The Democratic National Committee (DNC) adopted a new rule on Friday designed to keep non-DemocratsDemocrat candidates like Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
The new rule, adopted by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, says that all Democratic Party candidates must be a member of the Democratic Party.
This new rule would stop non-Democrats like Bernie Sanders from running for the party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential race unless they join the Democratic Party. The rule change appears to be a response to the bitter primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Sanders in 2016, although DNC members deny this.
Some Sanders allies think the party is now being motivated by a desire to punish him for his actions in 2016. Many Democratic Party members felt Sanders’ candidacy was disruptive and harmful and helped Donald Trump win the election.
Other Sanders allies pointed out that due to some special Democratic Party rules in Sanders’ home state of Vermont he may technically be considered to be a party member which would allow him to run for president after all. This is unclear at this time, however.
The new DNC 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. Sanders may not be willing to do that.
The new rule states:
“At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat. 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.”
Sanders caucuses with Democrats in the Senate but has always kept his status as an independent. He describes himself as a “democratic socialist” which is not a formal political party.
During the 2016 primary, many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and her supporters, heavily criticized Sanders for his lack of an official affiliation with the Democratic Party while at the same time seeking the Party’s nomination for the presidency.
On the other hand, many of Bernie’s supporters were angry at the Democratic Party for supporting Clinton and helping her win the nomination.
After the 2016 election, the party created a unity commission with members appointed by both Clinton and Sanders. The Sanders wing focused on recommendations designed to open up the party’s nominating process and make it more inclusive.
One thing Sanders wanted to do was eliminate the unelected superdelegates who are able to vote for presidential nominees without going through the delegate selection process in their home state. Sanders and many of his supporters view superdelegates as a way for the Democratic Party “establishment” to control the nominating process. Most superdelegates are elected officials such as Democratic governors and members of Congress.
The DNC is currently discussing eliminating superdelegates, or at least downplaying their role in the nominating process. There will be a final vote on the proposed rules changes this summer.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez has said that he is open to proposals to greatly reduce the number of superdelegates and to reduce their impact on the nominating process.
DNC insiders have said that by changing the rules so only Democrats can win the Democratic Party presidential nomination, this will make it easier to pass the changes to the superdelegate rules. Hopefully the Democrats will get their act together and put on a unified front to increase their chances of winning the presidency in 2020.