Even though Bernie Sanders has long caucused with the Democrats in the Senate, he was always officially an independent in a nod to his avowedly socialist beliefs.
But now that he’s running for president, he’s getting a pretty rude welcome from the Democratic party. That’s because in the Democratic primary the actual voting is essentially the talent portion of a beauty contest. No matter how much you impress the audience by juggling chainsaws while singing a Bellini aria, all that really matters is how a handful of judges think you look in a swimsuit. Indeed, thanks to the capricious insanity of "superdelegates" — party insiders who get to award delegates all by themselves—Sanders won the New Hampshire primary election by a whopping 22 points, and still came out of the election with fewer delegates than the loser.
If anything, this is adding a lot of resonance to Sanders’s main campaign theme: Too much of what goes on in this country is controlled by influential elites. It’s a bit awkward for him to explicitly note that the Democratic party is Exhibit A for why this is a problem, but the critique is obvious and quantifiable. So far, Hillary Clinton has the pledged support of 359 superdelegates. Sanders has all of eight. (There’s more than a little irony to what’s happening now, given that in 2008 Obama won the nomination even though Hillary Clinton received more total votes.)