Democrats Pass Highly Progressive Party Platform

| by Robert Fowler
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of VermontDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

The Democratic party platform has been drafted after deliberations in Orlando, Florida. The plank has been characterized as the most progressive in modern U.S. history, which has been attributed to the influence of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The document will need to be ratified during the Democratic National Convention, which is being held in Philadelphia from July 25-28.

Rules about the Democratic nominating process, which Sanders hopes to reform, will have to be done separately before the convention, NBC News reports.

From July 8-9, delegates for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Sanders hashed over the party platform in Orlando. The emerging document strikes a balance between the Vermont senator’s progressive goals and the nominee’s more pragmatist approach.

"We got 80 percent of what we wanted in this platform," Sanders’ policy adviser Warren Gunnels told CNN.

"I think if you read the platform right now, you will understand that the political revolution is alive and kicking," he added, according to NBC News.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who had supported Sanders’ candidacy, signaled that the Vermont senator’s backers would work to elect Clinton and then use the party platform to hold her accountable to the progressive wing.

“Now, let’s put in place a president that can actually deliver on this — and then let’s make sure that she does,” Jealous said, NBC News reports.

The Democratic platform currently calls for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, placing a price on carbon, a pathway to legalizing marijuana, and criminal justice reform.

The Clinton and Sanders delegates compromised on issues such as trade and environmental fracking.

The document contains language for having tougher standards on trade deals but does not explicitly call for the rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Clinton delegates reportedly did not want to publicly go against President Barack Obama, who supports the trade deal, CNN notes.

The platform also calls for enabling local and state governments to regulate fracking as they see fit but does not go as far as Sanders’ position of outright banning the energy practice, according to NBC News.

Sanders did not get his way on a carbon tax, the banning of Washington, D.C., lawmakers becoming lobbyists in retirement, or his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The carbon tax reportedly failed because the Clinton team does not want to be vulnerable to any Republican accusations of tax increases while on the campaign trail.

Sanders is expected to publicly endorse Clinton on July 12. The Vermont senator is slated to join the presumptive Democratic nominee at a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, NPR reports.

Both campaigns released a joint statement promising that the two candidates will spend the event discussing “their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

Despite being mathematically eliminated from winning the party nomination, Sanders has remained in the presidential race. His success in inserting progressive policy goals into the party platform has been attributed to his continuing campaign.

“We have made enormous strides,” Sanders said of the party platform in an official statement. “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process … we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

Sources: CNNNBC News, NPR / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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