A lot of people are freaking out on Twitter right now over the possible 2016 Democratic Platform. Apparently it’s too Republican-esque right now for some progressives. As a very liberal person, and a person who did vote for Bernie Sanders in my state’s primary, I understand that. As a person who has been obsessed with politics since childhood, and even more so after learning some of her own family history, I also understand why the party went the way that it did.
Let me break it down.
The first thing is the main objective, which you’d think is getting Hillary elected, but it isn’t. It’s actually more about keeping Trump from being elected. It’s about swaying anyone who normally votes Republican or Independent, or who simply doesn’t vote, to vote against him. And it’s to suggest to those people that the Democratic Party is open to their beliefs. So that means toning down the party favorites. The Party faithful will stick with the DNC regardless of the platform because we get it. This is the Party making itself look appealing to outsiders.
The second thing is the platform has to appeal to key demographics and key funding sources that have been associated with the party in the past. They also need to appeal to people who typically support, but have never donated. So they go where the money is and the votes are.
The third thing is that the platform has to be realistic. I want single-payer for all right now, but it’s not going to happen that quickly. The same goes for college tuition, living wages/basic income, foreign policy that acknowledges that certain allied countries (Israel, Saudi Arabia) have abused the human rights of people in them, smart gun control policies, better policies with regard to the environment, etc. I want all of these things and more, but it will take years to get to them. Even if Bernie was the nominee, it would take years. Social policy change is never automatic and expecting it to be is childish. Voting for Bernie in the primaries was my way of telling the Party that that’s the direction I want it to move toward, but I know it takes time to get there. And part of why Bernie even stayed in this long is to get it across to the Party and to voters that progress will come.
And honestly it’s still too early to even be tantruming about the platform. The platform itself won’t be released until around the time of the Convention. And it can have changes between now & then. In 2012, part of what led to changes in LGBTQ related platform changes was that more people of all political persuasions started pushing for that. So, if you can get a lot of conservative & moderate folks to start demanding these things, maybe the platform will change to something more progressive. Otherwise, our progress will be slower but no less important.