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Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Democratic Platform Drafting Committee on Saturday released a draft of policy positions that reflect a slight move to the left pushed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

This committee was one of the theaters for the wind down of Sen. Sanders’ populist presidential campaign. The Vermont senator has expressed that he wants to ensure the Democratic party embraces a progressive platform before he fully endorses its presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton.

The document is the result of negotiations by 15 panel members – six named by Clinton, five named by Sanders, and the remaining four named by Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Our candidates ran strong campaigns that addressed the priorities of the American people, and I am proud to say that the drafting process has reflected our commitment as a party to elevating their voices.” read a statement by Wasserman Schultz.

The draft adopts Sanders’ position on expanding Social Security and the importance of going after Wall Street, stating that “The Democratic Platform will make clear that Wall Street cannot be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments and making huge profits, all the while thinking that taxpayers will be there to bail them out again.” The document says Democrats will work towards the breakup of some large Wall Street banks and argues for expanding Dodd-Frank and passing “an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall.”

The committee also took Sander’s side on the death penalty, explicitly opposing it for the first time in the party’s history. Clinton has said she supports the death penalty in some cases.

The compromise also advocates for a $15-per-hour minimum wage, calling the current $7.25 an-hour wage a “starvation wage,” borrowing Sander’s language. However, the draft does not fully adhere to Sanders’ view on this issue; it does not explicitly state that the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15-per-hour. Clinton has said states and cities should make the decision to raise the minimum wage individually.

The committee also pledged to work for comprehensive immigration reform, honoring indigenous tribal nations, reproductive rights, and criminal justice reform, including a slew of demands of the Black Lives Matter movement:

“The current draft calls for ending the era of mass incarceration, shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering addiction.”

There were some issues that the Sanders’ camp could not move forward. The committee rejected language supporting a Medicare-for-all singer-payer health care system, a carbon tax, and a fracking ban.

“We lost some but we won some,” said committee member and Sanders supporter James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute. “We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before.”

Although both Clinton and Sanders oppose the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP), Clinton’s team voted against including language in the draft that opposed it. The White House lobbied against including language in the platform that reflected opposition to the president’s trade deal.

“I don’t want to do anything as he ends his term to undercut the president of the United States,” said panel chairman and Clinton supporter Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who also opposes the TPP.

According to the Washington Post, panel member and Sanders supporter Cornell West said that “the responsibilities of citizenship should transcend loyalty to the president.” The activist and scholar abstained from approving the draft.

Sanders’ camp also failed to add language about elevating Palestinian sovereignty to a policy objective for the U.S. and clearly labeling Israel military presence in the West Bank as an occupation. Instead, the document takes Clinton’s position on the issue, advocating for a “two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict” that guarantees Israel’s security under recognized borders “and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”

The Sanders’ campaign has stated that they are not done pushing for more of the issues in their agenda. Sanders said on Friday that he would endorse Clinton when she says “the things that need to be said.”

The draft, which does not bind the Democratic nominee to its positions, is set to go on to the Platform Committee at a meeting in Orlando on July 8th and 9th. It will then be presented for final ratification at the Democratic National Convention later the same month.


Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic U.S. presidential candidates debate in Kendall, Florida March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri 

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28 Responses to How Far Left Will The Democratic Party Move? Draft Platform Tells Us

      • Today’s rigth wing cannot be reasoned with. It’s their way or the highway. That is not democracy. That’s tyranny. Not to worry, Peace returns as soon as the election is called in November.

        The GOP due to their irrascible, snarling, sneering, bellowing, obstructionist attitudes will lose the lion’s share of their power.

        • That is also one of the biggest problems with bernie. He is unlikely to compromise. He is a big believer of “my way or the highway”.

          • I agree. The odd thing is that when all is said and done, when in balance both left and right hate waste. It becomes a divide when the right considers waste things we already paid nearly our entire lives for like SS and Medicare. Or like the ACA which has saved us billions in profits the right wing 1% have lapped up from our hard earned middle class incomes.

            Sanders was born not far from my NJ home in Brooklyn NY. So, his reputation precedes him. When he was in college, as the famous Civil Rights leader, John Lewis stated publicly, Sanders was not involved in the high level aspects of the Civil Rights movement as he now implies. He does so at this point to create his “social justice” platform he knows are part of today’s most attractive issues. His supporters are fast to deny these issues have been around since Reagan’s Trickle Down only trickled up …a total of 4 plus decades Sanders had to make some very serious legislative changes.

            Then, there is the matter of Sanders and his “Cheney like” secrecy. His supporters hate to admit he has taken foreign donations and is being investigated by the FEC. Not once do they ask him about this. It’s as if they believe a thick veil of silence is going to prevent Sanders dirty laundry from ever being aired.

            When Sanders claims he gets no media attention, what he really means is he doesn’t get the glowing compliments his ego needs. He and his supporters deny he is responsible for withholding the media. He knows why.

            He is also not the “poorest” Senator as he claims. His 38 investments in Dominion Oil and Fracking prove that his ranting about Wall Street is all an act.

          • I really found his fighting releasing his taxes to be very strange. He must have known that not doing so was going to hurt his chances and yet he just doubled down. I think that problem he had probably hurt him more than you would think cus Dems. do not like corruption in our pols. He could have tried to run as a repug, they don’t care if their pols are honest.

  1. I don’t think it is healthy to go too far to the left. Coming to the middle makes much sense. The country is divided into two equal parts, sticking on the left can create much more problems in governing.

    • There isn’t a “far left.” There are Libertarians and Socialists, communists and fascists.

      There isn’t a way to explain Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jason Chaffetz, Trey Gowdy, Tom Cotton , Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmannistan other than to say these are selfish, self-centered, self-important people who would as soon trample the rights of other Americans as grab more of the slice of the Amerian pie for themselves.

      It is the juty and obligation of every parent to protect young children in their most impressionable years from bigotry, hatred, racism and greed. The last item being their most grave future problem.

      While the right wing would have you believe they are the only rightful ruling class of citizens who have all the answers. Sadly, their answers do not work to the advantage of ALL Americans.

      • Hillary is a progressive. Not far left. Most Americans today are desperate for progress. That’s why she will no doubt win by a landslide. Trump is too radically negative and Sanders operates out of his own little cocoon of socialism without valid progress.

    • I agree. The most prudent strategy is a center-left one. I am surprised by the exclusion of the MEDICARE expansion, however.

      • Actually, Hillary Clinton’s strategy is to continue the progressive policies of President Obama. Her choice of VP may be a clue to how she plans to construct her cabinet and its future plans.

        • I hope she chooses Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Both would help unit the party, and would energize Democrats.

          • Quite right. But I prefer Warren to Bernie. Bernie has become a bit resistant to be on the side of Hillary. Watching Warren and Hillary together yesterday in Cincinnati was awsome. The chemistry was there and people were fired up and switched to the mood to be ready to go. This is what helped us to win in 2008 & 2012.

          • The problem is I am not certain this country is ready for an all female ticket, we thought they were ready for the First African American President and all the haters slithered out from under their rocks.

          • If we can put together all voting blocs we had in 2008 & 2012, having an all female ticket is not a problem.

          • White supremacists, and our neanderthals, will attack Hillary regardless of who she chooses as VP, the same way they attacked President Obama since the day of his Inauguration. Might as well select somebody he knows how to fight, who has charisma, and who is very likely to unite the party and energize it.

          • If Warren is chosen, the November election is likely to include coattails that have eluded us for some time, and that allowed the GOP to enjoy their large majority in the House, and a comfortable majority in the Senate. She is well liked, knows how to rally a crowd, and has the guts to tell Trump what to do with his childish rhetoric and behavior.

        • Hillary won’t choose Warren. For one thing, Warren’s far more powerful and effective in the Senate than any VP can be, and will be even more so if the Democrats can retake it from the Thugs. But the Republican governor of Massachusetts would get to name her replacement for the two years left of her term. Not smart.

          Nor will Clinton choose Sanders. Their chemistry sucks, and he would suck as a vice-president (sorry, BernieBots): the job includes presiding over the Senate and serving as the president’s liaison to that body. Someone known for ideological purity and stubborn self-righteousness (like Dick Cheney) would be utterly ineffective in trying to get fellow Democrats, much less Republicans, to go along with policies pushed by the White House. And if President Clinton pushed a policy for a $12 minimum wage, Sanders would go behind her back to try to get senators to change it to $15. He’s utterly untrustworthy because he’s ideologically rigid and absolutist in his views.

          I suspect she will choose someone in the next generation, in his (or her) forties or fifties, likely a Hispanic like Joaquim Castro or the California representative (Villaraigosa?). Corey Booker would be likely, except that his replacement would be chosen by Chris Christie; but it’s not going to be an elderly white male or a Democratic senator from a Republican-held state, no matter how much wishful thinking you indulge in.

          My choice would be Joaquim Castro or, perhaps, Jared Polis — a gay, 40-ish Colorado liberal who’s a self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur and major philanthropist who represents Colorado in the House and is also a gay parent. But he won’t be chosen, either.

          Just being realistic here.

          • I’ve heard his name bandied about, and yesterday I saw a story about the possibility. My only concern about it is whether the GOP would have a lot of ammunition to use against him. I mean, we’d position him as a brilliant commedian, and they’d call him a joke. Yanno?

  2. Sanders never really had a platform that could develop beyond his finger wagging and epistles of social justice. Every politician who runs for office must have a platform to communicate to constituents in order to garner votes. Sanders went back to his social protest days because that social justice hits the poorest, least educated in the country: the Cotton and Corn belts and millennials who feel they are “massively deprived.”

    Boomers should have been as deprived. Thanks to Sanders preaching his freebie gospels, we now have a younger, more entitled generation who believe creature comforts are their domain of civility and if they want to go off grid to prove they can survive without creature comforts, they get paid to do that with their reality shows who exploit millennial prowess.

    As for The Donald, most of us in the Metro area learned not to pay much attention to his snarling, sneering, bellowing and bullying. He always goes away. Which is why I know he will be gone by August.

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