Weiner: Sanders 'needs to explain' why he’s running as a Democrat
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Weiner wonders why the Independent Vermont senator plans on switching his party affiliation next election cycle, according to a Business Insider op-ed published Saturday.
 
Weiner charged that Sanders has never expressed a desire to become a Democrat before entering the 2016 race.
 
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“He was a proud socialist and thought the institutional Democratic Party was too cautious and lacking in imagination,” he said of his time in Congress with Sanders.
 
“As much as I prodded, I would never get him to think about joining the Democrats for a moment.”
 
Weiner noted that Sanders’ reluctance to go Democrat earlier leaves the party’s voters with unanswered questions about his motivations.
 
“What exactly does he think he’s doing in a Democratic presidential primary?” Weiner asked. “Why is he asking for the nomination of a party he always avoided joining?”
 
“After a career of steadfastly insisting that the Democratic Party was not his home, now he wants to be not only a member of the party but its standard bearer?” he asked. “What changed?”
 
Weiner also speculated Sanders’ newfound interest in the party may be a strategy for improving his chances in next year’s presidential election.
 
“Is Bernie’s newfound party affiliation just a practical decision to run in a party that can win rather than risk being a Nader-esque spoiler in a third party line next November?” Weiner asked.
 
“That’s a fair calculation, but doesn’t it wipe away Bernie’s three decades of standing as a principled socialist?”
 
Weiner did acknowledge that he believes “Bernie is right about a lot of things.”
 
“He is right that a Medicare for All healthcare plan is a simpler, cheaper and more American solution to our healthcare needs than a jury-rigged system that is better under ObamaCare but still has too many gaps,” he said.
 
“And his battle cry on behalf of working Americans is almost as good as Hillary Clinton’s,” he said of Clinton, the Democratic presidential favorite, also his wife Huma Abedin’s employer.
 
“In spite of all this, if Bernie wants to lead this party, he needs to explain what he’s doing here in the first place,” Weiner added.
 
Weiner also said he believes Sanders addresses a desire for progressive ideas within the Democratic electorate.
 
“There’s no question Bernie’s leftist agitating is filling a void in this primary process,” he said.
 
“The Democratic Party has a strong primal scream element right now,” Weiner said. “It expresses itself in frustration that the high expectations of change that came with President Obama have not been met.”
 
“It howls at the failure of candidates who hew to the middle of the road and it feels the need to counter the batshit crazy it sees dominating the debate on the other side of the aisle,” he added.