He almost won the nomination in 2016. He remains one of the Democrats’ favorite leaders. And he has strongly hinted that he is poised to make another run for the White House in 2020. Polls indicate that he would be a formidable opponent for President Trump. But there’s just one problem. Bernie Sanders may not be allowed to run in the Democratic primary. Here’s why.
The Democratic National Committee has adopted a new rule at its annual conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The rule bars anyone who does not “run and serve” as a Democrat from competing for the Democratic nomination for President.
The rule reads, “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, of course, is famously an independent. After running for the Presidency on the Democratic ticket in 2016, he declared a return to his independent status when competing for his Senate seat. Although he caucuses with Democrats, he expressed no desire to change his affiliation once outside the Presidential nomination process.
In his home state of Vermont, Sanders is considered a Democrat by government edict.
Sanders supporters have said they believe this measure was enacted out of “spite” for Sanders’ popularity, and to keep him from competing against Democrats who hold some of his same views, such as Senators Elizabeth Warrn, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris.