Every 4 years, just before the convention, the Democratic Party puts together a party platform, a mission statement of sorts, describing the ideas and beliefs that govern the party as a whole. The Democratic Party’s platform states the Democratic values for the next 4 years on a wide range of issues. Officially, it is a non-binding commitment, but the platform acts as a crucial outline for the entire party.
This year, the panel selected has fifteen members to draft the party’s platform, with six members chosen by Hillary Clinton, four chosen by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and five chosen by Bernie Sanders. It marked a battle for control over the Democratic Party’s future. The 9 hour draft hearing meeting began on Friday in St. Louis, Missouri, and has created a lot of tension. Open disagreements about goals seemed to outweigh Democratic calls for “unity” as the Clinton/Wasserman-Schultz team ignored progressive goals and supported Mrs. Clinton’s “hidden agenda.”
Bernie Sanders has conflicted feelings about the progress and concessions made on Friday. He released a statement on his website, saying he was “pleased” with certain aspects, but “disappointed and dismayed” by other decisions, particularly those regarding trade and the TPP. Many readers will recall Hillary Clinton originally called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade deals during her time as Secretary of State, but has since publicly opposed TPP while on the campaign trail.
Sanders stated it was “inexplicable” that Hillary Clinton’s appointees to the committee would not support Clinton’s own stated views. He said this because Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Sanders representative on the committee, tried to make ending U.S. involvement in the TPP a Democratic goal, but the committee rejected Ellison’s proposal, claiming they wanted to avoid “indirectly” criticizing President Obama on the issue. (Is that a valid reason?)
The panel also blocked the goals of imposing a carbon tax, and promoting a single-payer healthcare system. (WTF?) While these are all progressive goals, they are not the goals of Corporate America, and their employee Hillary Clinton.
Additionally, an amendment calling for an end to Israel’s “occupation and illegal settlements” and urging an international effort to rebuild Gaza was voted down. However, maintaining the status quo, the panel agreed to support the goal of a “two-state solution” to guarantee Israel’s borders and security, “and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.” (Nothing new there.)
Finally, delegates also discussed a Sanders-backed proposal demanding a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. The Clinton/Wasserman-Schultz team voted to strike down this proposed platform plank. The question becomes, “Whose goals are the Democratic Party representing?” (Could this be called “voter misrepresentation?”)
“The Clinton delegates also voted down definitive language to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.” – BernieSanders.com
In a few weeks this version of the draft will move on to Orlando to be voted on by the full platform committee. From there it will move on to the convention, so it’s not a done deal, and Sanders supporters vow to fight to get as much of his agenda included in the platform.
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