He joined. He contested. He lost, but with controversy. In November 2015, Vermont Independent senator, Bernie Sanders announced that he would join the Democratic Party, and will run in any future elections as a Democrat.
On February 4, 2016, senator Sanders declared: “Of course I am a Democrat and running for the Democratic nomination.” This official announcement by Sanders set him up for a contest against the core establishment of the Democratic Party.
Although Sanders was not a member of the Democratic Party, he has a long affiliation with the party. In 2005 when he contested to become a senator as an Independent candidate, he had the backing of senior members of the Democratic Party.
All is now done. The Democratic Party’s establishment got the candidate they wanted, by conspiring to work against Sanders. At least, if we don’t know anything at all, the revelation made by WikiLeaks on the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) confirms Sanders never got a fair playing ground with his competitor during the Democratic Party’s primaries.
As the WikiLeaks revelation continues to threaten the unity of the Democratic Party, Mr Sanders has announced that he is leaving the party, returning to his previous status as an Independent in the house of the senate.
Sanders told Bloomberg News after Hillary Clinton became the official nominee of the Democratic Party: “I was elected as an independent. I’ll stay two years more as an independent”.
An aide who worked on Sanders’ campaign during the primaries confirmed the senator’s plan of leaving the Democratic Party. The aide was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: “He ran for president as a Democrat but was elected to a six-year term in the Senate as an independent”.
However, Sanders will not leave without commenting on the damning emails of the DNC leaked by WikiLeaks. Sanders called for more heads to roll in the Democratic Party, over the emails leaked.
“We need a DNC which has as very different direction. I honestly don’t know many of the people there. But my guess is we’re going to need new leadership, a new direction and new personnel,” Sanders said.
According to observers, Sanders has brought a new spirit into the Democratic Party although he lost. More than 13 million people voted for him in the party’s primaries and caucuses.
In the email leaked by Wikileaks, it revealed that top officials of the Democratic Party, including the DNC chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz were biased against Sanders’ campaign, while favoring Clinton.
On the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia after the leak, Schultz was forced to resign in order to avoid protests from Sanders’ supporters at the convention.
Apart from the emails, WikiLeaks also leaked 29 voicemail messages of some donors of the party, expressing outrage to the DNC for allowing Sanders to contest the primaries.
Some of the voices also expressed grave concern about the influence Sanders was gaining in the party. Others also threatened to leave the party if Sanders continues gaining support.
These leaks have infuriated many of the over 13 million Sanders’ supporters in the party. Many of them said publicly during the convention that they would not vote for Clinton because she cheated her way through to become the nominee of the party.
Observers say this will affect Clinton during the polls in November, giving her opponent, Donald Trump, an advantage.
Clinton’s campaign manger, Robby Mook has openly told CNN in an interview that the emails leaked by WikiLeaks are a part of a secret agenda by the Russian Federation to have Trump elected over Clinton.
According to Mr Mook, the DNC servers were hacked by hackers – sponsored by Russia to dent the image of the Democratic Party – in order for the American public to vote Trump and his Grand Old Party into office. However, no hard evidence has been given to support this claim.