On “With All Due Respect,” Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, discusses the New York primary, superdelegates and the future of the Vermont senator’s presidential run. Asked by host Mark Halperin if Sanders now will be a member of the Democratic Party “for life,” Weaver responded, “Yes he is, yes he is.”This despite the fact that, as Politico notes,
Sanders’ Senate office has identified him as an independent as recently as April 1.Well, typing "(I-VT)" is probably a reflex for his office staff. I don't care. In any case, his declaration of Democratic loyalty isn't new. This is from a November article in The Boston Globe:
When a reporter asked Sanders his party allegiance after he filed, Sanders responded, “I’m a Democrat.”Do I believe this? No. Sanders is up for reelection to the Senate in 2018. If Democrats are in trouble that year -- as is usually the case in midterm cycles when there's a Democratic president -- I assume Sanders will do what's worked for him in the past: He'll call himself an independent again and run that way. And so what? I'm sure he'll still caucus with the Democrats if he's reelected. He'll continue to be a progressive senator. Where's the harm?
He then called on [Raymond] Buckley, the [New Hampshire] Democratic chairman, who confirmed the senator’s party allegiance. Sanders added that he would run as a Democrat in any future elections.
I don't care what he calls himself now. I just don't want this campaign to do net harm to Hillary Clinton (we're still not sure she's going to face a beatable Donald Trump) and the Democratic Party, regardless of how deeply flawed Clinton and the party are. They're all we're going to have in November standing between us and the infinitely worse Republicans. If Sanders can help beat back the Republicans in a way that doesn't require loyalty to the Democrats, fine, go for it. I'm all for that. But I don't see a wave of progressive indie candidates out there, so we're stuck with the Dems, and trashing Clinton and the party isn't helping. Sanders should critique them, but do it with an eye on the near-term electoral goal as well as his longer-term goal of moving American politics to the left. That's what matters.Apart from that, as far as I'm concerned, he can call himself whatever he wants.