Progress In The Platform

The Democratic National Committee released a draft platform late Friday.

The Democratic National Committee Released A Draft Platform Late Friday

While many Americans were traveling, barbecuing, and celebrating the United States’ 240th birthday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) released a groundbreaking platform draft late Friday. As former EPA Administrator Carol Browner, a member of the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, described, the drafting committee aspired “to craft a progressive blueprint for the future that represents the diversity of the entire Democratic coalition.” The draft platform appears to achieve this goal as it is perhaps the most progressive party platform in history, including key provisions on an array of policy issues that affect millions of Americans across the country. Here is an overview of some of the components of the DNC’s progressive platform:

  • Takes on Wall Street: The draft platform, which criticizes the “greed and recklessness of Wall Street” includes several provisions that place some limits on the finance industry. Acknowledging that “large corporations have concentrated their control over markers to a greater degree than Americans have seen in decades,” the platforms calls for strengthening antitrust and competition policies by enhancing the antitrust enforcement arms of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. In light of “today’s extreme level of income and wealth inequality,” the draft platform also places new limits on securities trading by commercial banks, builds on Dodd Frank, and strengthens the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Helps Americans better address work and family challenges: The United States needs to update its family economic policies, as women still are not paid fairly for their work and the United States remains the only developed nation without comprehensive, guaranteed paid maternity leave. In response to this, the draft platform vows that the Democratic Party “will fight to secure equal pay for women.” It also promises that Democrats will make sure the United States enacts national paid family and medical to provide workers at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for a new child or a family member’s or their own medical condition, and will work to provide workers the ability to earn at least seven days of paid sick leave. The platform also wants to enable working families to better afford rising costs by backing a higher minimum wage and by increasing childcare investments to make quality childcare more affordable.
  • Ensures rights for LGBT Americans: The Democratic Party’s draft platform makes history in many ways, but perhaps most notably as it is the first Democratic platform to ever use the word “transgender.” The platform is by far the most progressive platform ever on LGBT rights—it endorses federal nondiscrimination protections for the first time and says Democrats will combat LGBT homelessness and violence against the transgender community.
  • Moves forward on immigration: While Donald Trump vows to deport every unauthorized immigrant and build a wall, Democrats condemn Trump’s “divisive and derogatory language,” and instead call immigration “a defining aspect of the American character and history.” The platform calls for a path to citizenship “for law-abiding families who are here,” the defense of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the end of immigration raids against children and families, due process for “those fleeing violence in Central America,” and to rescind statutory bans on immigrants who are otherwise eligible to legalize their status in the country, and to support immigrant integration and naturalization.
  • Holds climate deniers accountable: The platform prioritizes bold climate action, including calling on the Justice Department to investigate fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil for misleading the public on the threat of climate change. The oil giant is currently being subpoenaed by attorneys general from New York and Massachusetts, with a dozen others vowing to hold the company accountable. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has referred the question to the FBI for consideration, but it’s unknown where a federal investigation stands. The platform draft makes clear that Democrats believe that the industry should be held accountable and that strong climate action is good for the American economy and environment. And the platform set an ambitious, nationwide goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
  • Strives to provide quality and affordable education: The platform includes many provisions that would make higher education more accessible, including free community college and allowing people to refinance their student loans. On K-12 education, the platform says Democrats will “launch a national campaign to recruit and retain high-quality teachers” and “support great neighborhood and high-quality public charter schools.” In addition the platform reaffirms the party’s commitment to “hold schools, districts, communities, and states accountable for raising achievement levels for all students,” and it also says Democrats will strive to strike a better balance on testing.

BOTTOM LINE: With new progressive measures on a variety of issues that impact the lives of everyday Americans, it is clear that the DNC’s draft platform, as drafting committee member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) puts it, “moves [the Democratic] party firmly toward justice, fairness, and inclusion.” In contrast to Trump’s hateful rhetoric that divides Americans, the Democratic platform was created under the idea that inspired the Continental Congress 240 years ago: “out of many, we are one.” Americans need common sense, 21st century policies that help families get ahead, recognize the contributions of the many communities around the country and address their needs, and take on the people who are rigging our economy and our politics. The Democratic platform is the most progressive ever and takes steps toward making those policies a reality.

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