Despite this clear and emphatic plea for party unity, Sanders sang a somewhat different tune at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg Politics the following morning (July 26). According to Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, who was in attendance, Sanders told reporters he would return to his post in the US Senate not as a Democrat, but as an independent.Bernie said he wanted to reform the party from the INSIDE but he can’t wait to go home and take a shower to get the corruption, filth and deceit of the party off of him now. He gave it his all but it’s too late for “reform”
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Bernie Sanders tells @bpolitics breakfast w/reporters he'll return to the Senate as an Independent, not a Dem: 'I was elected as an Ind.'
— Susan Page (@SusanPage) July 26, 2016
Sanders, a self-described “Democratic Socialist,” has been officially been an independent politician since 1979, though he has often caucused with Democrats. Last year, he made the move to the Democratic Party in an attempt to win the presidency.
“I was elected an independent,” Sanders told reporters at a Bloomberg-hosted breakfast the morning after.
The move is somewhat expected, but the gravity of the decision feels a little off-putting, coming only hours after he tried to unify the Democratic Party, pleading for his own supporters to rally behind presumptive Democratic nominee Clinton.
Indeed, Sanders has run as independent in every previous election he’s won, and has generally not been a presence at Democratic party events. That said, he generally caucuses with Senate Democrats. He was not, however, required to officially change parties upon declaring his candidacy for president, as his home state of Vermont does not register voters with any particular party.
The website for Sanders’s presidential campaign unequivocally (and understandably) describes him as a “Democratic candidate.” But as recently as July 15, his Senate staff published a press release identifying him as “[Senator] Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”
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