When Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, he primarily started focusing his attacks on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, while urging challenger Bernie Sanders to enter the race as an Independent. Sanders is lagging in delegates behind Hillary, and can’t even get the former First Lady to commit to a debate at this stage in the election game.
“Bernie Sanders is being treated very badly by the Dems,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “The system is rigged against him. He should run as an independent! Run Bernie, run.” Although Sanders is the longest-serving Independent member of Congress, he’s been running for the Democratic nomination for president this election. So why does Trump care for Sanders to go Independent? What does he gain?
Sanders running as an Independent against Trump and Clinton would largely benefit Trump, actually. Sanders, who has built up a significant amount of popular support amongst millennials, could win their now-mobilized voters instead of them voting for Hillary. Less votes for Hillary strengthens Trump’s chances.
They also share common ground on the establishment’s agenda against them. Both Trump and Sanders have railed on their respective party’s nominating processes, calling them “rigged” to favor establishment candidates. So while Trump will benefit greatly if Sanders goes third party, he also sympathizes will Sanders’ mistreatment by DNC elites like from one nefarious congresswoman.