The Sanders campaign is calling it ‘the most progressive platform in party history’. The Vermont senator’s refusal to drop out of the race has helped him shape the Democratic platform for the presidential election in November. Hillary Clinton will now campaign on many of Sanders’ core issues, including college tuition, climate change and breaking up big banks.
The Democratic Platform Committee approved a laundry list of proposals Sanders has argued for throughout primary season. The Democrats will campaign for a $15 federal minimum wage and an expansion of Medicaid for those over 55. Though Sanders failed to convince the party to adopt his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the campaign believes he has achieved ‘80% of what we wanted’.
College-aged Sanders supporters should be pleased that Clinton now supports the abolition of tuition fees for those whose families earn less than $125,000 a year. The Sanders campaign claims this will leave 83% of students free of fees and fee-related debt.
The Democratic platform is also the greenest in the party’s history. Proposals for carbon and methane taxes will no doubt enrage Republicans and climate change deniers. The GOP will strongly resist a further proposal that lawmakers consider climate change in all federal decisions. This idea seems impractical but will no doubt please Sanders’ supporters.
In response to the recent shootings of African-Americans and mass protests throughout the country, the Democrats will instruct the Justice Department to investigate all shootings involving police officers. As protests continue and the debate about Black Lives Matter becomes increasingly contentious, this amendment to the Democratic platform may become a key election issue.
Sanders has exercised unprecedented influence on a national platform considering he is the losing candidate. The Democratic Party is acutely aware that many Sanders supporters are reluctant to vote for Hillary Clinton and may stay away from the polls or support a liberal third party candidate. Many core Sanders voters are excited about Sanders potentially running as the Green Party candidate though that is now out of the question.
The Democratic national platform is a huge victory for Sanders’ insurgent campaign and vindicates his stubborn decision not to stand aside or endorse Clinton even after she won enough delegates to secure the nomination. Sanders has ensured the Democrats will run on a progressive, liberal agenda but whether his voters will be convinced to vote for Clinton remains uncertain.