The DNC Platform Committee, tasked with creating the official, but non-binding 2020 Democratic Platform, voted down some important progressive policies. The vote is sure to alienate some progressive and independent voters before the November election.
In the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic and as millions of people lose their employer-based health insurance, the DNC Platform Committee rejected the Medicare for All amendment by a vote of 36-125. It wasn’t even close.
As far as healthcare goes, they also voted down separate attempts to expand Medicare to children and dropping the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55. The healthcare portion of the platform is considered more conservative than the platform adopted under 2016 nominee, Hilary Clinton
Progressive radio host Kyle Kulinksi tweeted “Shameful. And during a pandemic,” in response to the amendment’s defeat. “History will not judge this kindly. It’s like opposing the New Deal during the Great Depression. Unforgivable.”
In response, 600 DNC delegates had signed a petition vowing to vote against the Democratic platform if it doesn’t include support for Medicare for All. With an estimated 4,000 delegates expected to vote, the rebellion will be symbolic, but nothing else.
For the record, a majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives and 80% of Democratic voters nationally support Medicare for All. For many people, affordable healthcare is considered the most important problem facing the United States. Particularly during a pandemic.
Another progressive issue shot down by the DNC Platform Committee was the legalization of marijuana. Joe Biden has been open to decriminalization but prefers to leave legalization up to the states. What Biden and the platform Committee don’t seem to understand is the many complications that arise when only half the country has it legalized.
Another issue seldom talked about surrounds the issue of Israel. While the platform opposes annexation and supports Palestinian rights, a step up from 2016. The committee rejected a suggested amendment to condition US assistance to Israel, so “no US aid may be used to facilitate annexation or to violate Palestinians rights.” The platform also stops short of recognizing the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian land. An occupation recognized throughout the world.
On climate, the platform calls for rejoining the Paris Accord which agreed to sharp reductions in carbon pollution. Biden, working with progressives, had agreed to the goal of making the nation’s energy grid carbon neutral by 2035, but that detail does not appear in the platform. The document also makes no mention of Green New Deal legislative proposals that includes more aggressive timelines.
The DNC Platform will be presented during the virtual Democratic National Convention later in August. Some will argue it is one of the more progressive platforms in a generation. Others will point out there have been few if any progressive policies in the last generation to begin with.
In the end it doesn’t matter. The policy platform is non-binding and Joe Biden, if elected, will govern in the way he sees fit. If progressives want change, they’ll need to challenge him in office.