Almost certainly not gonna happen, that, but Mark Jacobson at NYMag shares Sanders’ back story, which is interesting way beyond WINTHEMORNING:
… To know why we may soon be living in a however unlikely Bernie Sanders moment, it is useful to know Vermont, the state Sanders has represented in Congress for 24 years, the last eight as a senator. It is helpful to understand that long before Sam Houston and the loutish Lone Star State, before the “patriot” secessionists of Arizona, there was the Republic of Vermont, a sovereign nation with its own constitution. Signed in a tavern during a raging thunderstorm in 1777, the Vermont constitution forbade slavery and guaranteed suffrage to male non-landowners. In other words, it offered more freedom than the famous document promulgated by the vaunted U.S. Founding Fathers and ratified in 1789…
When Sanders arrived in Vermont at age 27, it was among the whitest and most rural states in the country, as it still is today. He was one of thousands of “flatlanders” (what the “woodchuck” locals call out-of-staters) fleeing the “hassle” of New York and Boston. Sanders fell in love. This wasn’t Brooklyn. “In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve never once heard anyone loudly cursing in the grocery store.”
He did odd jobs and began to raise a family. In 1971, a friend invited him to a meeting of the then-fledgling leftist Liberty Union Party. Sanders remembers: “I stood up, said a few words. I can’t remember what. Two hours later, I was a candidate for the United States Senate.” He got in his $200 car and went out to campaign. “Here I was, running on this tiny party, with no money, but I was allowed to participate in the debates, I was on the radio, interviewed in the newspapers, actually taken seriously. Could you imagine that happening today?”
Sanders ran as an “unabashed socialist,” got 2 percent, kept at it, got 4. He did considerably better in the blue-collar areas of Burlington. Switching from the socialist Liberty Union Party to become an Independent, he ran for mayor and, in what became a nasty standoff between liberal flatlanders and old-line woodchucks, managed to beat the five-term incumbent Gordon Paquette by a count of 4,030 to 4,020…
Although he was admittedly no more than “a foot soldier” in the great movement battles of the ’60s, Sanders is the last pure man standing of his most political generation. The highly compromised examples of Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Jerry Brown, and even Jesse Jackson notwithstanding, he alone has been able to keep the outsider faith. Even though he votes with the Democratic Party more often than many actual Democrats, he is the longest-serving Independent member of Congress in the history of the country…
Soon we are discussing a major question in the would-be Bernie campaign: Would he run on a third-party ticket or as a Democrat? The choice seems obvious. Not even Ross Perot could afford to launch a meaningful third-party national campaign these days. Beyond that, you risk what Sanders calls “the Ralph Nader dilemma.”
If there’s one thing that really bugs Bernie, it is the specter of Nader, who earlier this year sent a bizarre “open letter” to the Burlington Free Press whining about how Sanders won’t return his calls. Discounting the argument that the two-party system might be a big part of the status quo he so deplores, Sanders slaps down his soup spoon.
“Do you remember Florida?” Sanders half-shouts. “I won’t play the spoiler.”
Besides, being a Democrat gets you onto the primary stage with Hillary Clinton, a prospect that figures to keep political analysts palavering long into the night. The issue is how much Bernie can tap into what he calls “the profound anger” that has pervaded the nation from the tea party to Occupy, and how much that anger will play into the campaign narrative. Bernie could push Clinton to move left. Who knows, he could get hot. If Herman Cain could get hot, even for a moment, why not Sanders? He is already beginning to connect the mass protests following the Eric Garner and Michael Brown killings with his core economic-fairness issues….