If you are following the rebuilding of the Democratic party, you can’t help but get caught up in the controversy about what to do with Bernie! The Democrats were previously gun-shy about welcoming the Vermont senator into their fold, but now things seem to be warming up quite a bit. More than a dozen Democrats who were recently interviewed by The Hill say that Sanders has become a powerful and welcome voice for the DNC. And what makes this so fascinating is that Bernie Sanders is not even a Democrat, he’s a registered Independent.
“It continues to drive me a bit nuts that he continues to register as an independent but the bottom line is that he is a good Democrat,” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist. Others in the party worry that he will push them too far to the left. Sanders is a self-described “Democratic Socialist.” It is a constant worry for some within the Democratic party that he supports a small number of issues and may not stay allegiant to the full party platform. It is believed that he has “unrealistic” proposals like free college tuition. And there is a segment of the Democratic party that puts much of the blame for the presidential loss on Bernie lingering too long in the race. In fact, Bill Clinton told the new Democratic National Committee Chairman, Tom Perez, that he didn’t want the party “to be simply the party of Bernie,” according to a source familiar with the conversation.
Another Democratic strategist, Lynda Tran, said, “. . .If you’re focused on policy ideas over party labels, you might welcome the inclusion of his voice, and frankly other voices too, at a time when the Democratic Party is under intense attack and working on the path forward. At the end of the day, Bernie Sanders may be a registered Independent, but he has always caucused with Democrats and there is no question he continues to enjoy strong support among many members of the Democratic Party.”
Bill Press, an early Democratic supporter of Sanders said, “People like his ideas. Bernie is Bernie. Whether he has an “I” or a “D” after his name…nobody cares. I talk to a lot of people who now believe that Democrats nominated the wrong candidate and they can’t say for sure that Bernie would have won, but they know Bernie was more in tune with the wavelength of the American people [than Clinton]. He was an agent of change. Clinton was not.”
What do you think? Should Bernie be a major voice for the future of the Democratic party?
Credit: The Hill