Can Bernie Run As An Independent Now? It Hinges On One Important Thing

On Monday night the votes came in and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has racked up the votes she needs to clinch the nomination for the Democratic presidential run, the Associated Press reported. And though Bernie Sanders technically could still win the nomination, it's a long shot. But the contest isn't over just yet between her and Vermont Sen. Sanders, who was still planning on taking his bid to the July convention and leave the race in the hands of the almighty superdelegates. Now that Clinton has won the pledged delegates she needed, can Bernie run as an independent?

A recent Data Targeting survey found that 91 percent of young voters are hoping to see an independent candidate run in the general election, especially if the race is between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump. The same survey found that more than half of the surveyed Americans — or 55 percent of them — would like to see an independent candidate run for office in addition to the two-party candidates, and 58 percent weren't too enthusiastic about either Clinton or Trump.

Will this give the "Bernie or Bust" movement the boost it needs? Gary Frazier, a Philadelphia organizer and leader of the Black Men for Bernie group, told CNN, "You can't expose the corruption of the political system and then expect us to get behind that same political system. ... If Bernie Sanders does not walk out of that thing as the nominee, we can guarantee you from that point on we'll start the de-registration of the Democratic Party."

Sanders himself has called his campaign a "political revolution" from the start, calling for changes to the presidential nominating process by limiting money in politics; he has spoken against the Democratic establishment; and has aggressively touched on the importance of rebuilding the middle class. But after losing on Monday, if Sanders doesn't run on an independent ticket, what will his political revolution actually mean?

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If Sanders drops out of the race and endorses Clinton, what will that say about his candidacy as a Democratic Socialist seeking a political revolution? Sanders has promised his supporters a lot of things, but perhaps he is an establishment politician after all.

However, if Sanders were to run as an independent candidate, he could likely garner a lot of national support. Forty percent of American voters identify as independents — that's nearly half of people of voting age who are also registered to vote, and Sanders has done well among independent voters. But whether Sanders joins the race as an independent candidate truly depends on how serious he is about taking down the Democratic establishment.