DNC Adopts Rule Forcing Presidential Candidates to Be Members of Democratic Party

“The DNC has learned nothing.”

That was how the advocacy group People for Bernie reacted to reports late Friday that the rules and bylaws arm of the Democratic National Committee has moved ahead with a new resolution that, according to Yahoo News, would “force candidates in Democratic presidential primaries to state that they are Democrats” and “to ‘run and serve’ as a member” of the party.

While allies of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—who ran as a Democrat in the 2016 presidential primary while still identifying as an independent—said they don’t expect the new rules to hinder Sanders’ chances of running for the Democratic nomination in 2020 if he chooses to do so, many supporters of the Vermont senator characterized the rule change as a completely unnecessary “slap in the face” to progressive outsiders.

“We just came off a devastating presidential loss in 2016. It would seem to me the actual impetus would be to expand the Democratic Party. I just for the life of me don’t see any motivation for this beyond personal spite,” Mark Longabaugh, a senior adviser to Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, told Yahoo News. “I scratch my head and ask why they would want to make the party more narrow and more exclusive.”

Other progressives echoed Longabaugh’s critique of the new rule on social media, with many noting that such restrictions could demobilize large constituencies that are disaffected with both major political parties.

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