Just ahead of a three-day, holiday weekend and a week before it gets ratified in Orlando, the Democratic National Committee released a draft of the party’s platform. And, lo and behold, outside of a few slight differences, the thing looks like it could have been written by Bernie Sanders himself.
As you may recall, the Democratic presidential candidate has refused to concede to or endorse Hillary Clinton, and take his Quixotic nominating fight to the party’s convention in Philly, if he didn’t get some major concessions from the DNC and Clinton’s campaign. One of those concessions was an opportunity to shape the platform, to make it far more progressive than the 2012 one. (Another concession, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on a platter, is still outstanding.)
Last month, the platform’s committee met in St. Louis, and early reports made it appear that the Sanders team wasn’t gonna get anything it wanted. Largely due to Bernie committee member Cornel West delivering a grandstanding speech and abstaining from voting on the platform — it is, y’know, what Cornel does best — Sanders supporters took to social media claiming that the Dems were taking them all for a ride. All kinds of false reports about the minimum wage and death penalty were flung out.
Even after those reports were put to rest, many Berniecrats still were spreading tales of deception at the hands of the corporate oligarchs at the DNC, arguing up and down that Hillary’s minions were going to out-right the Republicans with this platform. So it must have come as a great shock to the #BernieOrBust crowd when the draft released on Friday read like a Bernie speech.
Yes, yes, there wasn’t a full condemnation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, considering the incumbent Democratic President — who is far more popular than either Hillary or Bernie right now — supports it, it’s kinda hard to shit all over it in the platform. Thus, the language states that there is a divide among Democrats on the issue, and that regardless of where individual Dems stand, the party will ensure any trade agreements are fair to the American worker.
And that is really the only thing that Bernie can even grumble about in this document. He gets his $15 minimum wage. He picks up using post offices for basic banking needs. Income inequality is addressed, and Obama isn’t left blameless, either. There’s a nod towards ‘Medicare-for-all’ and single-payer healthcare. Dems are calling for the abolition of the death penalty. Millionaires, billionaires and big corporations would need to pay more taxes.
Even places where there was compromise — Dems aren’t calling for fracking to be expressly banned or for a full expansion of Social Security — still represent wins for Bernie. Clean energy and the need to fight climate change are major policy areas while the party wants to tax more income to keep Social Security solvent. Not as far as Bernie and his revolution would like to go, but a leftward turn for the Democratic Party nonetheless.
Now that it is apparent that the party essentially handed their platform to Bernie and let him shape it, does this mean we’ll finally, mercifully, get the long-awaited endorsement? With really nothing left to fight for — sorry, Bernie, you ain’t gonna be Veep — will we see Sanders make his big announcement soon?
The draft is gonna be ratified and in place before the convention, so waiting until then makes no sense. He’s already wasted multiple opportunities to make a major impact with a Hillary-endorsing speech. Hell, Elizabeth Warren has already gone out and taken his thunder as Clinton’s progressive surrogate (and potential VP pick). Next week, we’ll see Obama and Joe Biden hit the trail with Hillary. The clock is ticking for Bernie to get his shining moment.
Sure, I guess he can still hold it until the convention, but they aren’t gonna give him a speaking gig unless they know for certain it will include the endorsement, taking all the surprise and mystery out of it then. Nah, he’s gotta do it sooner rather than later (especially since Biden already let that cat out of the bag).
So, what’s it gonna be, Bernie? What’s it gonna be?