Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Two Florida Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block Sen. Bernie Sanders — a self-declared independent — from appearing on the state's primary ballot next month on the grounds of Florida having a closed primary system, Politico reports.

The big picture: Florida's closed primary system does not allow individuals to cast votes across party lines or for independents or third-party voters to participate. Sanders is an independent who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, but is currently the front-runner in the Democratic primary for president.

  • The suit is backed by two resident Florida Democrats: Frank Bach and George Brown.

What they're saying: Karen Gievers, a former Florida circuit court judge representing the plaintiffs, said, "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 party."

  • Juan Penalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, countered: "The Florida Democratic Party executive committee voted unanimously to place Senator Sanders on the Florida ballot. Votes cast for the senator are valid and must be counted.”

Between the lines: Florida law does allow political parties to determine which candidates appear on their primary ballot, and Sanders appeared on the Florida primary ballot in 2016.

  • The move comes as Sanders is facing major backlash in Florida, which has a large Cuban population, over his comments praising aspects of Fidel Castro's dictatorship.
  • Sanders, a democratic socialist, said during a "60 Minutes" interview that he condemns Castro's authoritarianism, but that not everything the Cuban leader did was bad.
  • "He had a massive literacy program," Sanders said. "Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?"

Go deeper: Bernie Sanders' rise forces media to reckon with how to cover him

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.

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