Bernie Sanders will not win the Democratic nomination, yet he has insisted he will take his campaign all the way to the convention. He has also repeatedly promised not be another Ralph Nader, handing the White House to radical Republicans.
There’s growing anxiety about the intensity of the Democratic primary and the frustration of Bernie’s supporters as the nomination slips away from their candidate, so it’s worth taking a step back and listening to what Bernie and his senior aides have said.
Sanders does not want to become a 2012 version of Ralph Nader, whose 2000 campaign is blamed by some for robbing Al Gore of a vital few percent and paving the way for George Bush. … [H]e explains he is not interested in the White House. “I would likely end up causing a right-wing extremist to be president of the United States. That is not something I would be happy to do,” he said. Then he added for emphasis: “It would likely be a futile and losing campaign. That would not be too smart.”
2. January 26, 2015:
On a Democracy for America conference call, Bernie says: “No matter what I do, I will not be a spoiler. I will not play that role in helping to elect some right-wing Republican as President of the United States.”
3. April 1, 2015:
Bernie tells Fusion’s Jorge Ramos: “I will not play the role of a spoiler. I will not play the role of a spoiler. I will not play a role which enables a right-wing Republican to get elected. That will not happen.”
4. July 30, 2015:
Bernie tells the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that he will not run “outside of the system” if he doesn’t get the Democratic nomination. “No, I made the promise that I would not and I will keep that promise. And the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States.”
Bernie tells CBS News: “What I did not want to do is run as a third party candidate, take votes away from the Democratic candidate and help elect some right-wing Republican. I did not want responsibility for that. So what I said at the beginning of the campaign is that I was not going to run as an independent. And I say it now, that if I do not win this process I will not run as an independent.”
6. April 4, 2016:
Sanders tells the New York Daily News: “What I am concerned about, what I think would be a disaster for the United States of America, is to see a Donald Trump or some right-wing Republican become President of the United States. I will do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”
7. April 7, 2016:
Sanders “affirmed that he would support opponent Hillary Clinton in the general election if she wins the nomination,” telling CBS News’ Charlie Rose: “Look, as I said a million times, I think the idea of a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz presidency would be an unmitigated disaster for this country. I will do everything in my power and work as hard as I can to make sure that that does not happen. And if Secretary Clinton is the nominee, I will certainly support her.”
8. April 22, 2016:
Asked by Penn Live if he’ll support Hillary if she’s the nominee: “I will do everything I can to make sure that someone like Donald Trump does not become president of the United States. If I do not win, Secretary Clinton and I will have a long talk to get a sense of where she’s coming from and how she’s going to respond to the issues that we’ve raised.”
9. April 26, 2016:
Jane Sanders tells CNN: “We’ve been very clear right from the beginning that we will not play the role of spoiler. The reason that he was active and he decided to run in the Democratic Party was just that: We cannot afford a Republican in the White House. We cannot afford a Republican appointing Supreme Court justices. So Bernie will not be running as an independent.”
10. May 17, 2016:
Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver says on CNN’s New Day: “Bernie Sanders has said he will not run as a third-party candidate. He’s going to support the Democratic nominee, and that’s what he’s going to do.”
Let’s take Bernie at his word.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)