Here’s What Bernie And The DNC Don’t Agree On For The Democratic Platform
With Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee and Bernie Sanders still technically in the race but ready to vote for Clinton, the Democratic race is winding down, which takes us to arguably the most exciting part of this whole process: drafting the party platform. Largely because of Sanders’ grassroots, “anti-establishment” presidential campaign, an unprecedented amount of awareness has been raised about issues like economic equality, money in politics, and climate change. Unsurprisingly, these issues are receiving a lot of attention as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) works with Sanders to draft the platform; however, there’s a lot the DNC and Sanders don’t agree on.
The platform committee met over the weekend in St. Louis to develop the groundwork for the party platform, which will be decided at the convention in Philadelphia next month.
It’s worth noting that, in an unusual but super cool turn of events, the DNC allowed Clinton to appoint six of the platform committee’s 15 members, Sanders to appoint five, and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to appoint the remaining four. Traditionally, the DNC chair appoints all of the platform committee, but this decision was probably made to quell aggressive rumors about the DNC being stacked against Sanders, from debate scheduling, to the voter data scandal, to the superdelegate system at large.
Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz offered their slots to people some have identified as lobbyists with ties to Wall Street who are particularly unwelcome among progressives in this election season. Meanwhile, Sanders unsurprisingly offered his slots to progressive notables who have long been advocating for the causes most critical to his campaign. They include the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI) and passionate Palestinian rights activist, the co-chair of the progressive caucus and one of two Muslims in Congress, the vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state and a Native American rights activist, an environmentalist who was writing about global warming before it reached the mainstream, and the vocal civil rights activist and Sanders’ friend, Cornel West.
In a June 9 meeting of the platform committee, West and a noted Clinton surrogate clashed over Israel and Palestinian rights. In the video embedded below, West states:
“[Israel’s security] can never be predicated on an occupation of precious Palestinians… wrestling with occupation for 50-some years, demeaned, devalued, dominated, exploited. For too long the Democratic Party’s been beholden to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) that didn’t take seriously the humanity of Palestinian brothers and sisters.”
While the DNC has officially taken a more pro-Israel stance in the platform that progressives aren’t happy with, it’s worth noting that Sanders has scored some pretty impressive gains, too. According to the Associated Press, the platform draft includes progressive economic policy proposals by Sanders, includING a $15 minimum wage, the expansion of Social Security, and stricter sanctions for Wall Street fraud.
“We lost some very important fights,” Sanders said on Sunday, probably referring to the string of primary losses in critical states that essentially doomed his campaign. But, Sanders affirmed that his fight for progress isn’t anywhere near over: “We’re going to take that fight to Orlando, where the entire committee meets in two weeks. And if we don’t succeed there, then we’ll certainly take it to the floor of the Democratic convention.”
According to The Huffington Post, Sanders’ proposals for developing a plan for universal healthcare, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which could potentially cost millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs), taxing carbon emissions, and banning fracking didn’t make the platform. Given his fiery statement from Sunday though, it’s likely Sanders won’t hesitate to fight for these proposals anew at the convention.
After mobilizing millions of disillusioned progressives, introducing America to a brand of politics that isn’t rooted in lobbyists and big money, and inspiring a movement to reclaim Congress and thousands of supporters to run for office with grassroots campaign approaches similar to his, Sanders’ campaign is all but done, and many are discussing its lasting impact on the Democratic party.
From his committee appointments to the policy proposals he’s relentlessly fighting for, depending on what goes down in Philadelphia next month, Sanders’ ultimate legacy might just be a transformation of the party platform that includes his democratic socialist ideals.