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I found this petition online.

Petitioning Bernie

Petitioning Bernie—Michael Hertz

Bernie: Run Through November as an Independent
Organize a New Party for the 99%

Dear Bernie,

You are fighting to win, and we support you. If billionaire interests block you from winning the Democratic nomination we urge you to continue the political revolution by running independently of the Democratic Party rather than endorse Hillary Clinton.

Your grassroots campaign that we have all worked so hard to build is too important to let its fate be decided by a rigged primary which involves only a small minority of voters. Running in the general election will reach tens of millions more people and can be the start of building a new political party for the 99%.

Kshama Sawant launched the petition. She's Seattle's socialist city council member. She explains her reasons as follows:

“I'm launching this petition calling on Bernie to run independent and launch a new party. Here's why.

Despite all the obstacles thrown in the path of Bernie Sanders by the corrupted American electoral system, his campaign has made an enormous impact. Sanders has become a lightening rod for the enormous discontent at the billionaire class and its domination over the political system. His campaign has shown the widespread support for breaking up Wall Street, free higher education, a $15/hr minimum wage, single payer healthcare, major public investment in renewable energy, and reforming a broken criminal justice system.

Bernie has conclusively demonstrated that it is possible to raise the resources needed to run a strong political campaign without begging billionaires for donations. By running on an unapologetically anti-corporate, pro-worker platform Bernie has inspired millions of working people to donate to a campaign that actually represents them.

In March alone Bernie raised a $44 million, his largest monthly haul yet, beating Clinton for a third straight month - all without accepting corporate donations. He has received 6.5 million individual contributions from 2 million donors, averaging just $27 apiece.

Petitioning Bernie

Blocked by the Democratic Party

Yet it has become increasingly clear that the Democratic Party establishment is completely opposed to this political revolution. Rather than support the candidate who is best positioned to stop Trump and the Republicans, they are hell bent on defending the Wall Street and big business interests who bankroll them.

That's why I've launched a petition urging Bernie - if he is blocked in the rigged primary process - to run as an independent, or as a Green on the ticket with Jill Stein. If you agree, sign and share my petition today!

Under 15 percent of eligible voters will participate in the Democratic primaries, skewing heavily toward wealthier and older party loyalists. Most workers and young people only tune in during the general election. We can't allow this tiny minority of primary voters, the corporate media, Wall Street PACs, and the party establishment to block Bernie before the real election even begins!

Splitting the Vote?

Unfortunately, alongside Clinton's supporters, Sanders himself has argued that an independent runs risks splitting the progressive vote and allowing a Republican victory. Especially with Trump as the GOP frontrunner, this fear is understandable (though given the mass hatred of The Donald it's far from clear he could win a three-way race with Clinton and Sanders).

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If electing a Republican is really Bernie's main concern, 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.” This could still allow for a historic campaign if linked to building a new party for the 99% and laying the foundation for an ongoing mass political movement to run hundreds of left candidates for all levels of government, independent of corporate cash.

A New Party for the 99%

There is another danger if Bernie drops out to back Hillary. It would leave Trump, Cruz, or other right-wing Republicans a free hand to monopolize the growing anti-establishment anger, while most of the left is trapped behind Clinton, the crowning symbol of establishment, dynastic, Wall Street politics. Could the far-right even dream up a better scenario to build their forces? While Trump might not win the election, support for hard-right populist politics will grow if there no fighting left alternative offered.

Meanwhile, 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 exact opposite of a political revolution!

The stakes are too high to let this moment slip through our fingers. Capitalism is plunging humanity into a social and ecological catastrophe. Bernie's campaign shows a viable fightback is possible. What's missing is a strategy to sustain and grow our movement. Now is the time for bold action to build a fighting, working class political alternative - a party for the millions, not the millionaires.”

This petition makes a lot of sense. However, after eight weeks online, it has garnered only 89,000 signatures. Yet one White House petition concerning Arizona voter fraud got 208,000 in less than a week. Clearly, the Sawant petition needs publicity. But it also has one major problem that may be holding it back.

The major problem is vote splitting, and having Bernie run in only clearly red or blue states as suggested will not diminish the Trump threat. For example, suppose Bernie ran in California, New York, New Jersey, Washington and Oregon. If he won California and Oregon while Hillary won New York, New Jersey, and Washington, they would effectively be splitting major Democratic electoral votes, leaving open the possibility that Trump would get the red states and beat them both.

The strategy for Bernie is to announce that he will run with the Green Party, a party that is properly registered across the country and has a structure.

The strategy for Bernie is to announce that he will run with the Green Party, a party that is properly registered across the country and has a structure. In addition, its platform agrees with Bernie's major ideas. With the agreement of the Green Party, he should announce that he will run for President, so long as his running does not create a substantial threat of a Trump victory. To create that assurance, he will fund a national poll, state by state, effective October 15, 2016. If that poll shows that Trump will win because Bernie is drawing too many votes from Hillary without winning himself, then Bernie will voluntarily terminate his campaign.

Please note that such a poll might well show that Hillary is keeping Bernie from winning and that even if Bernie terminates his campaign, Trump will win. In making his promise, Bernie should challenge Hillary to make a similar agreement to terminate her campaign if that would help Bernie win when she cannot. It is highly doubtful that Hillary would make such a promise, but the contrast between Bernie and Hillary would register strongly with the voters and demonstrate who is honorable and who is not.

To give an example of a three way race, take the election of 1912. William H. Taft was president and running for re-election. Teddy Roosevelt, who had been president before Taft, challenged Taft in the Republican convention but lost. He decided to start a “progressive” third party and was nominated. Woodrow Wilson was nominated by the Democrats after 46 convention ballots.

Petitioning Bernie

In the election, Wilson got 6.3 million votes. Roosevelt got 4.1 million and Taft 3.5 million. But Wilson got 435 electoral votes, Roosevelt 88 and Taft 8. (The socialist candidate received 900,000 votes but no electoral votes). It's likely that Roosevelt would have won if Taft had withdrawn. Whether Taft would have gotten enough of Roosevelt's votes to win is anyone's guess. Roosevelt was very popular, Taft was unpopular and Wilson was unknown. In our election, Trump is popular with his faction but unpopular otherwise. Hillary is generally unpopular but is accepted as a qualified candidate. Bernie is popular with his faction and respected otherwise. So it is difficult to draw a real comparison between the 1912 election and our own situation.

In order to see whether Bernie has drawing power, his supporters should organize to get signatures for the Sawant petition. Realistically, that petition should get 1 or 2 million signatures after a lot of social media publicity. If it draws that many signatures, it would tend to show that a third party run might be meaningful. If it does not, then a third party strategy is doubtful.

I would also suggest that Bernie start using a strategy of participatory petitions going forward. Every time he proposes legislation, he should ask the people to support that legislation with a petition to the White House. And he should appoint four or five volunteers to review ideas for legislation that he can propose and make part of the petition system.

Having the people participate directly with him will show that he really means to have a popular revolution and will get the electorate used to participating. And doing this would just add fuel to the idea that he would represent a leader accessible to the people.


So let's see it happen.

Michael T Hertz