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Platform and Politics: The Change We Made


Platform and Politics: The Change We Made

James Zogby

The quadrennial process of party platform writing is more of a political exercise than a policy deliberation. When party leaders sit down to debate what will or will not go into their platform, their eyes are less focused on what will constitute sound policy. Instead they consider the politics involved in the positions they want in the document: will they cause concern with important constituencies; will they result in negative press; and will they provoke donors? Given this, I feel good about what we accomplished with this year’s Democratic Party’s platform.


Platforms mean nothing. They are the political campaign equivalent of the pizzazzy packaging wrapped around a cheap and shoddy product, the kind that shows a slick stylized picture of the food with the tiny words " serving suggestion" hidden near the picture. Once the election is over whatever is said in the platform ceases to be the concern of anybody except perhaps for an occasional TV political "journalist" who wants to get a newly elected office holder with a "gotcha" question; "In your party's platform you said you would cut taxes, why have you not done so?"


Working on the platform committee is a thankless job, and I'm proud of Zogby and all the Bernie delegates. They did all they could. Also, thanks to Bernie for picking such a conscientious group to negotiate the progressive side. The process couldn't have been pleasant for them. Having worked so hard, Zogby now makes the mistake of encouraging Bernie backers to vote for Hillary, arguing that she's given ground from her original ultra right wing positions, which suggests she's at least listening (during the campaign season). That's very weak. The platform in its final form simply doesn't tempt progressives to vote for Hillary. Too little, too late. But again, thanks to all the Bernie negotiators.


Well done and good luck with the Dem platform / language. If we could see (?Wikileaks) the other deals that she has made - with Wall St, various oligarchs and corporations, the Neocons etc. then we might be in a position to predict what corrupt HRC will support, - if elected.


"Within this coalition we can continue to fight for progress. Outside of it, we run the risk of marginalizing ourselves and our issues."

Aren't you and all progressives already marginalized?

Wasn't that the fundamental point of Bernie's campaign?

It has been and remains so for the Green Party, which is a significant part of why they now have my support and will receive my vote in November.


Looking back I think Bernie's insistence in being included in writing the platform really did move the Democratic Party in a positive direction toward being more progressive. Typically the chair of the DNC appoints all 15 members of the platform draft committee but Bernie was able to appoint five members. That in itself was significant. And clearly many things in the platform are only there because of the inclusion of the five appointed members. The Democratic Party not only has a more progressive platform but because so many young people embraced Bernie Sanders message the party knows it has to keep shifting left to retain these young voters who will be important for many years to come. Zogby says "We must remain a part of the progressive coalition working with our allies to elect Hillary Clinton, defeat Donald Trump, continue to transform the Democratic Party, and keep progressive ideas in the mainstream, and not on the fringes of American politics." A large majority of Bernie's supporters seem to agree based on polling data as they say they will vote for Hillary Clinton. If the country is going to become more progressive this does seem to be the most likely strategy to get there.


There has been a change in words not deeds. Deeds, we will have to wait and see and don't forget we've been there done it with "hope and change you can believe in". Without their feet being held to fire continously, they will go back to whom they've become.


Obama has proven that HOPE plus two bucks buys a cup of coffee that we pay for with the CHANGE in our pocket.

Although Zogby tells us progressives "must continue to transform the Democratic Party", the Democratic Party HAS continued and will continue to tranform into an ever more corporate friendly, warmongering and anti-environmental party as it has since the formation of the DLC in 1985, whether progressives are involved or not.


Oh, no you didn't! You really just asked us to vote for the one that rigged the election? Why on earth should we "put that behind us" and vote for one of the most corrupt candidate ever to run for office?
I appreciate what Bernie has done and I respect his delegates all, but that is a bridge too far. If the election had been fair maybe, maybe then we could vote for her. But as it stands, more than marginalizing the progressives, we would be legitimizing the theft of a national election. Progressives have always been marginalized and will remain so in a Clinton administration, you should know that by now.
Cornel West seems to understand that you don't cede ground to the monsters hoping they will change. They won't and you lose.
If we lose it won't be because I helped the other side win. No way, never Hilary and the DNC.
Jill Stein 2016


Perhaps that seems like the best way to you, but I can assure you, throwing in with the one that stole the election expecting change seems like insanity to many of us.


Each day since CLINTONCON wrapped up in Philly more Republicans are endorsing Clinton.

Do you really believe they would be doing so if the Democratic Party had a snowball's chance in hell of reversing its rightward trajectory and becoming more progressive, Mr. Zogby ?


What I would like to know is was the inclusion of these progressive ideas based on an agreement to support Hillary for president??


I'm glad Zogby was able to forestall some of the racism and hate speech in the blue-flavored half of the Wall Street Party's platform, a real victory for the tiny fraction of the population he was there to represent and a relief for many more of us. BUT
- When Hillary picked Kaine for VP, she wiped her rear on the silly platform, with that big, famous grin. Can you see it? You know you can.
- And when she moved Whatshername Schulz straight from disgrace to the top of her campaign staff, she held down the flush handle and gave us all the finger. See that? First time she's ever made eye contact with you, personally, isn't it? Hoo-oooo-ooo. Creepy.
You are so gonna wish you had Presidink Obomber back, this time next year.


The Democratic Party is a square hole that we progressive round pegs will never fit into no matter how hard we try.

The Green Party is a round hole that we progressive round pegs fit right into.

Why fight it ?


Can't believe Zogby is also into lesser-evilism. How disappointing.

Laughable how he got language re. Islamophobia, but offers complete silence on the drones and wars--both of which continue to fuel Islamic pushback and white fear which increases American hatred of Islam. Causes and effects seem to elude him.

Mr Zogby, I know you must have tried hard. Thank you for that. But please, don't put lipstick on the pig platform, especially knowing that the one you support--Hillary--will do whatever she wants.

You're not stupid. Don't assume we are stupid enough to believe your "little victories" amount to a hill of beans.


So I take it that all of those Republicans advocating for Ms Clinton, including the Koch Brothers and ex Republicans like Meg Whitman , are attracted by "The Most Progressive Platform ever" ?


I have come to believe that we need an inside/outside strategy. We should work to build/empower third parties (our outside work) and to keep progressive ideas in the mainstream conversation (and the only way to do that is by having progressives on the inside).

We have to figure out a way to work together across this inside/outside divide rather than wasting time attacking motives and integrity.

While I continue to do battle within myself as to how I should vote, I will never be convinced by any commentary that Bernie ever sold out or was a phony etc. etc. His choice here was driven by his life experience in politics and, in light of that experience, it is a very rational choice (which doesn't mean it's the right choice for this election).

I will always be grateful to Bernie for taking this conversation nationwide and I truly believe that the only reason he was able to do so is because he chose to run as a Democrat.


It seems to me that the issues on which the platform are quite progressive are an important part of Clinton's domestic policy strategy going forward. She is (and has been for 30 years) a liberal on domestic issues and a hawk on foreign policy issues. Hence all of the progressive planks in the platform were on the domestic side.
Example: She favors a $12 minimum wage. The platform goes for $15, wins her some kudos from living wage proponents, and that becomes her opening proposal with Congress. Republicans propose $9 and a compromise is reached at $12 where she wants it.


So too will a compromise on Social Security and Medicare cuts will be reached with the GOP, right where Clinton wants it.

Clinton ally Joe Lieberman and his GOP sidekick Jon Huntsman have taken over the work of Obama's Simpson/Bowles cat food commission and will be ready to advise Clinton on day one.


Is it from convenience that Zogby misses most everything to be read between the lines and most written in them?

I don't know.

  • 15 minimum wage. Good. Has to pass by Republican legislature, but that's not a criticism of the idea.
  • Expansion of SS. How?
  • Public option health. Like Obamacare? No credit here.
  • Emissions. No, the cap & trade language here is bad.
  • language. Chump change at best, but probably worse. Criticism of Obama has been called racism for 8 years. Criticism of Clinton is called sexism. Criticism of Israeli murders is called anti-Semitism. Given all the genuine bigotry of these sorts, it's inevitable that some dialogue of such things happen. Banning dissent from the government does not help that.
  • Clinton is part of NAFTA and TPP and the coup in Honduras. Her position on immigration must be in accord with that: murderous.
  • Defeat ISIS and Al Qaeda. It is not clear where or when the US fights with them and when against them, nor what constitutes a victory. This is code for escalated war for corporate gain via opaque reasoning.
  • Refugee summit is a farce. The refugees are there because of US destabilization of the region; any solution involves stopping that.

None of the issues around the build-up to larger war are even addressed, despite the coded confession that violence is to escalate from Africa through Afghanistan.

Zogreb's conclusion is without a leg. The platform is strangely misrepresented here.

The decision is a bit like this. Clinton is probably more friendly to gays, women, children, and the old--assuming that these happen to be within the US. This is not certain, however. Trump is probably less dangerous in terms of external war. This is also not certain. Trump talks like a despot; Clinton steals elections like one.