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After Being Granted More Influence Over 2016 Democratic Platform, Sanders Criticizes Democrats for Not Addressing Needs of Working Families

The DNC gave in to Bernie Sanders’ demands for more influence over the 2016 Democratic Party Platform.  DNC Chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is responsible for appointing all 15 members of the Platform Drafting Committee. Sanders has been clear about his distrust of Wasserman Schultz as the DNC Chairperson.  He accused the DNC of rigging the election in Clinton’s favor by preventing a “fair and transparent process.”

In a letter addressed to Wasserman Schultz, Sanders recommended that she give up her authority and instead allow campaigns to determine all members of the Platform Drafting Committee.  Although Sanders is far behind Clinton in popular votes and delegates, he proposed dividing authority equally between himself and Clinton:

“I believe that each campaign should choose seven members to serve on the Drafting Committee. The fifteenth member would be a chair who would be jointly picked by the two campaigns.”

Wasserman Schultz offered a compromise: frontrunner Hillary Clinton would appoint 6 members, Bernie Sanders would appoint 5 members, and she would appoint 4 members.

In response, Bernie Sanders released the following statement suggesting that without his input, the Democratic Party Platform would not address the needs of working families:

“We believe that we will have the representation on the Platform Drafting Committee to create a Democratic platform…to address the needs of working families in this country and not just Wall Street, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry and other powerful special interests.”

Sanders fails to acknowledge that the Democratic Party Platform has put working families over corporate interests for decades.  The 2012 DNC Platform addressed all of the issues Sanders highlighted in his press release.  An excerpt from the 2012 DNC Platform sounds a lot like a Bernie Sanders’ income-inequality speech:

“The Republican Party has turned its back on the middle class Americans who built this country.  Our opponents believe we should go back to the top-down economic policies of the last decade.  They think that if we simply eliminate protections for families and consumers, let Wall Street write its own rules again, and cut taxes for the wealthiest, the market will solve all our problems on its own. They argue that if we help corporations and wealthy investors maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, whether through layoffs or outsourcing, it will automatically translate into jobs and prosperity that benefits us all.  They would repeal health reform, turn Medicare into a voucher program, and follow the same path of fiscal irresponsibility of the past administration – giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires while sticking the middle class with the bill. But we’ve tried their policies – and we’ve all suffered when they failed.”

There is always room for improvement, but when Sanders offers only criticism of the Democratic Party without acknowledging those in the Party who have committed their lives to social and economic justice, he makes the mistake of alienating Democrats who might have otherwise helped him get elected.  Hello, super delegates!

At a campaign rally in California, Sanders continued his criticism of the Democratic Party:

“It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change…bringing in people who are willing to take on Wall Street, to take on corporate greed, and to take on a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet.”

In response to Bernie Sanders’ criticism, Barney Frank said:

“The Democratic Party: the party that gave this country its first African-American President; the party that is poised to give this country its first woman nominee of a major party, very likely its first woman President; a party chaired by a Jewish woman; a party which features the first openly gay member of the United States Congress on the party’s rules committee; isn’t “progressive” enough, or inclusive enough, according to a 75 year old straight white male, who “white flighted” his way out of the most ethnically diverse city in the country, to the whitest state in the northeast United States, and who just passed his 1 year anniversary of declaring himself a member of the party, that he thinks that he is the only fit candidate to be the party’s nominee for President.

As Barney Frank pointed out, the Democratic Party has a long history of inclusion. Bernie Sanders on the other hand has been criticized for lacking diversity on his staff for decades.  His senior level campaign staff consists primarily of white men. Of the five people Sanders appointed to the Platform Drafting Committee, only one is a woman.  Perhaps, Bernie Sanders should take his own advice and work on improving diversity and inclusion on his own campaign before criticizing others for a lack of inclusion.

Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee Members Appointed by Bernie Sanders:
  1. Cornel West
  2. Keith Ellison
  3. Deborah Parker
  4. James Zogby
  5. Bill McKibben
Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee Members Appointed by Hillary Clinton:
  1. Carol Browner
  2. Paul Booth
  3. Wendy Sherman
  4. Luis Gutierez
  5. Neera Tanden
  6. Alicia Reese
Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee Members Appointed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
  1. Elijah Cummings
  2. Howard Berman
  3. Bonnie Schaefer
  4. Barbara Lee

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