MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As a concession to Bernie Sanders and his large electoral following in the Democratic primaries, the Clinton campaign got the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to let him appoint five delegates to the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee. Hillary Clinton got to name six representatives to the committee. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the DNC, named four. Considering that the prestigious and vocal progressives of the Sanders camp were outnumbered, you might think that the Clinton campaign had offered nothing more than a symbolic gesture -- and you would be partially correct.
The delegates appointed by Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz rejected many of the proposals put forth by Sanders' appointees. As Common Dreams reported on June 25:
During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC's platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.
In a statement, Sanders said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.
"Inexplicable" was how Sanders described the move, adding: "It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform."
The last point is especially striking because as Common Dreams noted, during the primary campaign, Clinton claimed that she had earnestly become an opponent of the TPP -- under pressure from the appeal Sanders' opposition to it was generating -- after being an adamant supporter of the mega-trade deal as secretary of state. Critics of Clinton speculated that the candidate's new TPP position was opportunistic, particularly considering that her support for trade deals goes back to NAFTA, which was signed in Bill Clinton's first administration.
The Nation this week noted of the TPP provision vote:
In a Friday night showdown at the Democratic Party platform-drafting committee, the Clinton majority outvoted the Sanders delegates 10-5, rejecting any language specifically opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Instead, the majority substituted generic language that trade deals should protect workers’ rights and the environment, and a misleading sentence that claimed that Democrats are divided on trade. A year ago, 85 percent of House Democrats voted against a fast track on the TPP.
The Platform Drafting Committee is, in essence, enabling Clinton to run against certain provisions within the TPP up through the election. Then if she wins, President Obama can attempt to pass the trade agreement through a lame duck Congress without Clinton ever having to go back on her current politically necessitated position.
TPP opposition was far from the only progressive position that was rejected. The Platform Drafting Committee even nixed proposing some incremental changes to try to reduce climate change, as Common Dreams noted:
The panel also rejected amendments suggested by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, a Sanders pick, that would have imposed a carbon tax, declared a national moratorium on fracking as well as new fossil fuel drilling leases on federal lands and waters.
As far as the growing successes of the $15 minimum wage movement locally in the US, Hillary was partying like there was no tomorrow when she and Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the signing of New York State's phased-in $15 minimum wage law in April. However, Clinton and the party platform draft language do not support the $15 minimum pay on the national level "as a universally mandated minimum."
Mind you, the draft of the Democratic Party platform -- which still needs to be approved (and possibly amended) by the full platform committee and the convention delegates in July -- also features some significant progressive victories. These include, according to The Week, abolishing the death penalty, an increase in Social Security benefits, an increased estate tax and even some Glass-Steagall provisions.
However, on many issues of domestic policy, such as the TPP, the Sanders' delegates got steamrolled.
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