I decided it would be a good thing to draft a condensed version of the Democratic Party Platform. I reasoned that a concise version of the document would benefit people who don’t have time to sit down and read it all, and it might help us keep Democrats accountable to what they say the stand for in the Platform. I didn’t realize what a daunting task it would be, or how little time I had to finish the job.
What I learned while doing this is that this is a pretty good document. If achieved, it would significantly improve the lives of most Americans. It doesn’t address Democratic Party reform issues or primary voting reforms, but it does lay out a decent course of actions that most of us can rally behind. More importantly, it gives activist citizens a template by which we can judge the performance of Democratic office holders, including Hillary Clinton if she doesn’t loose.
So while I am still upset with the DNC, the establishment Democrats and Hillary for fixing the primary against all others, including Bernie Sanders specifically, I think I can in good conscious vote for the Democratic Party Platform with a self-made promise to hold Hillary and every other Democrat to task in carrying out the Party Platform.
So without further delay, here is the incomplete, condensed version of the Democratic Party Platform:
2016 Democratic Platform (condensed version)
Democrats believe cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls. We are stronger together.
Today’s extreme level of income and wealth inequality makes our economy weaker, our communities poorer, and our politics poisonous. We need an economy that works for everyone. We can have more economic fairness, so the rewards are shared broadly, not just with those at the top. An economy that:
- prioritizes long-term investment over short-term profit-seeking,
- rewards the common interest over self-interest
- promotes innovation and entrepreneurship
- guarantees equal pay for women.. particularly women of color
- protects every American’s right to retire with dignity
- [create] jobs and security that come from [transitioning to] clean energy
- incentivize companies to share profits with their employees on top of wages and pay increases
Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. We must face that reality and we must fix it.
A good education is a basic right of all Americans. We will end the school-to-prison pipeline and build a cradle-to-college pipeline instead.
Greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street must be brought to an end. Wall Street must never again be allowed to threaten families and businesses on Main Street.
Democrats protect citizens’ right to vote, while stopping corporations’ outsized influence in elections. We will:
- end the broken campaign finance system
- overturn the disastrous Citizens United
- restore the the Voting Rights Act
- return control of our elections to the American people
Climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.
The United States can mobilize common action on a truly global scale, to take on the challenges that transcend borders, from international terrorism to climate change to health pandemics. We are stronger and safer when America brings the world together and leads with principle and purpose [and] strengthen our alliances. We believe in the power of development and diplomacy. Our military should be the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in the world.
We must honor and support our veterans.
We respect differences of perspective and belief, and pledge to work together to move this country forward [and] strive to reach higher ground. We are proud of our heritage as a nation of immigrants.
We believe in protecting civil liberties and guaranteeing civil rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights, and rights for people with disabilities.
support workers through higher wages, workplace protections, policies to balance work and family, and other investments will help rebuild the middle class
Raising Workers’ to a living wage… at least $15 an hour [and]… and index it [to inflation]. [Establish] one fair wage for all workers by ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities.
Support a model to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union without reprisal.
Have the right to form or join a union – give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work, and create new ways for workers to have power in the economy and to:
- make it easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions
- direct the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if a simple majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards
- bring companies to the negotiating table
- support binding arbitration to help workers who have voted to join a union reach a first contract.
[We will oppose] “right to work” laws are wrong for workers [and] vigorously oppose laws [or] efforts that:
- eliminate dues check-off procedures
- roll-back prevailing wage standards
- abolish fair share requirements
- restrict the use of voluntary membership payments for political purposes
- attack seniority
- restrict due process protections
- require annual recertification efforts
- legislation and lawsuits that would strike down laws protecting the rights of teachers and other public employees
We will support efforts to limit the use of forced arbitration clauses in employment and service contracts, which unfairly strip consumers, workers, students, retirees, and investors of their right to their day in court.
Make sure that the United States enacts national paid family and medical .. that provide[s] at least 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member’s serious health issue. [Establish a] workers the right to earn at least seven days of paid sick leave [and] encourage employers to provide paid vacation.
We must help family caregivers.. to ensure family caregivers have the support, respite care, and training they need to support their loved ones. We will [do this by]:
- creating a strong stable paid caregiving workforce by raising wages
- improving access to training
- giving workers the opportunity to come together to make their voices heard
- address[ing] conditions that make it hard for workers with unpredictable or inflexible schedules to meet caregiving responsibilities.
We will take steps to:
- expand and strengthen the home care workforce
- increase investments to make quality childcare more affordable
- boost wages for childcare workers, and
- support the millions of people paying for, coordinating, or providing care for aging relatives or those with disabilities
We will preserve and increase the supply of affordable rental housing and:
- substantially increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate millions of affordable housing rental units
- provide more federal resources to the people struggling most with unaffordable housing: low-income families, people with disabilities, veterans, and the elderly
We will address the lingering effects of the foreclosure crisis through [expanding] programs like the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. We will expand programs to
- prevent displacement of existing residents, especially in communities of color
- create affordable and workforce housing
- preserve neighborhood-serving nonprofit organizations and small businesses
- reinvigorate housing production programs
- repair public housing
- increase funding for the housing choice voucher program and other rental assistance programs
- [provide] robust funding to end homelessness through targeted investments to provide the necessary outreach, social services, and housing options for all populations experiencing homelessness.
- engage in a stronger, more coordinated, and better funded partnership among federal, state, and local governments to end chronic homelessness
- build on and expand initiatives to end veteran and family homelessness
- support more first-time homebuyers preserve the 30-year fixed rate mortgage
- modernizing credit scoring
- clarify lending rules
- expand access to housing counseling
- defend and strengthening the Fair Housing Act
- ensure that regulators have the clear direction, resources, and authority to enforce those rules effectively.
- prevent predatory lending by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- fight every effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, or reducing earned benefits. expand Social Security.
- cost-of- living adjustments may not reflect the spending patterns of seniors. We are committed to exploring alternatives that could better serve seniors.
- make sure Social Security’s guaranteed benefits continue by taxing some of the income of people above $250,000.
- defend the right of workers to collect their defined benefit pensions and make sure workers get priority and protection when pension plans are in distress.
- enact legislation to make sure that the earned pension benefits of Americans will not be cut
- pay for it by closing tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and billionaires
- fight attempt to roll back the Conflict of Interest Rule which requires that retirement advisors put the best interests of their clients above their own financial gain
- support the Older Americans Act.
US Postal Service
- eliminating the unsustainable mandate to “pre-fund” retiree health costs.
- restore service to appropriate levels, including overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals within the same metropolitan area,
- maintaining six-day and door-to-door delivery
- expanding postal services [to include] basic financial services such as paycheck cashing
- vote-by-mail to increase voter participation
Create Good-Paying Jobs
Build a full-employment economy, where everyone has a job that pays enough to raise a family and live in dignity:
- rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.. expanding our roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger and freight rail lines
- build 21st century energy and water systems.. modernizing drinking and wastewater systems
- modernize our schools
- support the expansion of high-speed broadband networks
- protect communities from the impact of climate change
- address the backlog of deferred maintenance in our four key public land management agencies
- create an independent, national infrastructure bank
- support the interest tax exemption on municipal bonds..make permanent [a] version of Build America Bonds
- revitalize hard-hit manufacturing communities
- claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas
- defend the Export-Import Bank
- investing in industrial energy efficiency
Science, Research, Education, and Technology
- educate our people and train our workforce; support entrepreneurship
- invest in research and development, innovation hubs, as well as in getting ideas to market
- [provide opportunities for all students] opportunity to learn computer science by the time they graduate from high school.
- High-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury; it is a necessity
- connect every household in America to high-speed broadband
- increase internet adoption
- hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free WiFi to the public.
- take action to widely deploy 5G technology
- support a free and open internet at home and abroad
- oppose any effort to roll back the historic net neutrality
- protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators, and inventors at home and abroad
- increase access to global markets for American intellectual property and other digital trade by opposing quotas, discriminatory measures, and data localization requirements
- strengthen support for NASA and work in partnership with the international scientific community to launch new missions to space
- cut the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs
- open up access to credit
- provide tax relief and tax simplification
- expand access to new markets
- make Wall Street work for the job-creating, productive economy—including by making loans more affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses
Jobs for America’s Young
- make investments to spur the creation of millions of jobs for our young people
- provide direct federal funding for a range of local programs that will put young people to work and create new career opportunities
Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality
Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System
- prohibit Wall Street from picking and choosing which credit agency will rate its products
- [prohibit Wall Street] from imposing excessive fees on consumers
- hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law
- stronger criminal laws and civil penalties for Wall Street criminals who prey on the public trust
- extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting major financial fraud
- providing the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more resources to prosecute wrongdoing
- vigorously implement, enforce, and build on President Obama’s landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law
- stop efforts to hamstring our regulators through budget cuts
- oppose any efforts to change the CFPB’s structure from a single director to a partisan[or] to remove the Bureau’s independent funding and subject it to the appropriations process
- [enact] a financial transactions tax on Wall Street to curb excessive speculation and high-frequency trading
- use and expand existing authorities [and]empower regulators to downsize or break apart financial institutions when necessary
- new authorities to go after risky shadow-banking
- support.. an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall
- nominate and appoint regulators and officials who are not beholden to the industries they regulate
- crack down on the revolving door between the private sector—particularly Wall Street—and the federal government.
- ban golden parachutes for those taking government jobs
- limit conflicts of interest by requiring bank and corporate regulators to recuse themselves from official work on particular matters that would directly benefit their former employers
- bar financial service regulators from lobbying their former colleagues for at least two years
- [make] the Federal Reserve more representative of America as a whole
- enhance its independence by ensuring that executives of financial institutions are not allowed to serve on the boards of regional Federal Reserve banks or to select members of those boards
Stop Corporate Concentration
- stop corporate concentration in any industry where it is unfairly limiting competition
- make competition policy and antitrust stronger and more responsive to our economy today
- enhance antitrust enforcement [at] the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- encourage other agencies to police anti-competitive practices in their areas of jurisdiction
Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes
- claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas
- eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies
- crack down on inversions and other methods companies use to dodge their tax responsibilities
- make sure that our tax code rewards businesses that make investments and provide good-paying jobs here in the United States
- end deferrals so that American corporations pay United States taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer escape paying their fair share of U.S. taxes by stashing profits abroad.
- establish a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share
- close egregious loopholes
- restore fair taxation on multimillion dollar estates
- tax relief to middle-class families
- crack down on tax evasion and promote transparency to fight corruption and terrorism
- tax relief to hard working, middle-class families
Promoting Trade That is Fair and Benefits American Workers
- develop trade policies that support jobs in America
- review agreements negotiated years ago to update them to reflect [Democratic Party] principles.
- Any future trade agreements must make sure our trading partners cannot undercut American workers by taking shortcuts on labor policy or the environment.
- [trade agreements] must not undermine democratic decision-making through special privileges
- [trade agreements] must not undermine democratic decision-making private courts for corporations
- trade negotiations must be transparent and inclusive
- use all our trade enforcement tools to hold China and other trading partners accountable
- These are the standards Democrats believe must be applied to all trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities
Ending Systemic Racism
- dismantle the structures that define lasting racial, economic, political, and social inequity
- promote racial justice through fair, just, and equitable governing of all public-serving institutions and in the formation of public policy
- remove the Confederate battle flag from public
- make it clear that black lives matter and that there is no place for racism in our country.
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
- close this racial wealth gap
- eliminat[e] systemic barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups
- improv[e] opportunities for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth.
- remove barriers to achieving sustainable homeownership
- provide for greater diversity in federal and state contracting practices
- incentivize and expand access to retirement investment programs
- increase opportunities for quality jobs and education
- challenge the deeply rooted structures that perpetuate and exacerbate current disparities and ultimately stagnate the nation’s economic growth and security
Reforming our Criminal Justice System
Democrats are committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending mass incarceration. Something is profoundly wrong when almost a quarter of the world’s prison population is in the United States, even though our country has less than five percent of the world’s population. We will reform mandatory minimum sentences and close private prisons and detention centers. Research and evidence, rather than slogans and sound bites, must guide [reforms].
(PS: Notice that the person whose name is plastered everywhere is not mentioned here. What a relief, right?)