The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday adopted a new rule that would exclude candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the runner-up of the party's 2016 presidential primary race. The rule says candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination must themselves be registered Democrats and must "run and serve" as Democrats. Sanders campaigned for the Democratic nod but is an independent.
Sources familiar with the rule change process told Yahoo News it was not intended to target Sanders personally, and that if he wishes to run in 2020, he can simply list himself as a Democrat to get on the ballot. Because Sanders runs for, but does not accept, the Democratic nomination for his Senate seat, the Democratic Party of Vermont considers him a de facto member. Other outsider candidates might have a more difficult time establishing their Democratic credentials.
Sanders' supporters slammed the rule change. "I really don't get the motivation for the resolution at all," said 2016 Sanders adviser Mark Longabaugh. "You know, Bernie Sanders got 13 million votes in 2016. Thousands, if not millions, of those votes were young people and independents he brought into the Democratic Party. And I'm just stunned that the Democratic Party’s rules committee would want to try to make the Democratic Party an exclusive club, for which we want to exclude voters and large segments of the American electorate."