DemDaily: The Consensus Platform

July 23, 2020

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms co-chairs Platform Drafting Committee with DNC Chair Tom Perez (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The Democratic Party's Draft Platform was released this week, outlining the official plank of issues and policy goals that define what it is to be a Democrat.

The 80-page document was produced by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, a 15-person panel appointed by the DNC Chair, including members of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, which offered its own recommendations July 8th.

The draft reflects the unprecedented political, civil and health crises of the last three and a half years under Donald Trump, and underscores the party's shift since 2016 to a more progressive platform.

Although it comes far short of the more radical change originally advocated by former Biden presidential rival Senator Bernie Sanders, it is a concensus document that was born of their joint efforts.

Every four years, Democratic National Committee members come together at the convention to determine the Party's core statement of principles, a document that reflects the diversity of values and beliefs of the Democratic Party, and one that serves as a roadmap for moving America forward

The draft proposal places much greater weight on climate change, criminal justice reform, immigration policy, the economy and education, and calls for universal access to health care.

On the international front, it proposes a tougher stance on China and "other state actors (who) steal America's intellectual property," and engage in "cyberespionage," opposes "regime change," advocates for "less" spending on national defense, and promises the end to "forever wars" in places like Afghanistan.

The Platform Drafting Committee held four live-streamed hearings, along with a digital engagement campaign soliciting input from the public (Jewish Insider)

The document calls for rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and reentering the Iran nuclear agreement, but steers clear of fracking or oil drilling. 

The draft also includes a new proposal for a national commission to study slavery reparations and the lasting effects of other forms of institutionalized racism.

Although the non-binding document is a largely a symbolic one, it is critically-crafted as a message to the American people just one month before Democrats formally nominate Joe Biden as our nominee, and less than four months before what promises to be our country's most historic presidential election.

"America is an idea-one that has endured and evolved through war and depression, prevailed over fascism and communism, and radiated hope to far distant corners of the earth. Americans believe that diversity is our greatest strength. That protest is among the highest forms of patriotism. That our fates and fortunes are bound to rise and fall together. That even when we fall short of our highest ideals, we never stop trying to build a more perfect union." Democratic Party Platform Draft, Preamble

The draft was sent to party members Tuesday in advance of next Monday's July 27th meeting of the full Platform Committee, a body of 187 delegates which includes representatives from each state.

The committee will vote on further amendments to a final platform before sending it to the full body of convention delegates, which traditionally votes on its passage at the Democratic Convention.

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The coronavirus pandemic, however, has forced this year's August 17th-20th convention, anchored in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to become the country's first virtual political convention. 

Under a new remote voting system that "allows convention delegates to safely and securely cast ballots for all required votes," the delegate vote will begin on August 3rd and will end on August 15th.

Other votes address the Convention Rules Committee reports and recommendations, as well as that of the Credentials Committee, wrapping up most official party business, except for the nominations, before the actual convention.

By contrast, Republicans, for the first time in their party's history, have abandoned creating a new platform altogether, deferring to their 2016 plank.

Watch: The full Platform Committee Meeting
July 27th, Monday at 2:00pmDNCC's YouTube channel  


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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: DNC, Washington Post, Intelligencer

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