It looks like the tides are changing in the Democratic Party as Bernie Sanders somewhat unwillingly joins the game, and we can see the results of this uneasy union through the prism of new positions of the party.
The Platform Committee in Orlando last weekend shed some light on the direction which Democratic Party will be taking, and going left seems about right. Some major issues that have been the crucial point of Senator Sanders campaign have made it into the Platform, meaning that there has been some major improvement on the grounds on the issues of race and economic justice. With this said, if the Democratic Party stays at the top of the authority in the US, we can expect significant improvement – the minimum wage is set to be $15 and paid family leave will become a necessity, not commodity. Furthermore, Sanders is championing investigations that will deal with the latest shooting involving police officers, and the issue that brought the strongest ovation was the removal of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.
While there were a number of points in which the members of the party agreed upon, there are some issues that haven’t really been addressed properly , which is to be expected to some extent, as these are the same issues that were tiptoed around earlier as well.
Not to much surprise, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was muddled over a lot, and by the end of the Committee, there wasn’t a clear solution, even though both Sanders and Mrs. Clinton have claimed that they are against it. Both of the candidates have proclaimed that they do not support TPP, and there was an amendment of more than 400 words that conveys the message that Democratic Party doesn’t support the “manure”, as Sanders himself called it.
What is interesting to note is that the phrasing of the amendment never clearly points that the Democratic Party is against TPP. It was explicitly written in the amendment that trade agreements must protect the workers, as well as environment and the direct access to prescription medication is needed, but it was also pointed out that this goes for all trade agreements, including TPP. There was no explicit stance on the TPP issue, however, and the Democratic Party seems to have successfully stayed in the gray area when it comes to this issue. Ben Jealous, former president of NAACP, who was the one representing Sanders encouraged the phrasing to be more explicit, but Jealous’ amendment was voted down with 74 out of 106 members of the Committee.
Another amendment that didn’t make it through was the one of Jim Hightower, stating that TPP shouldn’t get a vote in Congress. Dr. Cornel West gave a strong speech addressing this amendment and issue in general, but the vote count still showed that 77 out of 104 members didn’t favor this idea.
When it comes to healthcare, there were also some seeming impasses that were quickly solved, not many to Sanders’ benefit. “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege” is one of the coin phrases of the platform language, and it sounds powerful enough, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Millions of people in America can’t afford health insurance, and those who can are struggling bitterly to pay it out. The bottom line is that the health care systems still has a long way to go, as it is still based on the market demand, not on the citizen rights. Michael Lighty from the Sanders Committee proposed an amendment in which is stated that the best solution for the healthcare system is Medicare-For-All based on the Affordable Care Act. This amendment too wasn’t approved by the Clinton Committee and DNC, which is my many seen as a step towards healthcare uncertainty in the US.
It looks like Sanders Committee was shut down on every turn, but things aren’t that simple. Much has changed in the Democratic Party since Sandersofficially endorsed Mrs. Clinton in her presidential race, and a lot of change is yet to come. It seems that Sanders’ people are more than willing to work hard to accomplish as many of their objectives as possible, but along with the Clinton committee. The new Democratic Party has a lot to do, but they’re not afraid of the hard work and they’re certainly not losing speed.