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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tall order, but a necessary step in returning Democratic Party to the people

Activists at the Iowa CCI annual convention. (photo: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register)
Activists at the Iowa CCI annual convention. (photo: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register)


By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

25 July 17
 

can already hear some of my establishment Democrat friends saying that the People’s Platform being pushed by progressive groups is unachievable. Of course in this Congress they are right. So, what if the Democrats were to push an agenda that is achievable in this Congress? What would that look like? It would be a blank piece of paper, since the GOP Congress will not let the Democratic Party get credit for any legislation, even if it fits in with their right-wing agenda.

That is why the “Summer of Progress” campaign launched by many progressives is so important. It’s time to create a platform that defines the Democratic Party as the people’s party again. Of course Improved Medicare for All will not even get a vote in Paul Ryan’s house, but it’s time for all Democrats to co-sponsor the bill, and those who don’t should prepare for a primary next year.

The People’s Platform is about more than healthcare. At https://summerforprogress.com/ you will find bills that progressive organizations are demanding House Democrats sign onto as co-sponsors. Those bills are:

  1. Medicare for All: H.R. 676 – Medicare For All Act

  2. Free College Tuition: H.R. 1880 – College for All Act of 2017

  3. Worker Rights: H.R.15 – Raise the Wage Act

  4. Women’s Rights: H.R.771 – Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017

  5. Voting Rights: H.R. 2840 – Automatic Voter Registration Act

  6. Environmental Justice: Climate Change Bill – Renewable Energy

  7. Criminal Justice and Immigrant Rights: H.R.3543 – Justice Is Not for Sale Act of 2017

  8. Taxing Wall Street: H.R. 1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act

It is a bold agenda. It has to be, to breathe new life into the Democratic Party. My establishment Democratic friends will say that Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump. They are right, but it was also nearly 4 million votes less than Barack Obama received in 2008 and less than Obama got in 2012.

Last summer Democrats passed the most progressive platform in its history. This summer it is time to bring that platform to life and make it mean something.

The groups that have signed onto this campaign are: Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, #AllofUs, Common Defense, National Nurses United, Working Families Party, Millennials for Revolution, Women’s March, Labor for Our Revolution, People for Bernie, Good Jobs Nation, Young Progressives Demanding Action, Healthcare Now, Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, Food & Water Action, and Fight for 15.

Today, the groups will deliver over 100,000 signatures in support of the People’s Platform to the Democratic National Committee after a Capitol Hill press conference that will include progressive members of Congress.

Throughout the rest of the summer, the coalition will hold actions and lobby members of Congress to take positions on the eight bills, culminating in a scorecard that will show which members of Congress support the People’s Platform and which members might just need a primary challenge in 2018 and beyond.

The statement on the campaign’s website reads:

Resisting the Trump administration and Republican Congressional agenda is only part of how we can move our country forward. Now is the time for Democrats to campaign on a bold agenda and fight to create an America that works for everyone. If Democrats want to win in 2018 and take our country back from the billionaire class and Republicans, they need to start by supporting legislation that speaks to the real concerns facing the American people. We’re fighting for a Congress that will put people before profits to create an America where everyone, regardless of the age, race, gender or economic status has access to health care, free college tuition, a livable planet, and a job that pays a living wage.
The Democratic Party Platform makes it clear that Democrats must fight for these issues as a party. We’re asking all House Democrats to commit to supporting our #People’s Platform bills by signing on as a co-sponsor when Congress comes back in session in September.

It is a tall order, but a necessary step in returning the Democratic Party to the people. The goal is to one day be able to say again that the Democratic Party puts people before profit.




Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

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