Thank you for the link to the excellent Patrick Walker article in CounterPunch. I found the below paragraph particularly well-argued and well-written:
"Hedges, St. Clair, and Frank, in short, castigate Bernie for his Faustian bargain with Democrats, while never raising the serious question of whether, for Bernie personally, any better bargain was available. And frankly, I think their bias against Democrats (a bias Democrats substantially merit) has blinded them to the sheer impotence and futility Bernie would have embraced by running as an independent or for a third party. If there’s now so much excitement over Bernie, it’s precisely because Bernie, by running as a Democrat, gains instant ballot, debate, and media access he wouldn’t otherwise have achieved; his election, while perhaps unlikely, certainly seems possible. And, while corporate mainstream media has certainly not been Bernie-friendly, it has been forced to cover him as part and parcel of typical “horse race” politics: the highly profitable creation of drama around a primary race. Contrast that with the deadly silence—or the “freak show” ridicule—with which mainstream media would have treated a Sanders Green or independent campaign. The best he could have hoped for was to be “Ralph Nader on steroids,” and as Bernie astutely realized, Democrats’ resentment of him as a spoiler—and clampdown on his publicly valuable Senate career—would have been equally “steroidal.”"