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Asked by a voter on Monday why he is running as a Democrat, the senator from Vermont, who is an independent but has historically caucused with Congressional Democrats, conceded that “in terms of media coverage, you have to run within the Democratic Party.”

Chuck Todd, who was hosting the town hall-style event, “would not have me on his program” if he’d run as an independent, Sanders joked. (Even so, Politico reported earlier this month, Sanders was initially resistant to affiliating himself with the party, and had to be convinced of its necessity.)

“To run as an independent, you need—you could be a billionaire,” he said. “If you’re a billionaire, you can do that. I’m not a billionaire. So the structure of American politics today is such that I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party.”