DNC Votes Down Resolution Demanding Sanders Join Democratic Party

Senator Bernie Sanders addresses the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders / Getty Images

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The progressive wing of the Democratic coalition won a small victory on Friday when the Democratic National Committee voted down a resolution demanding Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) join the party.

DNC members rejected the measure that otherwise would have called on Sanders and fellow independent Sen. Angus King  (Maine), who caucus with the Democrats, to "join or affiliate with the Democratic Party," the Washington Post reports. Three party members from California introduced the resolution, which was widely interpreted as another volley in the intra-party feud that has characterized the Democratic presidential primary and its aftermath.

"This puts salt in a wound that we need to be closing right now," outgoing chair of the DNC resolutions committee James Zogby said on Friday during debate over the resolution. "The consequences would feed a Twitter debate that will not be helpful to any of us right now."

It is also not clear what this show of support for the party establishment would have actually done. Sanders decried the Democratic Party’s model as "not working" and said he won't run as a Democrat in 2018, while King has dismissed the resolution and maintained his intention to remain independent.

DNC member Bob Mulholland, who introduced the resolution, argued independents working outside the party cost Democrats a number of progressive votes. He argued there should only be two teams, relating the conditions to the current situation in the MLB where the New York Yankees are one win away from reaching the World Series, as of Friday.

"I thought we were Democrats here," said Mulholland. "When the Yankees face off against the Dodgers, the only people who will be independent in that ballpark will be the umpires."

DNC member Terry Anderson of Vermont criticized the resolution, not only for its position on independents cooperating with Democrats, but also for the fact that her state wasn’t consulted.

"It’s really troubling when you get your resolution package and you find out your state’s been named in it without any prior consultation," Anderson told the committee. "We’ve come to a solution that works for us, and we don’t need external voices telling us how to solve our primaries. Next year, Bernie will run for and win the Democratic primary, and he will win reelection—as an independent."

While the resolution was defeated in a voice vote, it is unclear whether this will signal momentum for Sanders supporters, who have worried they’re facing a "purge" within the DNC. Many on the left have felt their prospects for changing the party have diminished after Tom Perez beat out Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) for the DNC chairman position.

"I’d say they’re making way for new blood, but it’s not that at all," Zogby said after he and others were ousted from the DNC. "We were Keith Ellison supporters. The optics of it are bad."

Sanders supported Ellison for the DNC chairmanship.

Despite the tension, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) downplayed the notion of a debilitating "fracture" existing within the Democratic Party during a Friday appearance on "The View."

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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