What is the stupidest move ever made in the history of American politics?
It could be Donnybroke.*
The underlying cause of Donnybroke is right in front of you:
Donny Trump cannot hold his tweets. He is America´s lowest UNcommon denominator.
The Donald believes as do most people that if Bernie ran as an Independent most of Bernie´s votes would come out of Hillary´s hide. Her campaign would capsize, sink. Donald Trump would be the 45th president of the United States.
Trump advisers, take note: a funny thing could happen on the way to the White House.
Trump and his strategists are fixated on the election of 2000. Ralph Nader (Green Party) ran against George Bush and Al Gore. Had Nader not run, Gore would have won Florida -- he lost it by 537 votes -- and the presidency.
Call it what you will, it still remains the same. Nader was the classic spoiler.
Run Bernie, Run! Trump and his crew want a Nader redux.
Donald & Co., it´s time to put on your plastic beanies. This time, try to spin the propellers in the right direction.
Nader and Bernie are not comparable. For one thing, Nader had a severe personality problem. I never met him, but I saw him. My first impression: My god; he´s so skinny. I wanted to run out and get him something to eat -- fast. As for what Nader said and did that afternoon, one word describes it: prickly.
Bernie is neither emaciated nor prickly.
For another thing, Nader-Bernie vote totals are worlds apart. Trump advisers, Donald: if you want to make it in politics you will need to learn how to count. The four bankruptcies declared by your corporations suggest you have a problem in this area.
Nader received 2,883,105 votes in the general election of 2000. Bernie has received as of today 9,957,889 votes in Democrat primary elections alone. More votes for Bernie are just around the corner -- lots of them -- in upcoming primaries in California, New Jersey and other states.
Donald et al, I know exactly what you are thinking. Big deal! When you shake it all out, no independent or third party candidate for president stands a chance. Period.
I completely disagree.
We wrote in August 2015 ("President Trump?") before the primaries started:
"Roll the clock back over two decades -- to 1992. Democrat Bill Clinton defeated Republican George Bush Senior in Bush´s presidential re-election bid. In case you forgot, there was a third man in the race: Independent Ross Perot.
The final results: Clinton 43%, Bush 38%, Perot 19%. We would join the crowd and forget Perot were it not for one remarkable fact. Perot showed there is sufficient dissatisfaction in the American electorate for a third party candidate to win the White House.
The proof is in the pudding. Look at the Gallup poll graphic at the top of this post. In June 1992, Perot (39%) was solidly ahead of Bush (31%) and Clinton (25%).
A month later, Perot shocked the nation and quit the race, only to re-enter it in October. His reasons for withdrawal bordered on bonkers. For an excellent recap of the Perot 1992 campaign, click here.
If Perot had not left the race in July, would he have won? Nobody knows. What can be said with certainty is that his temporary withdrawal sunk his presidential campaign ship."
39, 31, 25. Remember those numbers, dear reader. They could be prophetic if Bernie decides to jump ship and go it alone. They show conclusively that a track to the White House does exist for an Independent candidate.
Especially one who is unpardonably manhandled by party hacks in the upcoming July Democrat Convention.
* * *
Perot stumbled and fumbled. A political neophyte, he did not have what it takes to hang onto his 39%, much less improve it.
Those readers who are still unconvinced that Bernie could run and win as an Independent should consider four factors:
(i) In the calculation presented below, for the sake of simplicity I did not include millions of votes Bernie will receive in remaining Democrat primaries. He should pick up 2 million votes in California alone.
(ii) As a United States Senator, Bernie has an instant credibility that Ross Perot, who never held elected office, lacked.
(iii) There has been a groundswell of anti-establishment anger among voters between 1992, when Perot led in the polls with 39%, and 2016.
(iv) Encapsulating points (i), (ii), and (iii), a recent Data Targeting poll showed 55% of respondents want a third party candidate. 65% would be willing to vote for a candidate who is neither Trump nor Hillary.
Now, on to our calculation:
125 million votes were cast in the last presidential election. Let us assume the turnout in November will be roughly that amount.
If Bernie returns to his roots and runs as an Independent, to obtain 39% he will need 49 million votes. That will do the trick; they are the ticket to a Sanders White House.
Let´s also assume that the 10 million Democrat primary voters who voted for Bernie stick with him as an Independent. 49 - 10 = 39. Thus, to win 39% of the vote in November, he would need to pick up another 39 million voters. Where?
Recent polls show Trump and Hillary are neck and neck. The Washington Post poll mentioned above shows Trump leading 46%-44%. A Wall Street Journal poll has Hillary leading 46%-43%. Those polls show something else that is far more important. Fully 10% of the electorate is "undecided." That comes to 12,500,000 votes.
What two decades of political polling taught me:
(1) People do not move directly from supporting a candidate to supporting his/her rival. They pass through an "undecided" phase. As noted, 10% of the electorate are already there. They are, for lack of a better word, available.
(2) Everybody knows who Trump and Hillary are. They either (i) like one of them, or (ii) don´t like either of them.
What it boils down to: the 10% undecided is there for the taking by an Independent candidate.
If Bernie the Independent swings them his way: 39 million - 12 million = 27 million. That is the remaining vote total he would need to win with 39% of the vote.
27 million is the population of Texas. A lot of people. Is it a bridge too far?
(3) The two polls mentioned above confirmed what everybody knows. 57% of the voters have an unfavorable impression of both Trump and Hillary. Bernie, to the contrary, continues to receive a net positive rating.
The 57%-unfavorable figure means a lot of the support for Trump and Hillary is soft/softer/softest. Marshmallow stuff. Frankly, in over 20 years of political consulting, I never saw anything like it.
A well-run Bernie campaign would instantly flake off huge numbers of Trump-Hillary backers. Talk about momentum.
I will go ahead and say it. The 27 million votes Bernie needs are sitting there waiting for him in the Trump and Hillary camps. All he has to do is reach out and take them. To do it, he will need to change a few things -- not many -- in how he is campaigning.
We will know in July if Bernie becomes Hillary´s running mate. After passionately denouncing the oligarchs who are Hillary´s minders and keepers, Bernie´s voter base would view his acceptance of the VP slot as a complete sell-out. To destroy Hillary, all they would need to do is nothing at all -- stay home.
Assuming Bernie does not run as an Independent -- that there is no Donnybroke -- not voting in November is a reasonable, responsible and logical alternative. It is strongly advocated by this blog ("Why I Will Not Vote in 2016 -- And You Shouldn´t Either," March 21, 2016).
We the people cannot change the phony "choice" -- Trump v. Hillary -- set up by the reigning oligarchy. However, we can de-legitimize an illegitimate system.** Mark my words and mark them well: Trump or Hillary, whoever wins in November will represent only 30% of the eligible voter population. As with Obama, Bush, et al, any claim by the next president to represent America will be not just mathematically wrong -- it will be a blatant lie.
Legitimacy is the only thing in this world the oligarchy wants but does not have. It is also the only thing we the people have the power to give or take away.
De-legitimization is all we have to counter the American oligarchy´s favorite ga-game, of which the 2016 presidential election -- Oligarch I or Oligarch II? -- is the latest installment:
Heads we win; tails you lose.
Note of May 26. The Donald is not the only one who is mathematically challenged, hence unable to envision Donnybroke.
CNN today picked up on the Nader spoiler factor and called it "The Democrats´ election nightmare" :
"The figure who hovers in this dream as a white-haired ghost is of course, Bernie Sanders.
Might he be the spoiler for Hillary Clinton which gives Donald Trump the White House?...
The fear of senior Democrats is not that he makes a Nader-style independent run - it would make no sense at all [my emphasis] - but simply that he poisons the well, and has the same effect in the end."
*Not donnybrook. Donnybroke defined: Bernie Sanders takes Trump´s advice. He runs as an Independent, defeats Trump and Hillary, wins the White House.
**Regular readers of this blog know our fundamental position. Censored by the media and academia, you will only find it here:
"The First American Revolution, 1776-1789, transformed the political system from a monarchy not into a democracy but a ´политей´ or polity, i.e., a middle class-moderated, oligarchy-democracy hybrid inclined toward democracy.
The Second American Revolution, 2008-2009, changed the polity into an oligarchy with democratic residues, accessories. That change was normal, predictable; Aristotle analyzed it 2000 years ago.
The Third American Revolution will resurrect the polity but with greater power for democracy, less for the oligarchy." (Thomas Belvedere, The Big Movida: The Third American Revolution)."
The Big Movida is available on this website without charge.