Members of both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns met in Orlando, Florida this weekend seeking common ground in preparation for the Democratic National Convention later this month. In today’s era, where a socialist candidate can give traditional parties a run for their money, it’s not surprising that the Dems are pushing what is being called the “most liberal platform ever.”
“We are proud of the work that Democrats did in Orlando and for coming together to further strengthen the most progressive platform in the history of our party,” said Clinton adviser Maya Harris.
Sanders’ influence is clear to see in the liberal platform, which will be ratified at the convention in Philadelphia later this month (July 25th-28th). According to Sanders policy director Warren Gunnells, the campaign achieved at least 80% of their goals. “I think if you read the platform right now, you will understand that the political revolution is alive and kicking.”
Sanders came to Florida after having already won negotiations regarding social security expansion and opposition to the death penalty in an earlier round of platform drafting. His biggest win of the weekend was convincing Clinton to agree to a plank raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. His biggest loss came Saturday morning, when the Dems voted against a plank opposing the TPP.
One of Clinton’s primary concerns for the platform was to prevent the document from containing any serious tax increases. Her campaign opposed single-payer healthcare, taxing carbon, and withdrawing the Social Security tax cap.
Both camps were quick to agree on a strong plank for criminal justice reform and a progressive climate plan that seeks to put a price on carbon.
The weekend meeting wasn’t entirely peaceful, with Sanders supporters shouting down the proposal to label Hillary as the official party nominee in the document. Police actually entered the audience during a heated discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – with Sanders supporters failing to “end the occupation” of Palestinians and creating a plan to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
Even so, it appears that both parties left Orlando feeling optimistic, but with work still to do. Senator Sanders has two days to decide whether or not he will demand a vote at the DNC on any of the amendments he lost in Orlando. Both Clinton and Sanders will also have to work through separate processes for party rules before the convention, in which Sanders will attempt to do away with superdelegates.
Democrats have not fought in the open about the platform process since 1980. Despite all the attention this year’s platform is receiving, party platforms are typically forgotten almost immediately after they are written. If nothing else, Sanders supporters say they will use the platform to pressure Clinton to follow through on her promises should she be elected president.
“Now, let’s put in place a president that can actually deliver on this – and then let’s make sure that she does,” says former NAACP president and Sanders supporter Ben Jealous.
Overall, Orlando’s meeting seemed to be focused on the Sanders team, making sure they had a clear voice in the drafting process. Clinton needs those votes in November, and Senator Sanders needed a few big wins to justify his ongoing campaign.