The Bernie people aren't going to be happy about this, but it's something the DNC should have done years ago.
The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee adopted a new rule on Friday that would prevent outsiders like Bernie Sanders from seeking the party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential race. The move seems to be the latest salvo in the ongoing jockeying over the party’s future that emerged following the at times bitter primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Sanders in 2016.
But while the rule change left some of Sanders’s top allies thinking the party was being driven by “spite,” it likely won’t affect him directly and could pave the way for one of his favorite reforms.
DNC member Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, posted a photo of the rules change shortly after it was added to the proposed draft call for the 2020 Democratic convention. Weingarten, who attended Friday’s DNC meeting in Providence, R.I., wrote that the party “changed the rules to ensure to run for President as a Democrat you need to be A Democrat.”
The new rule would force candidates in Democratic presidential primaries to state that they are Democrats, accept the party’s nomination if they win the 2020 primary and to “run and serve” as a member.
“At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat,” the rule says. “Each candidate pursuing the Democratic nomination shall affirm, in writing, to the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee that they: A. are a member of the Democratic Party; B. will accept the Democratic nomination; and C. will run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party.”
The rule seems like a clear response to Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate but has steadfastly maintained his status as an independent. Sanders ran to the left of Clinton and identifies himself as a “democratic socialist.”
Of course, the Bernie people knew this was coming and frankly don't care because they say it doesn't apply to Bernie anyway.
With Sanders’s independent status and push for inclusivity, the new rule change would seem to be a slap in the face and a potential roadblock should the Vermont senator decide to mount another presidential run in 2020. However, Sanders allies do not believe he would be affected by the measure thanks to a unique rule in his home state.
Sanders, who is currently running for reelection, typically runs in the state’s Democratic primary but declines the party’s nomination after winning. The move allows him to fend off Democratic challengers in the state while still running as an independent. Last month, the Vermont Democratic Party passed a resolution supporting this strategy and proclaiming that Sanders would still be considered a member of the party “for all purposes and entitled to all the rights and privileges that come with such membership at the state and federal level.” That membership could inoculate him against the DNC’s rules change.
So we'll be fighting over this rather than Sanders accepting the reality, joining the party, and moving on, because Sanders supporters think they don't need and don't actually want Democrats, they want Bernie, see.
Here we go again.