Should it be called the “Sanders rule?”
That’s the question everyone’s asking after it was revealed that the Democrat National Committee’s new set of rules includes a section that states that individuals seeking their presidential nomination must be a member of the party.
However, some are saying that Sanders won’t be affected thanks to an odd hitch that allows him to technically call himself a Democrat — and it could be a way to get rid of the superdelegates that can decide the Democrat nomination.
The changes were made on Friday at the DNC meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, according to Yahoo News.
“At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat,” the new rule reads.
“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.”
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) June 8, 2018
Shortly after the rule was added to the proposed draft, Randi Weingarten — president of the American Federation of Teachers and all-purpose DNC hack — tweeted out a photo of the rules change with a caption that said that it “changed the rules to ensure to run for President as a Democrat you need to be A Democrat.”
Sanders, of course, is an independent who identifies as a “democratic socialist.” The rule change seems to be a way to keep him out of any potential 2020 race — and, given the DNC’s known antipathy toward Sanders — is hardly a surprise.
There is one weird quirk of the Vermont Democrat Party’s nominating process that could still allow him to run, however.
Sanders does actually run for the Democrat nomination in the state, which he, of course, wins. He declines the nomination, but having won it, he keeps anyone else from challenging him for the Senate as a Democrat nominee.
Last month, perhaps in anticipation of the rules change, Vermont’s Democrat Party said that the fact Sanders had won the party’s nomination — even though he declined it and isn’t a member of the party — means he is a Democrat “for all purposes and entitled to all the rights and privileges that come with such membership at the state and federal level.” Sanders is running for re-election this year. Assuming he wins the Democrat primary in August, the same logic should apply.
Whether or not this actually flies with the national party is anyone’s guess, but Mark Longabaugh, one of Sanders’ senior advisers during his 2016 run, was disappointed.
“I don’t have any worries that Bernie Sanders could meet the criteria to run as a Democrat in 2020, but it always puzzles me that there are some Democrats who want to do this and promote this. I scratch my head and ask why they would want to make the party more narrow and more exclusive,” Longabaugh said.
Another source told Yahoo News that the rules change was actually done to help facilitate a change to eliminate superdelegates, which committee members are currently discussing. Superdelegates are party officials who get to vote at the convention for whatever candidate they choose — regardless of primary results — and whose votes make up roughly 15 percent of delegates.
“With the full DNC heading toward the path of essentially eliminating superdelegates on the first ballot, people felt this would help garner support for the superdelegate proposal,” the anonymous source said.
A final vote will be taken on all of the changes before they go to the DNC for a final vote, which should take place in August.
How this would help facilitate the move from superdelegates, I don’t particularly know, unless members of the entrenched DNC establishment are so miffed that the days of deciding a close nomination could be over for them that they demand something in return.
When it comes to the repercussions of this, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, probably put it best: “Do they really want Bernie and millions outside the party?”
The idea that pushing independents and the party’s far left further away from the part that’s merely left (and also more fond of rules like this) won’t help any Democrat in 2020, whether it be a socialist like Sanders or something slightly more moderate and swamp-drenched, like Uncle Joe Biden. Given this change, one assumes it will probably end up being the latter — or at least, that’s what they’re working toward.
I remember hearing something about what happens do those who don’t learn from history. I seem to have forgotten it, however — much like Democrats have.
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