where it’s absolutely clear the Democratic or Republican candidate will win, while not putting his name on the 5-10 closely contested “swing states”… The confidence and energy our youthful, working-class political revolution will turn into demoralization and disorganization if the movement is corralled into Clinton’s Wall Street funded campaign…
The Green Party is a third party (remember Ralph Nader?) that will be on the ballot in at least 20 states when the U.S. votes in November. Its platform closely aligns with Bernie Sanders’. Its “Four Pillars” are Peace (ending U.S. wars and its global military presence), Ecology (renewable energy), Social Justice (stronger wages for workers), and Democracy (expanding the voice of the people and getting money out of the political process).