The entry of Bernie Sanders into the Democratic party primary race has had some on the left speculating that his role is not to try and win the nomination nor to even try and shift the debate towards more progressive policies but to essentially keep progressives within the Democratic party fold and prevent them from not voting or going to a third party.
Michael Arria thinks that this is the case.
Ironically, it seems that the DNC and left-critics of the Sanders campaign agree on a very important fact: they believe Sanders will attract a number of young voters and activists, then dutifully tell them to vote for Hillary when he drops out. The DNC sees that outcome as a win and leftists see it as a loss, but both perceive his dropout as inevitable.
The Black Agenda Report’s Bruce Dixon believes that those committed to such an inescapable outcome are assisting Sanders in playing the roll of the “sheepdog”: “The sheepdog’s job is to divert the energy and enthusiasm of activists a year, a year and a half out from a November election away from building an alternative to the Democratic party, and into his doomed effort. When the sheepdog inevitably folds in the late spring or early summer before a November election, there’s no time remaining to win ballot access for alternative parties or candidates, no time to raise money or organize any effective challenge to the two capitalist parties.”
Is Sanders a willing accomplice in this charade? An unwitting accomplice? Or completely innocent of the charge?
Election times always raise the same problem: Do you support the lesser of the two evils of the nominees of the two major parties or do you give up on the two major parties as hopelessly unchangeable and support the third party candidate who you think more closely represents your interests and risk the chance of the worse of the two evils winning? This is something that each person has to weigh and decide for themselves and I confess to frequently vacillating on this.
In debating this, I think it is pointless speculating on what candidates ‘really’ want. I have long held that it is a futile exercise to try and read the minds and motives of public figures to figure out what they are ‘really’ like because they are expert at wearing masks. You have to go with their public records of actions to judge their credibility and on that score Sanders has had a fairly consistent progressive record over decades.