LAS VEGAS — The Democratic National Committee on Friday rejected a resolution that would have urged independents such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to “register or affiliate with the Democratic Party” next year, one of several small victories for the party’s left wing.
“This puts salt in a wound that we need to be closing right now,” said James Zogby, the outgoing chairman of the DNC’s resolutions committee, as the measure was debated in a morning meeting. “The consequences would feed a Twitter debate that will not be helpful to any of us right now.”
The resolution, introduced by three DNC members from California, attracted attention this week as one more skirmish between those who supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and those who supported Sanders. Bob Mulholland, the DNC member who pitched the resolution to the committee, argued that Democrats were losing potential votes by letting progressive voters work outside the party.
“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.”
But the negative attention on the resolution helped sink it. Terje Anderson, a DNC member from Vermont, told the committee that the language had been sprung on them without warning and didn’t reflect Sanders’s alliance with his state’s Democrats.
“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,” said Anderson. “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.”
The resolution died with a quick voice vote.
Earlier in the day, Sanders supporters scored another win by passing language officially rejecting “corporate donors that conflict with our DNC platform.”
That language had first been introduced in 2016, when the DNC’s quadrennial platform committee met over two days to hammer out differences between supporters of Sanders and Clinton. Christine Pelosi, a San Francisco activist who had backed Clinton in the primary, introduced language that would committed the party to rejecting money from business interests whose interests conflicted with the party’s platform. The platform committee, dominated by Clinton delegates, voted it down.
But on Friday morning, Pelosi took another run at the idea, describing it a way for Democrats to codify their opposition to payday lenders and other businesses the party wants to regulate.
“In our platform, the most progressive platform in party history, we condemn predatory payday lenders,” said Pelosi. “We need to draw bright lines.”
The language ended up passing easily.
“Been a long time coming,” said Zogby.