Bernie Sanders’ Aim: Enact Democratic National Platform

Hillary Clinton topped Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. But Sanders got 46% of the pledged delegates, and brought out great enthusiastic throngs to back him and his policies. He then took that power to the Democratic Party platform negotiations with the Clinton camp, and parlayed it into what he and others call “the most progressive Democratic Party platform in history.” (See list of platform planks below.)

Of the platform negotiations, a top Sanders adviser, Warren Gunnels, said:

We believe we got at least 80% of what we’ve been fighting for.

Sanders enlisted the renown author and climate action champion, Bill McKibben, for his negotiating team. McKibben came away fairly pleased with the platform results:

In four years we’ve gone from an “all of the above” energy strategy to one that explicitly favors sun and wind over natural gas. The platform promises a Keystone-style test for all federal policy: If it makes global warming worse, it won’t be built. And it calls for an emergency climate summit in the first hundred days of the new administration.

And just last week Sanders himself said:

[B]ecause millions of people came out and stood up and fought back … 80 percent, I would say, of the Democratic National Platform is what we believe in. … So, when you ask me, where do we go from here in a sense, it means that we implement this.

Clearly, the best chance for implementing the Democratic platform is to elect Democrats. Sanders’ approach is at once true to his values and practical:

I would hope that all those people who worked with me on this campaign, who supported me, understand that Donald Trump would be a real, real, real disaster for this country. He stands in opposition to everything that we believe in. On the other hand, the day after the election we don’t sit back and say, “Well Clinton is president.” What we do is we mobilize our people to make certain that, hopefully President Clinton, hopefully a Democratic Senate moves forward with an agenda that helps transform this country.

I think what politics is about is trying to be smart and think about where we are at this moment. I want to see Clinton become president and the day after that I, and the progressive members of Congress, and hopefully millions of other people will say, “President-Elect Clinton, here is the Democratic National Platform. It is a progressive document.”

This is not trust. We’re not here to trust. It is the very opposite of what I am saying to say, “Oh, sit back, elect Clinton, and then trust.” No. Mobilize. Educate. Fight.

(video:Now This)

#StillBernie: For some Bernie backers, being still with Bernie means they still won’t vote for Clinton. For others, it means they still back Bernie and his plans of today, that is:

  • Elect Clinton for president.
  • Elect a progressive Democratic Congress.
  • Enact the Democratic National Platform.
  • Mobilize.
  • Educate.
  • Fight.

List of Democratic Party Platform Planks

Here are some of the planks in the Democratic Party platform that line up in total, or in large part, with top planks in the Sanders platform.

  • Tuition-Free College: For all with family income less than $125,000, tuition is totally free. The limit scales up from $85,000 over six years. This differs from Sanders plank, which had no income limit.
  • Clean Energy: Government policy will favor solar, wind and other clean energy sources above any fossil fuel, including natural gas. Supporting this is a program to install half a billion solar panels across the country. The plank includes a specific goal of having 50% clean electricity within ten years. The Sanders plank had similar proposals, but also called for 100% clean energy for electricity, heating and transportation.
  • Carbon Pricing: Greenhouse gases are priced to reflect their negative effects. This is similar to, though not as simple as, the Sanders plank of a carbon tax.
  • Climate Summit: Within 100 days, the president will convene a summit meeting aimed at solving the climate crisis, going beyond the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement. This plank is the same as that in the Sanders platform.
  • The “Keystone Test”: All government policy would be subject to the test used in President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline: If it worsens global warming, it won’t be built.
  • $15 Minimum Wage: This scales up over several years from the current $7.25 minimum wage, and is very close to the Sanders plank. The idea behind it is that no 40-hour-a-week job-holder should live in poverty.
  • Family and Medical Leave: This plank calls for 12 weeks of paid family leave, “the right to earn” at least seven days paid sick leave, and encourages employers to provide paid vacation. The Sanders plank differed in that it would also have required two weeks of paid vacation.
  • No Too-Big-To-Fail Banks: The plank states that too-big-to-fail is too big to exist. It stops short of the Sanders plank, which specifically calls for breaking up these banking corporations, but calls for stronger criminal and civil penalties for Wall Street fraud, and stronger enforcement. It would also create a wall between commercial and investment banking, as did the old, effective Glass-Steagall act.
  • Wall Street Transaction Tax: A small fee on each market financial transaction would tamp down stock market volatility and, like the Sanders plank, provide funds for free college tuition.
  • Social Security Enhancement: Rather than cut benefits and push out the age requirement, Social Security benefits would be increased. This would be funded by persons with incomes more than $250,000, who now pay a lower percentage of their income into the system than low and middle income persons. This is very close to the Sanders plank.
  • Supreme Court: Clinton, like Sanders, would appoint judges that supported the power of Congress and the states to regulate election campaign finance, and that would overturn the “Citizens United” corporation-is-person, money-is-speech ruling that Chief Justice John Roberts spearheaded.
  • Health Care Access: This plank supports having a public option on the health insurance exchange. This would likely be higher value insurance, since it would be free of covering corporate profit. Also, the plank would double support for community health centers. This is good progress, but still short of the Sanders plank of Medicare for all.
  • Building Infrastructure: This plank would rebuild “crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.” Also, it would include modernization and greening of energy and water systems, and internet speed and access enhancement. A new independent national infrastructure bank would support these projects. The Sanders plank, from what I read, did not call for the new bank, but called for spending $1 trillion over five years for infrastructure.
  • Internet Access:This plank would connect every household to high-speed broadband, help with free public wifi and wide deployment of 5G wireless. The Sanders plank put $5B a year into high-speed broadband expansion. Both platforms state that internet is not a luxury, but a necessity in the 21st century.
  • Net Neutrality (Open Internet):This plank supports a free and open internet at home and abroad, and the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Sanders has strongly supported net neutrality in Congress.

The Democratic platform, like the Sanders platform, appears to be designed so that all new spending is paid for, and so would not increase the national debt.


“[O]n every important issue … Hillary Clinton’s views are far, far better than Donald Trump’s. And it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump not become the next president of the United States. That’s true on economic issues, it’s true on healthcare issues — it is especially true on environmental issues and on issues dealing with climate change.” — Bernie Sanders (video:


46% of the pledged delegates “Democratic Convention
Presidential Nominating Process” – The Green Papers 2016 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions

brought out great “How Today’s Bernie Sanders New York Rally Compared to Hillary Clinton’s (PHOTOS)” by Tom Cahill, U.S. Uncut; April 18, 2016

The Vermont senator, who spent his first 19 years in Brooklyn, spoke to a crowd of 28,356 supporters in Prospect Park on Sunday …

enthusiastic throngs “Seven Biggest Cheers at Bernie Sanders Rally in Cleveland (video clips)” – The Paragraph; November 21, 2015

We believe we got “Bernie Sanders Won by Waiting to Endorse Hillary Clinton” by Sam Frizell, Time; July 11, 2016

Bill McKibben

In four years we’ve gone “Bill McKibben: The Real Work Begins Nov. 9” by Bill McKibben; EcoWatch; 2016-07-29

[B]ecause millions of people came out “BernieSanders answers the most important question: Why should his supporters vote for Hillary Clinton?” (video) – Now This; 17 Oct 2016

Now This ibid.

#StillBernie Twitter

Democratic Party platform THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM

Sanders platform “BERNIE SANDERS – On the Issues” – Bernie 2016

tuition is totally “Making college debt-free and taking on student debt” – Hillary Clinton

free“Making Debt-Free College a Reality” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

no income limit “It’s Time to Make College Tuition Free and Debt Free” – Bernie 2016

Government policy will favor “Building a Clean Energy Economy” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

Sanders plank “Combating Climate Change to Save the Planet” – Bernie 2016

are priced “Building a Clean Energy Economy” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

carbon tax “Combating Climate Change to Save the Planet” – Bernie 2016

Within 100 days “Global Climate Leadership” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

that in the Sanders platform “Combating Climate Change to Save the Planet” – Bernie 2016

subject to the test “Building a Clean Energy Economy” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline “Obama Will Approve Keystone Only If It ‘Does Not Significantly Exacerbate’ Carbon Pollution” – by Ryan Koronowski, ThinkProgress; Jun 25, 2013

from the current “Raising Workers’ Wages” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

Sanders plank “A Living Wage” – Bernie 2016

This plank calls “Supporting Working Families” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

The Sanders plank “Real Family Values” – Bernie 2016

The plank states “Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

the Sanders plank “Income and Wealth Inequality” – Bernie 2016

A small fee “Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

the Sanders plank “Income and Wealth Inequality” – Bernie 2016

benefits would be increased “Protecting and Expanding Social Security” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

the Sanders plank “Strengthen and Expand Social Security” – Bernie 2016

Clinton “Campaign finance reform” – Hillary Clinton

like Sanders “Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy” – Sanders 2016

having a public option “Securing Universal Health Care” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

double support for “Supporting Community Health Centers” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

Sanders plank of Medicare for all “Medicare for All” – Bernie 2016

This plank would rebuild “Building 21st Century Infrastructure” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

The Sanders plank “Creating Jobs Rebuilding America” – Bernie 2016

This plank “Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

The Sanders plank “Creating Jobs Rebuilding America” – Bernie 2016

This plank supports “Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

supported net neutrality “Bernie Sanders on Technology”” – On The Issues

Democratic platform “Strengthening Management of Federal Government” – The 2016 Democratic Platform

like the Sanders platform “How Bernie pays for his proposals” – Bernie 2016 “Bernie’s Not Sitting This Out. Neither Can We.” (video) –

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By Quinn Hungeski,, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2016

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