The nomination was barely sealed up at the Democratic National Convention before Bernie Sanders, who had campaigned against Hillary Clinton for the party’s nod, went back to being an Independent.
And now, despite pleading with his base to support Hillary, even though they’re concerned that she’s too moderate, Sanders will return to Vermont and to his seat in the Senate, and he’ll do it with no official party affiliation.
Bernie Sanders tells @bpolitics breakfast w/reporters he'll return to the Senate as an Independent, not a Dem: 'I was elected as an Ind.'— Susan Page (@SusanPage) July 26, 2016
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign as Chairwoman of the DNC after leaked emails revealed she’d tried to keep Sanders from challenging Clinton for the party’s nomination, might even be vindicated—sort of.
Sanders has struggled all along with whether to call himself a Democrat, even ducking the question of his party affiliation, raised by local Vermont media, just days after he declared. He later tried to reinforce that he was, indeed, a Democrat. But Sanders certainly wasn’t a party player—and that’s exactly the concern Wasserman Schultz voiced in the Wikileaks document dump.
In an April 24 email she received with an article describing the ways Sanders felt the DNC was undermining his campaign, she wrote back, “Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do.”
If Wasserman Schultz’s job was to ensure that a Democrat got the Democratic party nomination, then she might have been doing her job correctly (even if Bernie’s supporters would disagree).
There’s the additional complication, of course, that Wasserman Schultz was a vocal Clinton supporter, a Clinton surrogate and is now a senior adviser to the campaign, as she’s been officially booted from her DNC duties. But if anyone is vindicating her position, it’s Sanders, dumping the Democratic party as soon as it was no longer useful.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Vermont senator announced he will be leaving the Democratic Party when he returns to work in the U.S. Senate this week.
"I was elected as an independent; I’ll stay two years more as an independent," Sanders, 74, said at the Bloomberg Politics breakfast on Tuesday.
As an elected official in Congress, Sanders caucused with the Democrats, but considers himself an independent due to his far-left-leaning views.
When asked if Sanders considers himself a Democrat or an independent after the event, a campaign aide stated, "He ran for president as a Democrat but was elected to a six-year term in the Senate as an independent."
Let's not forget that, as The Guardian reports, Bernie Sanders has been invited to continue his underdog bid for the White House by the Green party’s probable presidential candidate, who has offered to step aside to let him run.
Jill Stein, who is expected to be endorsed at the party’s August convention in Houston, told Guardian US that “overwhelming” numbers of Sanders supporters are flocking to the Greens rather than Hillary Clinton.
Stein insisted that her presidential bid has a viable “near term goal” of reaching 15% in national polling, which would enable her to stand alongside presumptive nominees Clinton and Donald Trump in televised election debates.
But in a potentially destabilising move for the Democratic party, and an exciting one for Sanders’ supporters, the Green party candidate said she was willing to stand aside for Sanders.
“I’ve invited Bernie to sit down explore collaboration – everything is on the table,” she said. “If he saw that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, he’d be welcomed to the Green party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement,” she said.