Draft Dem Platform|Shows Sanders’ Influence

     (CN) – A draft of the Democratic Party’s platform heading into the party’s July convention in Philadelphia includes many of the items Sen. Bernie Sanders advocated during his presidential campaign, including a $15 minimum wage, a multi-millionaire surtax, an expansion of earned income tax credits for childless workers and abolishing the death penalty.
     The goodies for Sanders’ supporters also include a promise to break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions that pose a systemic risk to the stability of the economy and to increase funding and other resources for community health centers.
     But this weekend’s meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s platform drafting committee wasn’t a complete win for Sanders and his supporters. Among the items blocked during the committee’s deliberations were calls to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system, a carbon tax to address climate change, and a freeze hydraulic fracking.
     “I recognize there are bound to be some who are disappointed with the outcome, but our Party’s platform has always been both aspirational and imperfect,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a committee member and former co-chair of the party’s progressive caucus. “
     “In fact, on issues like climate change, I voted with Senator Sanders, and didn’t get everything I was hoping for. This is how our democracy functions,” she said.
     “We lost some but we won some,” said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. “We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before.”
     The convention platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions; rather, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward.
     Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. It will next be considered at a meeting of the full platform committee early next month in Orlando, Florida.
     On Sunday, Sanders tied the platform-drafting process to the current global jitters in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
     “The lesson of Brexit is that while the very rich get much richer, working people throughout the world are not seeing the global economy and an explosion of technology benefiting their lives,” Sanders said.
     “In fact, in the United States the middle class has been in decline for 35 years while there has been a huge increase in income and wealth inequality,” he said. “The challenge for us today is to take on the greed and power of Wall Street and corporate America, and create a government and an economy that works for all of us and not just the 1 percent. … This is precisely what the struggle over the Democratic Party platform is about.”
     Sanders, who has still not endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s presumptive presidential nominee, said he was happy to have won “some very important provisions” but added, “much more needs to be done.”
     Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama.
     He also decried the fact the committee rejected a requirement that the United States rely solely on clean energy by 2050.
     “The platform drafted in St. Louis is a very good start, but there is no question that much more work remains to be done by the full Platform Committee when it meets in Orlando on July 8 and 9,” Sanders said. “We intend to do everything we can to rally support for our amendments in Orlando and if we fail there to take the fight to the floor of the convention in Philadelphia. It is imperative that this platform be not only the most progressive in the history of the Democratic Party, but includes a set of policies that will be fought for and implemented by Democratic elected officials.”

%d bloggers like this: