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District 3’s Sawant: Dear Bernie, run as an independent

IMG_6011At Seattle’s City Hall, District 3 rep Kshama Sawant’s highlight so far this year was overseeing the appointment of new City Light CEO in her capacity as chair of the energy and environment committee.

She has saved the fireworks for politics in the other Washington.

Sawant’s petition urging Bernie Sanders to run as an independent if he can’t claim the Democratic nomination has now garnered around 24,000 signatures:

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%.

At the base of Sawant’s argument is her belief that Hillary Clinton and her party “act as a brake” on progressive movements:

In reality, Clinton is a perfect example of why I’ve consistently argued that the best way to win $15 at the federal level, Medicare for All, and free college education is by building an independent movement and our own independent political party of the 99 percent. History has shown again and again that establishment, business-backed politicians try to stop and derail the train long before they get on board. Again and again, they act as a brake on movements and on winning gains for workers until we are strong enough to overcome their resistance. And finally they try to rewrite a sanitized version of history with themselves in the driver’s seat.

In the same article, Sawant also criticizes the “Seattle’s Democratic establishment” for not originally supporting the $15/hour movement in the early days of the campaign. By the end of 2013, of course, both candidates for mayor said they supported the wage movement.

As for her support for Sanders, Sawant isn’t alone among her constituents around Capitol Hill. Washington’s Democratic caucuses produced large crowds and long lines — with a strong showing for Sanders on Capitol Hill. That support translated to delegatory victory across the 43rd District for the Sanders camp. But even the victory in Washington and other recent upsets leave Sanders nearly impossible “mathematical chances of winning the nomination.” Sanders is the longest-running independent in Congress… ever. Donald Trump and Sawant, by the way, agree on something — they’d both like Sanders to stay in the race. Whether he does — or joins a Clinton ticket — he’ll be up against this.

UPDATE: Democracy Now talked with Sawant about her Sanders support and the #BernieOrBust campaign:

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Kshama Sawant, let us begin with you, because you really started this whole Bernie or Bust campaign. Explain what it is.

KSHAMA SAWANT: So, I just wanted to clarify: Myself and Socialist Alternative, we did not launch the “Bernie or Bust” campaign. We launched what was called Movement4Bernie, website. But we are very much in sympathy with the sentiments that have been expressed by the people who have initiated Bernie or Bust, which is that it’s really kind of a bankrupt strategy to say that all the people, the millions of young people who have been politicized, you know, for the first time in their lives because of Sanders’s message of a political revolution against the billionaire class, should now all hunker down and support Clinton. And, you know, I think the analysis that we need to have really has to flow from some essential points. One is, this is a historic movement—moment, and a historic movement, really, since the Occupy movement. What we are seeing is a tremendous fundamental shift in American consciousness, and that is an anger against corporate politics and a desire to fight against the establishment.

In the interview, Sawant said she has met with Sanders about a possible independent run:

I have talked to him personally, yes. And I think that at this moment, as we all know, he has said that he will—he has indicated that he will probably endorse Clinton. And Clinton herself is, you know, understandably, talking about how his supporters need to support her.



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33 thoughts on “District 3’s Sawant: Dear Bernie, run as an independent

  1. Splinter the progressive vote so the Republican nominee waltzes in to office? Because that is exactly what will happen.

    • To be honest I don’t really think that a Clinton White house will be any better than a republican white house, so I am very much in favor of Bernie Or Bust. In fact I will do everything possible to get as many people to NOT support Clinton, no matter what.

    • @josh

      wow, really? you think mass deportations, rabid xenophobia/homophobia, wholesale repeal of minority and women’s rights, as well as many of the freedoms we enjoy right now is going to be something a clinton white house would bring? because that’s what’s coming with trump in the white house.

      if you really think that clinton wouldn’t be any better than trump then you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about and haven’t been paying attention.

    • Typical childish response. “I didn’t get 100% my way, so I’m taking all my toys and going home…or shutting down the government….or ‘Bernie or Bust'”. What a classic privileged spoiled yuppie perspective, from somebody who could easily withstand a 4-yr RepubliWad term without any undue inconvenience.

    • @josh It’s fine Josh, the democratic party doesn’t need you. Go back to wasting your vote on the Green Party or, better yet, not voting at all.

  2. She wants to tear down the society as we know it. She knows what she’s doing, and like most “revolutionaries”, she does not care what happens to the actual people, but only cares about her “revolution”.

    Can you imagine what would happen if weekend allowed a left third-party to put another “Bush” into the Oval Office? Last time, we:

    *invaded twonations,
    *increased the deficit by a truly historically massive amount,
    *we got three conservative Supreme Court justices …
    *Citizens United
    *A gerrymandered America

    What’s left to ruin? A lot.

    This is selfish, stupid, shortsighted and dangerous.

  3. I see she supports Donald Trump for president. This is the problem with radicals like Sawant. She might have a few good ideas, but she’s much better at shooting the rest of us in the foot.

  4. I’m officially done with Sawant.

    How many fewer people would have died if Ralph Nader hadn’t contributed to Gore’s loss of Florida in 2000?

    She’s calling for blood on her hands for the sake of ideological purity. Fuck that noise.

  5. Is anyone surprised with her? Isn’t this 101% exactly what you would expect from this self-centered, egotistical windbag?

    Thank god Bernie has categorically said he won’t be a “spoiler” and run 3rd party. Even if people like Sawant and others won’t act like a grown-up, at least Sanders knows better.

    • that’s the thing though. sawant and her supporters (and by proxy, bernie supporters) are petulant little children who don’t know how the world works. either they are too young to have experienced it past riding in the back seat of mommy and daddy’s or they are just easily mislead by clever sound-bites and cute slogans.

      if they don’t get their way they’ll lay on the ground and pout about it; refusing to vote because their guy didn’t get nominated. this hurts everyone because you better believe the republicans will be out in force to get their man in the white house.

      time for these people to get on-board for the big win. even if it’s not their ideal candidate. it’s better than the alternative.

    • Many republicans don’t like Trump so they won’t be voting.

      Many democrats are doing the same because they don’t like Clinton.

      Why should people vote for someone they despise?

    • You vote for the “lesser of 2 evils” so the most evil does not win. Its pretty straight forward logic for most of us.

    • Why should people vote for someone they despise?

      Well, you shouldn’t. Go vote 3rd party if you want. Write in your pet cat. Your neighbor’s pet cat. Whichever – but I think even if all the candidates suck you should vote. My personal opinion is that the ‘lesser of two evils’ is a good way to do it – review the policies and ideas of each candidate and decide which one you would rather not deal with.

  6. How did Sawant, as a woman of color, end up Bernie or Bust?! Perhaps I take a very narrow-minded view in regards to the issues that motivate me to vote, but as a woman, I am particularly motivated to vote this year to preserve the rights women to choose, to prevent my immigrant parents from being deported, to allow my Muslim friends to travel freely into and out of this country; it seems utterly selfish and foolish to not stand united against a Republican candidate who seeks to change almost every aspect of this country for the worse.

    To those out there who have decided to take the stance “Bernie or Bust” and are reading, please remember that although you can afford to take that stance, there are so many of us who feel we must support whomever is on the democratic ticket simply to preserve the rights we currently have.

    • Sure, she’s a woman of color, but she’s also a woman of financial means. She doesn’t have to worry where her next meal is coming from. If she lost a re-election bid, she’d go back to teaching, or just live off her husband’s or alimony (whether they are still married is somewhat murky)

  7. Bad idea Kshama. I’ve supported Sawant twice now. Thought she was brining pressure to bear on important issues like the minimum wage and affordable housing. But I gotta say, she’s losing me. I listened to that report on Democracy Now and found myself yelling back to the radio! Her whole rationale was lousy.

    I agree with the earlier posts- thank god Bernie has the good sense to keep his disputes inside the family.

  8. Oh my gosh I am loosing all confidence in Sawant, this is the dumbest idea possible! Let’s divide the Democratic vote, and give Trump a chance to be able to win. You are terrible Sawant you should quit

  9. She communicated to Sanders what she and others hope for. He has free will. In fact, if he were automatically going to do it, she wouldn’t have even thought to message him about it. I personally can separate her local work from this and assess her future candidacies independently. A system based on lesser of two evils is flawed, however there is a place where realism and idealism meet. Additionally, Clinton wants Sanders’ supporters and this is pulling her to the left, at least somewhat. It is unclear what will happen, but a 3rd party candidate does not have a uniform result nationally. Will see.

    • “A system based on lesser of two evils is flawed, however there is a place where realism and idealism meet.”

      Well said. While I understand the mentality, if everyone voted for who they actually wanted to win, who knows.

  10. Sanders is pledged to support the Democratic nominee. He has every right to stay in the race until someone is nominated (and as a supporter, I hope he does) but a 3rd party challenge would be deeply unwise and I trust he isn’t considering it. I don’t think he is. Donald Trump, despite his witty, urbane persona and seeming indifference to much of conservative orthodoxy, represents a new low for modern-day Republicans in sexism, racism, toxic nationalism and all-around boorishness. He must never be allowed to hold any political power over women or people of color, let alone the presidency, and if HRC (yecch, I know) is the only way to stop him, then HRC (ugh) it has to be. Sorry. Sanders has run a magnificent, upbeat, positive race, much more successfully than I think anyone expected, and – most importantly – he’s showed that a world-class campaign is possible entirely without Big Money, shattering a near-universal belief among Dems. That’s a momentous accomplishment, and gives a future candidate a great template to build on. For 2016, that’s enough reason for Sanders supporters to celebrate.

    • I don’t think Trump represents a new low. Just the most public face of a old, persistent, pervading, toxic low. The establishment Republicans hate he makes it public. Is he even more of a threat? Unknown, but yes he needs to be stopped, and the people who would vote for him given more information, history, knowledge, choices, opportunity, etc.

    • Ideologically speaking you have a point. I don’t call Trump “proto-fascist” like many do, because an actual Trump administration would doubtless be quite freewheeling in many ways, though horrifying in others. I’m speaking more of his demeanor and its cultural impact, which has already been detrimental in legitimizing hostile speech and behavior toward women, African Americans and Latinos of the sort that has long been sidelined from polite society. This trend would get much worse if he were president. He embodies the thinly-veiled racism and totally unveiled sexism of … I can’t even think of anything to compare it to except the late ’90s “attitude era” of pro wresting (google it, and look up “men’s rights activists” while you’re there). Imagine that mindset imposed on the entire country as the new political correctness. It won’t be pretty. I’d rather have Ted Cruz than Trump.