26 June 2016

Yeah, This is Going to Bring the Party Together

I understand that in US politics party platforms don't count for much.

Still, the fact Clinton and DNC members of the platform committee have voted against a meaningful increase to the minimum wage, and for fracking and the TPP promises to make the Democratic convention a mess:
The battle over the official Democratic Party platform began in earnest this Friday at a nine-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, and already the sparks of tension seem to be outweighing the calls for “unity.”

The Democratic Party’s platform is an official statement of values on a wide range of issues, and while it is officially non-binding, the platform serves as a crucial guidepost for the entire party. The 2016 platform committee comprises fifteen members, with five members chosen by Bernie Sanders, six chosen by Hillary Clinton, and four chosen by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Bernie Sanders himself had conflicting feelings about the progress and concessions made on Friday, releasing a statement on his website that said he was “pleased” with certain aspects but was “disappointed and dismayed” at other decisions, particularly those regarding trade.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Sanders representative on the committee, attempted to insert language into the platform that stated Democrats would not hold a vote on the widely derided Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in order to effectively end the plan’s prospects, but the committee rejected Ellison’s proposal so as to avoid indirectly criticizing President Obama on the issue, despite both Sanders and Clinton being against the deal.


The Democrats also voted to include the $15 minimum wage into the platform, even calling the current rate of $7.25 a “starvation wage.” However, there arose some confusion over this particular issue among progressive critics, as two further amendments introduced by Ellison that would have indexed the minimum wage to inflation, making it a truly “livable wage,” were voted down.


Bill McKibben, a Sanders appointee to the committee and prominent environmentalist who co-founded 350.org, attempted to insert language on both a carbon tax and a national moratorium on fracking, but both proposals were rejected in perhaps the most disappointing move of the proceedings.


The committee also rejected a single-payer Medicare-for-All plan in a decisive blow to one of Sanders’ key domestic policies. Hillary Clinton has stated in this election cycle that single-payer healthcare will “never, ever come to pass” despite supporting universal healthcare for most of her career. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, 58% of Americans support a federally funded healthcare option. Only 48% of those polled wished to continue the Affordable Care Act.

Progressives and Sanders supporters vocalized their frustrations with what they saw as continued obstinance in the face of wide support for these programs and ideas. “What was passed was a solidly neoliberal platform — 90% of what we wanted is not getting in,” said Caleb-Michael Files, the digital strategist for People for Bernie Sanders.


Sanders has repeatedly stressed since the end of the campaign season that his endorsement of Clinton would depend on her platform and how closely her goals aligned with his own campaign’s. Sanders remained defiant in the closing of his statement on the platform, vowing to continue to fight for the issues as the platform continues to be debated in the coming weeks:
“If our pro-worker amendments do not carry in St. Louis we will reintroduce them before the full platform committee in Orlando, Florida. If we do not win in Orlando we can carry them to the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”
This is not a surprise.  Neither Clinton nor Wasserman-Schultz feel the slightest need to make nice with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Their goal is to assert control, and this might very well throw the election to the short fingered vulgarian.


Stephen Montsaroff said...

Let me see if I have this right: having lost by three million votes, Sanders has no responsibility to accept the fact.

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