Anyone miffed that a longtime independent senator is hoping to gain the Democratic Party's nomination for president can take comfort that he's vowing to stick by the party—for now, at any rate. Per NBC News, Vermont's Bernie Sanders has inked a "loyalty pledge" with the Democratic National Committee, proclaiming "I am a member of the Democratic Party," meaning he will "run as a Democrat, accept the nomination of my Party, and ... serve as a Democrat if elected." The paperwork also notes that whether a candidate is considered a "bona fide" Democrat is left up to the DNC's discretion.
All Democratic candidates who've made their bids official were sent the pledge last week and given seven days to return it, a DNC rep says. NPR notes that the new requirement mostly came about because of Sanders' 2016 run, which peeved a good number of establishment Democrats who initially feared the self-described democratic socialist might run as an independent if he lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. Despite Sanders' latest commitment to the party, some are still wary, especially since he also recently filed FEC paperwork for Senate reelection in Vermont in 2024—as an independent. (Read more Bernie Sanders stories.)