Bob's face and logo

Bernie Sanders need only ask the obvious question to find his way out of the corporate capitalist neocon wasteland where he now lingers – What Would Debs Do?

Sanders is quite familiar with the life of his “hero” Eugene Victor Debs. Sanders produced a documentary on Debs’ life in 1979 before being elected to political office. In the 1970s, Sanders ran in five statewide races on the ticket of the left-wing Liberty Union Party. Debs ran five times for president of U.S. on the Socialist Party ticket.

Now Sanders and his mass of young followers find themselves squabbling over how to influence a meaningless Clinton Democratic Party platform. Students in my Intro to American Government class are familiar with the phrase “A political promise in the UK is a pledge but in the U.S. it’s a hedge.”

Sanders is in a sick and abusive relationship with Clinton and the Democratic Party. They systematically stripped his followers from the primary voting rolls. The exit polls suggested that his vote totals were tampered with. In two liberal states that prided themselves on fair elections – New York and California – the Clintonistas flat-out jacked the elections. California's literally can’t be called an election and should only be referred to as a “coup.”

In 24 of 26 primary elections voters exiting the polls reported voting for Sanders at a higher number than the “official” tally. Mathematician Richard Charnin estimates the probability of that being 1 in 190,000. But even more shocking, in 11 of the 26 elections, Clinton beat Sanders by greater than the expected margin of error. Statistics tell us this could have happened one time; the probability of such a high vote in 11 separate primaries is 1 in 77 billion.

Sanders knows that his voters were stripped from the polls and his votes were flipped. What Would Debs Do?

History records that when Debs ran for president for the fourth time in 1912 in the Socialist Party and received 6% of the vote. Green Party candidate for president Jill Stein is polling higher than Debs at 7% at the time of this writing – with her name recognized by only 14% of the population. Stein has courageously and generously offered to run as Sanders VP should be decide to become Green and act in the tradition of Debs. At a minimum, if Sanders was asking WWDD? he would endorse Stein over the war hawk Clinton. Debs endorsed U.S. Senator Robert LaFollette for president in 1924 on the Progressive Party ticket.

Sanders is now in a much more important historical position than Debs in 1924. Sanders has spent his entire adult life trying to create a mass left movement in the United States. Now that he’s on the brink of that achievement it appears that he will lead his followers into the vast morass of the Democratic Party – the place where social justice movements go to die.

Running as a third party candidate (perhaps Green), Sanders would have a chance to win the presidency. With his current populist popularity, in a four-way race with the two decrepit and discredited major parties, Libertarians and Greens –Sanders could win. Think about it— a Mussolini-style buffoon, a former GOP governor of New Mexico capable of drawing votes from mainstream Republican voters, and a woman posing as a faux liberal while she and her husband promote neoliberal trade policies destroying the working class.

Sanders claims Debs as his hero because at every key moment in his life, the Socialist Party leader acted on principle rather than compromise. Now is Sanders’ Debsian moment – much like when Debs had to choose between remaining silent or speaking out against the imperialist First World War.

Sanders could decide to look the other way regarding the purging of his young supporters from the voting rolls, his missing votes, and accept a really good Chair assignment if the Democrats win the Senate.

Or he could be the catalyst for the birth of a real left-wing party in the U.S. Sanders entire career has led him to this moment. When Queen Hillary asks him to kiss the ring and pledge fealty to her faux progressivism he should do what he knows Debs would have done. Forcefully decline the offer and call for the workers of the United States to unite.