Sanders was very candid in pointing out that he did not want to play spoiler and help elect a Republican in 2016. While speaking at the Newseum in Washington D.C. the Vermont Senator stated:
I would not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican president.
As I was contemplating what I’d do, one decision I had to make was, there were a lot of people telling me to run as an Independent. They said the Republican Party is an extreme right-wing party, and the Democratic Party is too conservative, too cozied-up to big money … and that I should run outside of the two party system.
I thought about it, but I reached the decision that the only way at this particular moment in history that we could run an effective campaign was within the Democratic primary and caucus system.
Sanders’ announcement is likely to be greeted with a sigh of relief from Democrats who remember Ralph Nader’s quixotic third party run that helped George W. Bush get elected over Al Gore in 2000. Nader’s candidacy almost certainly cost Al Gore victories in the states of Florida and New Hampshire. Had Gore won either of those states he would have cleared the 270 Electoral Votes needed to become president.
Sanders is committed to taking his case to the Democratic Party voters in caucuses and primaries. Sanders is “in it to win it.” However, if he does not win the Democratic nomination he plans to be a team player. Sanders has no intentions of becoming a sore loser by running a third party campaign that would split the votes on the left and thereby enable a Republican to win the White House.