Democrats’ platform is built with a lot of ‘We hate Trump’ planks
The Democrats have come up with their party’s 2020 platform and I’m guessing that, unless you’re a political junkie, there’s a good chance you don’t know much if anything about it. In fact, I’m willing to bet that a lot of loyal Democrats don’t know much of what’s in their own party’s platform — just as many, if not most, Republicans don’t know what will be in the GOP’s platform, which apparently will be the same as the one in 2016.
Don’t worry. Nothing in the platform is binding; it simply states what Democrats believe in. And right at the top of that list in 2020 is that Donald Trump must be defeated. So there’s plenty in the document about the man Joe Biden wants to replace.
“Make no mistake: President Trump’s abject failure to respond forcefully and capably to the COVID-19 pandemic — his failure to lead — makes him responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans,” the document’s preamble says.
More broadly, it takes shots at the president on health care in general: “For a century, Democrats have fought to secure universal health care. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump and the Republican Party are trying to tear health care away from millions of people who depend on it for survival. Democrats will not allow that to happen. We will not rest until every American can access quality health care and affordable prescription drugs.”
The document takes aim at President Trump for his handling of the economy, too: “President Trump and the Republican Party have rigged the economy in favor of the wealthiest few and the biggest corporations, and left working families and small businesses out in the cold.”
And it all but calls Donald Trump a racist: “We must heal our nation’s deepest wounds, not fan the flames of hate. Democrats will root out structural and systemic racism in our economy and our society, and reform our criminal justice system from top to bottom, because we believe Black lives matter.
“We will give hate no safe harbor. We will never amplify or legitimize the voices of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, or white supremacy.”
At this point, you’d have every right to say, “Democrats hate Donald Trump? What else is new?”
Not much, actually. The platform, by and large, is a reflection of positions Democrats have held throughout this campaign — and a lot longer.
It’s a liberal document, of course, but it does steer clear of most of the truly controversial items on the progressive wish list, such as “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal, or cutting police budgets. (It does state, though, that minority communities are “overpoliced” — a view that might not be shared right now by some or even many in those beleaguered communities.)
Still, the platform does give a respectful — some might instead suggest “patronizing” — nod to Medicare for All, stating that, “We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and those who support a Medicare for All approach.” And while it doesn’t flat-out endorse the Green New Deal, it does set aggressive goals for combating climate change, including making all American power plants carbon neutral by 2035.
It also calls for other standard liberal Democratic fare: a $15 minimum wage, mandatory paid family leave, more federal gun control, and other changes that most Democratic candidates for Congress and the White House have supported for years.
Of course, Republicans and conservatives will see much, if not all, of the platform as radical and unhinged, just as Democrats will view the Republicans’ platform.
They will point to a whole host of Democratic platform promises as guaranteeing America’s destruction if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats take control of the Senate. Things such as declaring housing to be a right, demanding the repeal of right-to-work laws and secret ballots in union elections, raising taxes, allowing public funding of abortions, making the District of Columbia the 51st state (and maybe Puerto Rico the 52nd), abandoning Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, ending charter-school vouchers, giving illegal aliens a “path to citizenship,” ending our trade war with China, and renewing the nuclear deal with Iran that Trump abandoned.
But, really, Donald Trump is the ever-looming presence in the Democrats’ platform.
“Above all,” the document states, “Democrats still believe in the American idea — its principles, its purpose, and its promise. We know that four more years of the crass, craven, corrupt leadership we have seen from Donald Trump and the Republican Party will damage our character and our country beyond repair.”
It’s hardly original, but hardly surprising, either. It is a partisan political document, after all.
Convention delegates will formally approve the platform. Yet some of the party’s better-known figures, such as Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), have said they won’t support it because it doesn’t go far enough in one aspect or another — which Republicans have cited enthusiastically as proof of just how unhinged the Democrats are these days.
One thing, however, seems certain: Like nearly every party platform in our political history, it won’t be much read or well remembered by most Americans, now or on Election Day. But it might be worth a look at its 70-some pages — just so you know what the party that wants to run America would like to do, if it gets its way.
Bernard Goldberg, an Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award-winning writer and journalist, is a correspondent with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” He previously worked as a reporter for CBS News and as an analyst for Fox News. He is the author of five books and publishes exclusive weekly columns, audio commentaries and Q&As on his Patreon page. Follow him on Twitter @BernardGoldberg.
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