The Democratic Party platform represents our big tent
The chattering class counted Joe Biden out up until the South Carolina primary, when they were begrudgingly forced to accept that maybe, just maybe, he had a real base of supporters who could carry him across the finish line. Biden never let himself get bullied during those long months, and the same is true when it came to the 2020 Democratic Party platform.
Biden ran the campaign of a moderate Democrat, promising Americans a return to normalcy and a better chance at getting ahead. The policies outlined in the platform make good on those promises.
The platform reflects who Joe Biden is today: true to his core principles, a deal maker, and an expert listener who is willing to evolve.
Much hay has been made of progressive standouts such as Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) voting against the platform. I wasn’t surprised, and you shouldn’t be either. Not only is single-payer health care — their sticking point — a lightning rod issue that’s non-negotiable for some, but Biden never was going to do it for some lefties. And that’s okay. As long as they understand the importance of turning out to vote, we must accept that a nominee will not satisfy everyone.
That’s how democracy works.
That said, this platform is very much what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) promised his supporters on Monday evening in his pitch for Biden. It’s full of policies that will improve the lives of Americans by focusing on principles of equality and justice, innovation and competition.
Platform highlights that speak to Democratic unity around these core beliefs include bold measures to improve the economy, our health care system, criminal justice reform, climate, immigration and voting rights.
On the economy, the platform raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a longtime policy preference of the progressive left. It dedicates resources to increasing the housing supply, especially affordable housing, and makes public colleges tuition-free for families that earn less than $125,000 a year, and community college completely free, another nod to progressives. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit also would see a big increase.
Health care would offer a public option so that no American is denied coverage. Though not a “Medicare for All”-style program, a public option is an oft-cited stepping stone towards the goal of universal coverage and offers primary care with no copays and auto enrollment for poor Americans. The platform also makes COVID-19 testing and the vaccine — when available — free for all, and empowers Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a favored policy of Sanders.
Criminal justice reform has been a hot topic the past few years, with substantive progress on the policy level, thanks to a bipartisan effort. But the events of the past three months since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis have put our definition of “progress” in stark relief. The Democratic platform promises to overhaul the justice system with a focus on over-policing and brutality, as well as the criminalization of poverty across America. Marijuana use will be decriminalized, but left up to the states as to whether they fully legalize it. Domestic terrorism will be a focus with the rise in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and bigotry.
On climate issues, the Democrats are committed to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 and making tremendous investments in infrastructure and clean energy. Critically, America would rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
Immigration and foreign policy are central focuses of the platform. Democrats will create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, protect Dreamers and prioritize alternatives to detention for migrants. As we work toward restoring America’s place in the world, Democrats will commit to Israel’s security and support a two-state solution, push to end Middle East wars responsibly by maintaining a small presence in Iraq, and reinstate the Iran nuclear deal.
There is so much more of note in the platform — including pledges to protect and expand voting rights, provide universal early child education, make D.C. statehood a priority, and guard our elections from foreign interference. It’s a bold, 92-page document that matches the tremendous challenges America faces today.
The platform is a clear collaboration between all factions of the Democratic Party with, critically, Joe Biden’s campaign pledges at its core. Having something for everybody is how Democrats will win this election — and if you can get people, from the most liberal to most conservative, dedicated to lifting up these priorities, things are looking up for November.
Jessica Tarlov is head of research at Bustle Digital Group and a Fox News contributor. She earned her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics in political science. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaTarlov.
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