The Democratic Party has suffered a slew of electoral losses over the past several election cycles, which culminated in the failure of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to defeat Republicannominee Donald Trump for the presidency in 2016.
Though the liberal media will rarely talk about it, those defeats were brought about by — and have continued to perpetuate — a widening rift within the Democratic Party between the more moderate-establishment and radical-progressive/borderline socialist wings of the party on the left.
That rift was most recently evident by the heated 2016 primary battle between party-favorite Clinton and the popular outsider candidate, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist who caucuses with the Democrats.
Perhaps in a panic brought on by past failures, dismal fundraising results and an uncertain future, it appears the party apparatus is making moves to shore up that rift and streamline its nomination processes ahead of the next presidential election cycle in 2020, so as to avoid a repeat of 2016.
According to Yahoo News, the Democratic National Committee just issued a significant rules change during a meeting of the rules and bylaws committee in Providence, Rhode Island, on Friday.
That rule change — which many viewed as explicitly aimed at Sanders and other future candidates in his mold — proclaimed that any individual running for the Democratic nomination must state to the affirmative that they actually are a member of the party and must “run and serve” as such after receiving the nomination.
“At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat,” reads the new rule.
“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 new rule states.
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) June 8, 2018
It would seem quite obvious that the rule is aimed squarely at Sanders, who runs as a Democrat in Vermont’s primaries but declines the nomination when he wins and serves as an “independent” while in office.
However, Sanders may actually be capable of skirting around this rule change which appeared to be designed to block a potential 2020 run by him, as the Vermont state Democratic Party have stated their support for Sanders’ strategy of enjoying the best of both worlds and said they consider him a member of the party even if he declines to officially accept their nomination.
While Sanders himself may survive this rule change, it was disconcerting to some of his supporters, such as Mark Longabaugh, senior adviser to Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
“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,” Longabaugh said. “I scratch my head and ask why they would want to make the party more narrow and more exclusive.”
“We just came off a devastating presidential loss in 2016. It would seem to me the actual impetus would be to expand the Democratic Party. I just, for the life of me, don’t see any motivation for this beyond personal spite,” he added.
Though it certainly appears that way, an unnamed source familiar with the discussions behind the rule change said it was not directly aimed at Sanders, but was intended as a first step toward garnering support for another rule change — one favored and pushed by Sanders — to do away with or reduce the significance of DNC superdelegates, which Clinton used to her advantage in the 2016 primary to claim support from states she lost.
This could be a tit-for-tat move by the DNC designed to ultimately heal its rift — blocking out independent candidates in exchange for getting rid of the powerful establishment superdelegates — or it could simply be the latest thrashings of a panicked party looking at another potential defeat in 2020.
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