Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) told Chuck Todd Sunday he will not be filing as a member of the Democratic Party when seeking re-election to his Senate seat in 2018.
Todd told Sanders on NBC "Meet the Press" he is in some ways the "most influential member" of the Democratic Party without technically being a member of it. Sanders is currently leading the charge for "Medicare For All" that has rumored 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls jumping onboard.
The filing deadline to register as a Democrat comes three months before having to declare as an Independent in Vermont. The senator was asked what party he plans to register with during his run for reelection 2018.
Sanders said he believed "the current model of the Democratic Party obviously is not working," saying he will do as he has done in the past and keep his independent status while seeking reelection.
"Well, I will do what I have done in the past. Let me just say something about this. The current model of the Democratic Party obviously is not working," he said.
The Republican Party gained a majority in the House and Senate during President Barack Obama's eight years in office, and they also have a strong majority of governorships.
"What we need to do is to reach out to independents. There's is a heck of a lot more independents in this country than there are Republicans or Democrats," Sanders said. "I am an Independent. I have worked within the Democratic caucus in the House and the Senate for over 25 years. I’ll continue to do that. "
"So you'll become a part of the Democratic Party when you think it's finally open enough for independents. Is that a litmus test?" Todd asked.
Sanders said the Democratic Party does not reach out enough, and the party's agenda needs to be even more progressive.
"It's not a question of a litmus test. I think that the Democratic Party has got to reach out to working people, reach out to young people, has got to come up with a progressive agenda," he said, reeling off a laundry list of such items.