Well, there’s a lot to address here, but I’ll focus primarily on Bernie since that’s who you focused on.
Let me preface my response by clarifying that my piece wasn’t meant to apply specifically to Bernie and his supporters. Though the more I think about it, the more I can see why people might interpret it that way. Bernie was essentially a third-party candidate who ran as a Democrat. I agree with you there. However, the reason I say that my argument doesn’t really apply to him is because I actually agree with your (apparent) objection to his decision to run as a Democrat.
I’m a lifelong Independent, hence the sympathy I have for people who feel frustrated by the two-party system. But I’ve always been more than a little uncomfortable with third-party and/or Independent politicians abruptly switching to Rep or Dem just so they can have access to the resources those parties provide, such as the much larger platform they get when they make that switch.
I do understand why Bernie did what he did, and I don’t think his decision was entirely unjustifiable. In fact, it was almost certainly the most pragmatic decision he could make for himself. However, I also feel that if you’re a genuine Libertarian, Green or Indie, then you really should run as a Libertarian, Green or Indie. In my humble opinion, it’s not really fair to expect either of the two major parties to welcome you into their ranks when you’re basically there to mooch off of their brand and platform.
I do have to respectfully disagree with you about third-party candidates and voters taking responsibility for themselves. Some of them see a system they believe is broken or just not work the way it was intended, and, in their view, a vote for one of the two major parties is a vote to reinforce that system. So by voting for third parties, they’re doing exactly what they think is the most responsible thing to do. Other third-party voters are just voting for their principles, which they may very well view as their moral/ethical duty. Now you might not agree with those perspectives, and you might also believe that there’s too much at stake in any given election to justify voting for a third-party candidate (especially now with Donald Trump in office), but I don’t think it necessarily follows that third-party voters are deliberately trying to escape the consequences of their actions or behaviors. In other words, I think their motivations are, generally speaking, not as selfish and narcissistic as your comment implies. I also believe that they’re due the same respect as any other voting bloc, and that their concerns and interests deserve to be acknowledged and addressed.
Anyways, that’s just my take on all that stuff. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the piece. I do sincerely appreciate it.