Democrats revealed a draft of the party’s platform on Friday. Although Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was granted several concessions in the draft, he penned an op-ed on Sunday that made it quite clear that in his opinion the platform needs to go much further when it comes to some of the “vitally important proposals” that had been put forth by his campaign.
“The Democratic Party platform drafted in St. Louis is an excellent start in bringing forth policies that will help end the 40-year decline of the American middle class,” Sanders wrote. “These initiatives, if implemented, will create millions of good-paying jobs, significantly improve health care, and reverse the dangerous trend in this country toward an oligarchic form of society. But, let us be clear, this is a document that needs to be significantly improved by the full Platform Committee meeting in Orlando on July 8 and 9.”
Sanders gave the party credit for “some very positive provisions in the platform as it stands today.” These included financial regulations such as the enactment of a “21st-century Glass-Steagall Act” and measures to break up “too-big-to-fail banks.”
“The platform calls for a historic expansion of Social Security, closes loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes, creates millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, makes it easier for workers to join unions, takes on the greed of the pharmaceutical companies, ends disastrous deportation raids, bans private prisons and detention centers, abolishes the death penalty, moves to automatic voter registration and the public financing of elections, eliminates super PACs, and urges passage of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, among many other initiatives,” Sanders said.
He continued, stating that “These are all major accomplishments that will begin to move this country in the right direction.
Sanders then wrote about the issues that the Democratic platform had not addressed to his satisfaction, including a ban on fracking, the introduction of a carbon tax, and a $15 per hour minimum wage.
But, unfortunately, there were a number of vitally important proposals brought forth by the delegates from our campaign that were not adopted. My hope is that a grassroots movement of working people, environmentalists, and human-rights advocates will work with us to demand that the Democratic Party include these initiatives in the platform to be adopted by the full committee in Orlando.
We need to have very clear language that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensures that the promised pensions of millions of Americans will not be cut, establishes a tax on carbon, and creates a ban on fracking. These and other amendments will be offered in Florida.
The Vermont senator also demanded that the party’s platform take a stronger stance against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
“Further, one of the most important amendments that we will offer is to make it clear that the Democratic Party is strongly opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” wrote Sanders.
“In my view, the Democratic Party must go on record in opposition to holding a vote on this disastrous, unfettered free-trade agreement during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond,” Sanders declared.
He then said that he was unable to “understand why the amendment our delegates offered on this issue in St. Louis was defeated with all of Hillary Clinton’s committee members voting against it. I don’t understand that because Clinton, during the campaign, made it very clear that she did not want to see the TPP appear on the floor during the lame-duck session.”
He went on, adding that “if both Clinton and I agree that the TPP should not get to the floor of Congress this year, it’s hard to understand why an amendment saying so would not be overwhelmingly passed.”
Let’s be clear: The trade agreement is opposed by virtually the entire grassroots base of the Democratic Party.
Sanders then provided a long list of groups opposed to the TPP, including “every trade union in this country,” “virtually every major environmental group,” “major religious groups,” and Doctors Without Borders. He continued, stating that the trade deal “also threatens our democracy.”
If there is one take away from Bernie’s op-ed, it is that he is not yet done with the Democratic party or his vision for America.
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