Sanders camp nudges Democratic platform to left

2016-07-26 22:41
A Bernie Sanders supporter yells at delegates at the Democratic National Convention. (Matt Slocum, AP)

A Bernie Sanders supporter yells at delegates at the Democratic National Convention. (Matt Slocum, AP)

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Philadelphia - Bernie Sanders is urging his most passionate supporters to back Hillary Clinton in the battle for the White House, assuring them they have already helped shape "the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party".

The common statement of policy principles was adopted on Monday on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Here are its key points:

The 1%

Echoing a central message of the Clinton campaign - "stronger together" - the document's preamble also makes a forceful case against wealth inequality and adopts phrasing used throughout the Sanders campaign: the one percent.

"We believe that today's extreme level of income and wealth inequality - where the majority of the economic gains go to the top 1% and the richest 20 people in our country own more wealth than the bottom 150 million - makes our economy weaker, our communities poorer, and our politics poisonous," it says.

The party supports "a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."

Wall Street 'greed'

Borrowing from the fiery stump speeches of the Vermont senator, the document calls for measures to "fight against the greed and recklessness of Wall Street", rein in big banks, prevent excessive risk-taking and pre-empt costly public bailouts.

"Wall Street cannot be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments and making huge profits, all the while thinking that taxpayers will be there to bail them out again," it says.

Money politics

In another nod to the concerns of Sanders' backers, the platform seeks to reduce the influence of super-rich donors in the political system.

"We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and transparency - by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their shareholders."

Minimum wage

The party platform calls for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour at present to $15 - marking another victory for the Sanders camp. Clinton had advocated raising it to $12.

Institutional racism

As America reels from the fatal police shootings of African Americans and deadly attacks on police by black radicals, the platform issues a clear call for reform.

"Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society," and press to remove the Confederate battle flag, a symbol of America's "racist past", from public property.

"We will push for a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and that there is no place for racism in our country."

Gun violence

The platform calls for expanding background checks for gun buyers, and banning some assault-style rifles.

"With 33 000 Americans dying every year, Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence."

National security

"Democrats will continue to lead a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS's stronghold in Iraq and Syria," and they will urge regional allies to "carry their weight" in the fight.

"As we prosecute the fight against terrorism, Democrats will repudiate vile tactics that would do us harm. We reject Donald Trump's vilification of Muslims," it adds.

Social issues

"We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion," the platform states.

It applauds last year's decision by the Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage, but says "there is still much work to be done".

Climate change

The platform notes how Trump has called climate change a "hoax" despite record global temperatures.

"Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time."


Democrats are seeking an urgent fix to "our broken immigration system" and creation of a "path to citizenship for law-abiding families" who are contributing to their communities.

The platform calls for a "humane" approach to deportations, urging a prioritization of those who pose threats to safety, not those contributing to their communities.

College tuition

Sanders told supporters he and Clinton had "come together on a proposal that will revolutionise higher education in America".

The platform says Democrats "are unified in their strong belief that every student should be able to go to college debt-free", and that working families should not have to pay tuition to attend public colleges.


Sanders' biggest platform loss concerned the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal - a lightning rod to many of his supporters, who fear the proposed trade deal would hurt American jobs and wages.

Clinton recently reversed her stance on the TPP and now says she opposes it. But the Democratic platform stops short of condemning the accord.

"While we believe that openness to the world economy is an important source of American leadership and dynamism, we will oppose trade agreements that do not support good American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security."

Read more on:    bernie sanders  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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