During all of Bernie Sanders’ improbable and eventually doomed bid to become the Democrats’ nominee for the presidency he never seemed entirely comfortable with the party label. He was asked about it early on and challenged in the debates, occasionally eliciting some awkward responses. Oh sure… he was fine with saying that he was “adopting” the party and saying that it was his new home, but it seemed obvious that he was always going to be more of a renter than a mortgage holder. And now that Hillary Clinton is accepting the nomination, no sooner had the votes of the delegates been registered (with Bernie being forced to humiliate himself by sealing the deal) than Sanders got busy casting off the party of the donkey like a worn out shoe. (Heat Street)
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.
Sanders, who considers himself, officially, an Independent in Congress because his views lean further left than the Democratic party’s platform, caucuses with Democrats. But until declaring an intention to run for the presidency in 2015, he had rarely, if ever, identified as a member of the Democratic Party (he’s been in politics since 1979).
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
Is anyone really all that surprised? Had he won the nomination I’m sure Bernie would have kept the “D” after his name for a while longer. And if he had somehow (God help us all) managed to win the presidency, he would have logged in as a Democrat, at least for the first term. But Sanders was never really a true believer. He was using the Democrats as a vehicle to get where he wanted to go because they were the ones with the infrastructure and resources to get the job done on a fifty state level. He could have almost as easily have been a Republican if they’d have had him.
In the end, Sanders is a socialist and he makes no bones about it. Sure, he was careful to put the word “democratic” in front of it in later years as he prepared to run for the White House, but he’s a pure socialist at heart. Some of you might claim that the distinction between socialists and Democrats is one of window dressing anyway, but that’s really not true. While modern Democrats certainly share many more traits with their socialist cousins, the party once had a history of being far more democratic in nature. And even today they still want to elect leaders who are accountable to the citizens. (Or so they claim, anyway.) Sanders was all in on real socialism from the beginning.
So adios, Bernie. Our only exit question today is, how many of your new converts around the country will you take with you as you depart?