The Instigator
toocoolblue
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
levi_smiles
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Bernie Sanders would have won running as an Independent

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
levi_smiles
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 275 times Debate No: 96251
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

toocoolblue

Pro

Not only would Bernie have won, if a write in movement started today, he still could win.
levi_smiles

Con

Pro makes two claims: that Bernie Sanders would have won the presidency on an independent ticket and that Sanders could still win as a write-in candidate.

The first claim is unprovable speculation, of course. Con will concede a non-zero chance that Sanders might have won the presidency given the unpredictable mood of the 2016 season, but polling numbers and electoral history overwhelmingly suggest that an independent Sanders run would have finished a strong third while virtually guaranteeing a Trump win. To Con's advantage, Pro will have to prove significantly more than a mere non-zero chance to support his unqualified assertion.

However, Pro's second claim is easily dismissed as false and ignorant of the laws governing write-in candidacies, so let's take that argument off the table first: even if every single eligible voter who has not already voted now voted for Bernie Sanders, Sanders would not be President.

1) 9 states do not permit write-in candidates, making 54 electoral unattainable by write-in.

2) 34 states allow write-ins so long as a candidate has registered as a write-in candidate in that state. The deadline for registration has now passed in all 34 states, so while Sir Cookie Zealot, Dirty Cockroach, and Uncle Touchy the Pedophile Serial Killer Clown are registered and could theoretically win some electoral votes in some states, Sanders has missed the cut-off and is ineligible. That takes 417 electoral votes out of play and effectively makes write-ins for Sanders in those states the same as not voting. [1]

3) 7 states have no registration requirement for write-ins, qualifying Sanders for a maximum attainable electoral vote count of 67. [2]

So, if every eligible voter wrote-in Sanders between now and Nov. 8th, the most substantive result Sanders might accomplish is a non-decision in which no candidate achieves a 270 majority of electoral votes. By law, such a non-decision would be referred to the House of Representatives who must choose a President from the top 3 candidates with the most electoral votes. Assuming Trump is among those top 3 and current Republican commitments hold, the Republican majority would elect Trump for president.

Sanders, of course, understands that a renewed candidacy at this point could only guarantee a result less favorable to his ideology and constituency, reinforcing the impossibility of such a scenario.

With Pro's second assertion refuted, let's return to Pro's less impossible but nevertheless profoundly unlikely assertion, Sanders would have won on an independent ticket. Pro needs to clarify whether we're talking about an independent run without having ever run as a Democrat or after Sander's defeat on the ticket, although either scenario weakens Pro case.

Keep in mind that in early 2015, Sanders had a relatively low national profile. One PPP poll from January 2015 had Sanders
support among likely Democratic voters at 2% [3] and scant name recognition by non-white and non-democratic voters. Elizabeth Warren had 5 times as much support in that same poll. What launched Sanders as a political force was his viability as an anti-Hillary vote beginning in the summer of 2015. As a second-place democrat, Sanders enjoyed tremendous media coverage that a third party independent candidate could not have hoped for. As Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson noted in August, "70% of Americans still don't know who I am." Sanders himself acknowledged in March that he had to run as Democrat to become famous: "In terms of media coverage, you have to run within the Democratic Party." He then took a dig at MNSBC, telling [Chuck] Todd, the network "would not have me on his program" if he ran as an independent.
Money also played a role in his decision to run as a Democrat. "To run as an independent, you need " you could be a billionaire," he said. "If you're a billionaire, you can do that. I'm not a billionaire. So the structure of American politics today is such that I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party." [4]

As an independent candidate, Sanders would not have enjoyed the narrative of the surging underdog throughout the primary season. There would have been no weekly election nights, no caucus victories and upsets, no TV speeches after each vote, no Sunday morning talk shows.

If Pro wants to make the case that Sanders could have won without first running as a Democrat, he must show evidence that the media would have offered Sanders far more visibility than the typical third party candidate, certainly better than Gary Johnson who, currently polling at 7% nationally, is considered an unusually successful 3rd party candidate. Certainly, Pro must show that an independent Sanders, minus the media and momentum of last Spring would still have garnered the 15% of the vote by September necessary to earn a place on the debate stage and then establish that Sanders could have done much better than his primary debates vs Clinton, which were generally seen as ties or Clinton wins.

On the other hand, if Pro asserts that Sanders could have successfully switched to an independent run after failing to win the Democratic nod, Pro must demonstrate how he could overcome the anti-spoiler backlash and the consolidation of the anti-Trump vote. Remember that by convention time 90% of Sanders supporters were voting for Clinton and well-known Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman publicly scolded the Bernie-or-die movement, "You're being ridiculous," to general applause, demonstrating a significant shift in support. [5] Keep in mind that Sander's polls were already trending downward in the last month of the campaign indicating an increasing disapproval of Sanders as a distractionfor the general campaign. [6].

While it's difficult to predict how many supporters Sanders could have retained, we can be confident that his negative numbers would have increased significantly at the very time he needed to make his appeal to the more general electorate this summer. Con speculates that Sanders' popularity in his role as Naderesque spoiler might have dropped even lower than his potential popularity as third party outsider.

In short, Pro's case can't present the Sanders of today as a potential candidate because such a candidate would not exist: he would either be a lesser known outsider representing the left-wing of the left-wing or well-known sore loser with significant resistance from the Democratic core. Either way, Pro must demonstrate that he could have overcome to achieve 15% support in time for the debates and near 50% by voting time, garnering a minimum 270 electoral votes. Con doesn't argue such an achievement would be impossible but certainly nearly impossible and with no precedent in American History.

There is at least one more important argument which Con can address in the second round: Sanders' success in the Spring was predicated on anti-establishment and anti-Hillary sentiment, which freed Sanders from having to sell his own platform or face heavy opposition research. Con will contend that by both these measures, Sanders' support in the General election would be significantly diminished.

I look forward to Pro's more detailed argument in the second round.

[1] http://presidentials.mytimetovote.com...
[2] https://ballotpedia.org...
[3] http://www.publicpolicypolling.com...
[4] http://www.politico.com...
[5] https://www.google.com...
[6]http://www.realclearpolitics.com...
Debate Round No. 1
toocoolblue

Pro

Never before in the history of this country, have two more unlikable, hateful, delusional, ego maniacal, dishonest people attempted to seize the helm of power.

If you drive, there's a better chance you'll see a Four year old Obama bumper sticker than a current Trump or Clinton bumper sticker. Nor do you see Trump/Clinton signs in people's front yards. With sound reason, people hate these two.

Those who actually vote in this election will not be voting FOR a candidate, they will be voting AGAINST the other candidate.

If there was a viable third option..any option... people would choose it.

Given the choice between an honest man that some may disagree with and two lunatics, how could anyone not choose Sanders?

I purposely limited the rounds in this debate because It really is that simple.

His campaign slogan could be -
One sane person vs two nuts. You decide who runs the country.

How could he lose?
levi_smiles

Con

Thanks, Pro.

Readers will note that Pro made no effort to engage with Con's arguments.

Con disproved half of Pro's case in R1 by demonstrating that it is far too late for Sanders to attempt a write in candidacy. Even if every available voter left were to now write-in Sanders most of those votes would be dismissed. The best Sanders could achieve is 11% of electoral votes, perhaps enough to spoil in Trump's favor but not enough to win.

Pro ignored the factual collapse of half his argument in the R2 but also did not try to repeat or support the write-in claim- let's assume Pro has conceded the claim.

Con asked Pro to be more specific about this hypothetical independent run.

Did this hypothetical campaign start as a 3rd party independent in 2015? If so, Pro was asked to explain how Sanders would overcome the lack of name recognition, money and media to become a viable candidate. Con argues that without the "Rocky" underdog narrative of the Democratic primary, Sanders would be a side show polling at or below Libertarian Party support (7%).

If Pro's hypothetical is that Sanders could have switched parties after his defeat this spring and successfully garnered 50% support from a pissed-off Democratic base and an ideologically hostile Republican base, we're going to need to see some real polling numbers that show a clear path for Sanders to capture 270 electoral votes. Anything short of this would disprove Pro's claim.

Pro ignored both scenarios in R2. In fact, Pro does not seem to have thought much about the actual mechanics of American politics and has instead simply restated unsupported opinion with some added vitriol for the front-runners. Let's engage directly with Pro's opinions:

Pro
Never before in the history of this country, have two more unlikable, hateful, delusional, ego maniacal, dishonest people attempted to seize the helm of power.
Con
Really? Worse than Aaron Burr who murdered a founding father and plotted to crown himself king of a new country in the Western territories? More egomaniacal than Douglas MacArthur? More hateful than Strom Thurmond? More dishonest than Richard Nixon?
Pro
If you drive, there's a better chance you'll see a Four year old Obama bumper sticker than a current Trump or Clinton bumper sticker. Nor do you see Trump/Clinton signs in people's front yards. With sound reason, people hate these two.
Con
Twitter has replaced the bumper sticker; Facebook has replaced the yard sign, and we see no shortage of advertising for both candidates in modern, digital media. Bumper stickers are hard to remove and yard signs provoke a lot troublemakers without increasing turnout. Both are now seen as a waste of paper. Pro ought to note that this is the first election cycle that candidates are actually selling signs for $20-25, more like souvenir hats and mugs than handouts for cheap visibility . The decrease in outmoded forms of electioneering should not be misinterpreted by Pro as portentous.
Pro
Those who actually vote in this election will not be voting FOR a candidate, they will be voting AGAINST the other candidate.
Con
Don't believe the hype. Most Americans will be voting for a party which is what Americans usually do. Keep in mind that Congress went into the 2014 election with 11% approval- lower than Trump or Hillary, lower than head lice or herpes in fact, but incumbents won 95% of all races. Clearly, likability has far less to do with electability than party affiliation- and party affiliation is where Sanders is weak.
Pro
If there was a viable third option..any option... people would choose it.
Con
Gary Johnson disproves this claim.
Pro
Given the choice between an honest man that some may disagree with and two lunatics, how could anyone not choose Sanders? His campaign slogan could be - One sane person vs two nuts. You decide who runs the country.
Con
If honesty and reason were always determinative in presidential elections , Carter and Bush 41 would have won re-election. Clearly, there are more factors to consider. We might also note that most of the political fact checking organizations rated Hillary the most honest candidate in the 2016 season, mostly because she does her homework and makes more realistic promises. [1]. Maybe not honest but honest for a politician and more honest than any other candidate including Sanders.
Pro
How could he lose?
Con
Good question.

In R1, Con stated that the Sanders of today has an advantage that the hypothetical Sanders would never have enjoyed, either as the Democratic nominee or a third-party candidate. That advantage is that Sanders was essentially untested: his policies weren't heavily scrutinized and his drawbacks weren't particularly highlighted. Hillary needed Sanders' support in the general so she was unwilling to damage him beyond reconciliation. Republicans preferred to run against Sanders, so they kept their powder dry. The media preferred a Democratic horse race, so they mostly held back. If Sanders had made it to the general election, we can be certain the gloves would've come off on all sides.

Bernie the Politician

Sanders is generally viewed as a single-issue politician- wealth inequality, with less interest than most in foreign affairs, civil rights, environmental issues, etc. In spite of 25 years in Congress, Sanders has only sponsored one piece of successful legislation. During his tenure as Senator he's been absent for more than 7% of votes, significantly worse than the median 1.7%. [2] Beyond supporting the usual pork-barrel military spending for Vermont, Sanders supported much of the same legislation he criticizes other politicians for endorsing: the '94 crime bill, the '00 Wall St deregulation that made credit default swaps possible, the war in Kosovo in '99, the war in Afghanistan in '01, he even voted to prevent the closing of Gitmo in '09. He endorsed Bill Clinton for president and Hillary for Senator- Hillary's PAC was a major contributor to Sanders' 06 campaign. [3]. In a general campaign, Sanders was fairly vulnerable to politics as usual attacks.

Bernie the Dreamer

Sanders' biggest proposals, infrastructure investment, Social Security expansion, free college tuition, universal healthcare, etc amounted to $18 trillion in new govt. spending against which he proposed $15.3 trillion in new taxes. While there's little reason to suppose Sanders' initiatives might have received much legislative support, there's far less reason to assume support for higher taxes. [4]. Although the largest tax increases would fall on businesses and the wealthy, the median household income would still see a 2.2% tax increase- roughly $1200/ yr. Even among Sanders' voters, only a third would support a $1000 increase to their taxes. [5] Imagine how profoundly unpopular such increases would prove in the general election.

Bernie the Socialist

For the older half of the electorate, Sanders' embrace of the socialism tag is a major problem. For many Cold War survivors, socialism wasn't just the polar opposite of capitalism, but also the opposite of Americanism, Christianity and Liberty. It would be hard to over-estimate how much of Nixon or Reagan's popularity was predicated on their role as strong anti-socialists. A Gallup poll in 2015 proved that the label was political poison, with 50% of voters stating that they could never vote for a Socislist. [6].

More in the next round: Bernie the deadbeat, Bernie the 1%er, & Mrs. Bernie

[1] http://www.attn.com...
[2] https://www.govtrack.us...
[3] https://www.opensecrets.org...
[4] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org...
[5] http://www.vox.com...
[6] http://www.gallup.com...
Debate Round No. 2
toocoolblue

Pro

Con disproved half of Pro's case in R1 by demonstrating that it is far too late for Sanders to attempt a write in candidate.

Actually, Pro provided the path to a Sanders victory. The Electoral college.

In case you've missed it. Trump is none to popular among Republicans. And while Democrats wouldn't hesitate to vote against a candidate who won the majority vote. The Reps never would.

Besides Reps could never govern from such a position anyway.

If Sanders won the popular vote, he would be president.

And while I commend Levi for the enormous amount of time he is putting into this debate, I think he is somewhat missing the forest for the trees.

Trump can't even win Utah against a real 3rd party candidate. Freakin UTAH!! Really?!? Utah?

And Clinton can't pull away from Trump. The polls say they are basically tied.

That's how hated these two are.

Con runs down Sanders, completely oblivious to the fact that none of that matters.

No one cares, his winning platform is I'm NOT Clinton or Trump.

Nothing else matters.

He wins in a landslide of popular votes. No way for election committees to ignore the votes of the people.

They might resist at first, but that wouldn't last long.
levi_smiles

Con

Bernie the Deadbeat

The fact is that Sanders did not receive a regular paycheck until he became Mayor of Burlington in '81. We know that Sanders was collecting unemployment at the time of his candidacy, but whether he did so through most of his 20s and 30s is unclear. Certainly, he wasn't making much as a political activist writing articles for small leftist magazines but he did some other odd jobs. There's nothing to indicate whether he ever paid his ex-girlfriend child support for his son born in '69 but since he seldom had enough money to keep his own utilities on, this seems unlikely. [1] If Sanders had entered the general election, we can certain that we would learned much more about Sanders' welfare dependency and the degree to which he supported his child.

Bernie the 1%er

Nowadays, the Sanders' net worth is generally estimated between $300,000 -$700,000 we can assume that's a low ball based on the est. value of their three homes: $320,000, $600,000, and $726,000. That's also only based on Bernie's salary of $174,000/yr and doesn't factor in that Jane pulled $160,000/yr as President of Burlington College. In Vermont, a household income over $299,000/yr today places you in in the top 1%, so the Sanders likely qualified at least from '06 -'12, which probably explains why Sanders refuses to release his tax returns from earlier than 2014. Certainly, Sanders paid taxes like a 1%er on that one tax return- an effective rate of 13.5% [3]

Mrs. Bernie

Speaking of Jane, consider the field day the media would have with her destructive tenure as Burlington College President. In 2011, Jane was forced to resign after overseeing a $10 million dollar purchase of a new 33 acre campus from the Archdiocese of Vermont. The loan was was backed by exaggerated claims of promised donations (80% never materialized) and underwritten by the Catholic Church. The 200 student private school with an annual endowment of $250,000 couldn't even make the first payment, costing the Archdiocese about $2 million. Sanders was shown the door but promised to remain active in the school. When the bankrupted school shut its doors this spring, neither Sanders had any comment. Just look at those numbers- a school with a $250,000 endowment was paying more than 64% of that income to pay its president's $160,000 salary and then put up an additional $200,000 golden parachute as a favor for bankrupting the institution. Imagine what Bernie would have said about that if his wife had not been the perpetrator of such high stakes folly. [4] [5]

Are any these weaknesses necessarily more damaging than Clinton's or Trump's? Probably not, but most of Clinton's and Trump's deficits were well understood before they ran for president while Sanders' more lofty reputation would have certainly lost more ground as Sanders' drawbacks came under more scrutiny.

Pro
Actually, Pro provided the path to a Sanders victory. The Electoral college. In case you've missed it. Trump is none to popular among Republicans. And while Democrats wouldn't hesitate to vote against a candidate who won the majority vote. The Reps never would.
Con
Pro missed the part in R1 where 34 states would not record unregistered write-in votes. Even if Sanders won a majority by write-in at this point, there would be no record to prove it that the House of Representatives need respect.
Pro
Besides Reps could never govern from such a position anyway. If Sanders won the popular vote, he would be president.
Con
Really? Congress ignores or opposes the popular will pretty consistently. Gun registration, repealing Citizens United, campaign finance reform, tax reform, decreased defense spending, infrastructure re-investment, rejecting the TPP are among many important issues that enjoy wide-ranging, bipartisan consensus and a mandate for action. Congress ignores these issues because money and influence comes from interest groups who would prefer that these issues be tabled. Whatever the popular will, Congress votes with the money and the money is united in their opposition to Sanders. Does Pro really suppose Paul Ryan could vote to put Sanders in the White House and survive his next election? I don't see any evidence to support such a fantasy.
Pro
And while I commend Levi for the enormous amount of time he is putting into this debate, I think he is somewhat missing the forest for the trees.
Con
There is no forest. We're down to one old shrub and a radioactive badger. Pro keeps arguing that there might have been a lovely forest but doesn't seem to care that nobody brought the acorns.
Pro
Trump can't even win Utah against a real 3rd party candidate. Freakin UTAH!! Really?!? Utah?
Con
Rather than jump on the most recent polling outlier, let's look the more reliable Real Clear Politics polling average which has
Trump up in Utah by +5.8 in a 5 way race. [6]
Pro
And Clinton can't pull away from Trump. The polls say they are basically tied.
Con
Today's RCP polling average? Clinton +5.7. Consider that 5 points is considered a landslide and Hillary's been averaging over 5 for the past month. That's not a tie- that's a rout. [7]
Pro
That's how hated these two are.
Con
Yeah, but hate's a funny thing. The opposite of hate is not love, it's disinterest. The opposite of love is not hate, it's disinterest.
Pro
Con runs down Sanders, completely oblivious to the fact that none of that matters.
Con
I like Sanders and agree with many of concerns. But an objective consideration of the evidence suggests that as a presidential candidate, he would never amount to more than a flash in the pan. He never had the core's support, he never had the big vision for the American future, he didn't have that inner Jingo essential to Commanders-in-Chief or the cutthroat ambition essential to Chief Executives. He didn't know how to force a deal on his terms. Sanders achieved his maximum potential: he brought income inequality to the fore, forced his party to the left, and made socialist less of a dirty word. But Sanders was never going to be president.
Pro
No one cares, his winning platform is I'm NOT Clinton or Trump. Nothing else matters.
He wins in a landslide of popular votes. No way for election committees to ignore the votes of the people.
They might resist at first, but that wouldn't last long.
Con
Since Pro is just repeating, I'll conclude-

Voters should note that Pro's argument was exclusively opinion. Pro offered no data or polling or quotes to support his hypothesis. Pro asserted and re-asserted a theory that Sanders could win a non-decision with majority support from the Republican base. This seems no more likely than Elizabeth Warren voting for Trump. Con pointed out that the window of opportunity for a write-In candidate was long past, Pro didn't care. Con asked Pro to explain whether Sander's hypothetical run was after his Democratic race or before. Pro refused to choose because before the primaries, Sanders had little name recognition and after the primaries he would have been a spoiler for Trump. Either way, Sanders small set of political initiatives would have been fairly unpopular amount the general electorate and opposition research would have run his numbers down.

Sanders was never going to be president. Please vote CON.

[1] http://www.newyorker.com...
[2] https://www.google.com...
[3] http://www.nationalreview.com...
[4] http://www.wcax.com...
[5] http://www.wcax.com...
[6] http://www.realclearpolitics.com...
[7] http://www.realclearpolitics.com...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by toocoolblue 4 weeks ago
toocoolblue
Well, the results speak for itself.

Turnout was significantly diminished. Hillary got about 10 million less votes than Obama 08 and Trump got less votes than McCain or Romney.

Any viable 3rd party candidate would have won.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Conceptua 1 month ago
Conceptua
toocoolbluelevi_smilesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I really hated Con's formatting, but I feel he won this debate. Con was able to refute all of Pro's arguments effectively, and brought up good substantiated points to support his cause. The majority of his case was dropped as well.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 1 month ago
fire_wings
toocoolbluelevi_smilesTied
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Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 month ago
dsjpk5
toocoolbluelevi_smilesTied
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