Florida Democrats sue to boot socialist Bernie Sanders off the ballot

Florida Democrats sue to boot socialist Bernie Sanders off the ballot
Two Florida Democrats sued to block socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from running as a Democrat in the state’s primary, saying he is not a Democrat. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The civil war within the flailing Democratic Party is heating up. Two Florida Democrats filed a lawsuit seeking to remove socialist Bernie Sanders from the state’s March 17 presidential primary ballot.

The plaintiffs argue that Sanders — a registered Independent — should be disqualified from the Democratic primary race because he is “clearly not a Democrat.”

“Defendant Sanders is clearly an Independent, and is clearly not a Democrat, by his own definitions,” the complaint alleges. “His current ‘day job’ is as a United States Senator and he has consistently, proudly, asserted his service in that role as Independent.”

The lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court by Democrats Frank Bach, a retired letter carrier, and George Brown, a retired social worker, according to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

The plaintiffs allege that Bernie is a carpet-bagging “interloper” who’s trying to “eliminate” their votes. The complaint alleges:

“The plaintiffs have the right to cast their March 17 Democratic presidential preference primary votes for those who are really Democrats — not independents — and are entitled to this court’s protection of their right to vote for a Democrat, with the results not diluted by Defendant Sanders’ unlawful participation as an independent interloping improperly in the (primary).”

The plaintiffs say if Bernie wants to run for president, he should run as an Independent.

Tallahassee attorney Karen Gievers, a retired judge, is representing the two Democrats suing Sanders. Gievers said the plaintiffs are concerned “that there not be someone running as a Democrat who isn’t because that’s messing up their vote.”

Gievers added: “Florida is a closed primary state, yet here we have someone who is an Independent on the Democratic ballot. You can’t be an Independent and be a member of the [Democrat] party.”


The lawsuit also seeks to nullify any votes that have already been cast for Senator Sanders in Florida. More than 244,000 Democrats have already voted by mail in the state.

Juan Penalosa, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, trashed the lawsuit and insisted that votes cast for Bernie must count.

“The Florida Democratic Party executive committee voted unanimously to place Senator Sanders on the Florida ballot,” Penalosa said. “Votes cast for the senator are valid and must be counted.”

Sanders’ press secretary, Kolby Lee, said the lawsuit was ridiculous and won’t impact Bernie’s campaign. “We’re aware of the spurious complaint and it will not affect us. Bernie will be on the ballot in Florida,” Lee said.

While Bernie remains the clear frontrunner in the Democratic primaries, many members of his own party are terrified that his radical socialist policies will alienate mainstream Americans.

Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina warned that Sanders’ socialist label “will be an extra burden for us [Democrats].”

“I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry,” said Clyburn, the House Majority Whip. “South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title ‘socialist.’ That would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we need to do well in.”

(Source: ABC News)

Congressman Clyburn said the only way for Democrats to win back the White House and maintain control of the House of Representatives is to back a moderate, centrist Democrat.

“If you look at how well we did the last time, those were not what you might call ‘progressive’ congressional districts,” Clyburn said. “These are moderate and conservative districts that we did well in. And in those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist.”

Nancy Pelosi says she’d be happy having socialist Bernie Sanders as Dem nominee


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