FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Running on Empty: Sanders’s Influence on the Democratic Party Platform

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the message from the Democratic Party to its liberal wing after a hard fought platform battle. The conflict between platform committee appointees by primary opponents Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton ended with nearly every policy position supported by the former defeated by acolytes of the second.

This shouldn’t be surprising to any rational observer- the Democratic Party has never been anything more than America’s slightly less right wing party. But for many Sanders supporters, who still have hope in the party’s liberalism, it’s a rude awakening.

That’s a good thing. Hope in the Democratic Party is a non-starter of a position.

Bill McKibben, an environmental activist and the founder of 350.org, wrote an article for Politico recently detailing some of his frustrations with the platform fight. McKibben said that:

We all agreed that America should be operating on 100 percent clean energy by 2050, but then I proposed, in one amendment after another, a series of ways we might actually get there. A carbon tax? Voted down 7-6 (one of the DNC delegates voted with each side). A ban on fracking? Voted down 7-6. An effort to keep fossils in the ground, at least on federal land? Voted down 7-6. A measure to mandate that federal agencies weigh the climate impact of their decisions? Voted down 7-6. Even a plan to keep fossil fuel companies from taking private land by eminent domain, voted down 7-6. (We did, however, reach unanimous consent on more bike paths!)

(If you ever need a quick reminder in how neutered 350.org is, that last celebration of a non-binding agreement on more bike paths… is all you need)

So, no substantive movement on climate change. But what about domestic policy? Would there be any movement on those issues?

Not really.

As Ben Norton reported in Salon, Clinton platform appointees resisted definitive platform changes on domestic issues despite asserting their agreement on general policy.

The representatives appointed by Hillary Clinton to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee voted against a $15 minimum wage amendment on Friday……

Paul Booth, an official in the AFSCME labor union who was appointed by Clinton, insisted “the language that we already have is exactly what we need.”

Booth, who was wearing a Hillary Clinton pin in the hearing, claimed that vague language written in the platform just before Ellison’s proposed amendment was already sufficient.

Ellison, however, wanted clearer language that explicitly states that the Democratic Party supports a $15 minimum wage….

The five members of the committee appointed by Sanders — Ellison, Parker, James Zogby, Bill McKibben and Cornel West — joined Rep. Barbara Lee in voting in support of the amendment.

The six members of the committee appointed by Clinton — Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, former EPA administrator Carol Browner, former Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece and Paul Booth — joined former California Rep. Howard Berman and Claire’s CEO Bonnie Schaefer in voting against the $15 minimum wage amendment.

The Democratic position was most clearly summed up in their reaction to a request that the platform reflect both candidates’ stated opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

Overall, Clinton’s surrogates frequently claimed to be on the same side of Sanders’, but opposed the addition of specific policy measures. Paul Booth insisted he prefers “general, in-principle language” that is not binding.

They’ll say whatever you want them to. They just won’t commit to it.

Yet whatever complaints Sanders supporters, and the candidate himself, may have, those complaints are empty and meaningless. Sanders has promised to vote for Clinton in November. His endorsement of his primary rival is coming soon. Clinton represents the “lesser evil.”

I asked Green Party 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein about that inevitable endorsement and lesser evilism.

“On issue after issue, lesser evilism is hype,” Stein said. “The lesser evil helps fan the flames of the greater evil- in many ways Trump is the product of Clintonism!”

She’s not wrong- Clintonian economic policies have devastated the middle class and driven many to the arms of right wing populism. One hopes Stein can gain the support of Sanders’ supporters, because the Senator from Vermont has lost all semblance of spine.

Take what Sanders said last week to MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace:

Nicole Wallace: “Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November?”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Yes. Yeah, I think the issue right here is, I’m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. … What my job right now is, is to fight for the strongest possible platform in the Democratic convention.”

“The strongest possible platform in the Democratic convention.”

What’s sadder- that this was his fight, or that this was probably the strongest possible platform in the Democratic convention?

There was never any realistic chance of independence from Sanders. Let’s hope his supporters reject the duopoly and walk away from the Democrats.

It’s all we can hope for at this point.

More articles by:

Eoin Higgins has a master’s degree in history from Fordham University. He lives in New York.

April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail