Bernie Sanders Continues To Influence Democratic Party Policies As States Adopt Progressive Platforms

Bernie Sanders is having a good weekend. Not simply because it’s Father’s Day weekend, but also because several state Democratic conventions have officially adopted resolutions straight from his campaign platform. The Inquisitr previously reported how Texas and Iowa adopted the progressive measures to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, ban fracking, and to either eliminate or restrict how superdelegates vote.

As several more states are concluding their Democratic conventions, attendees are reporting that Bernie Sanders progressives have been successful in getting his positions on the platform.

Sanders dominated the state of Idaho in March, with 78 percent of the vote, and at the convention, the delegates made the party platform resemble Bernie’s. A snapshot of the adopted platform includes a range of progressive policies.

Delegates voted in favor of racial, ethnic, and gender inclusiveness, and also to ensure that people with disabilities have the required resources for a higher quality of life.

The party also adopted resolutions to make public schools more uniform from early childhood until 12th grade. Delegates also voted for affordable post-secondary education, including vocational and technical schools, and junior colleges.

The Idaho delegates also adopted resolutions for affordable healthcare, a demand for transparent government accountable to the people, pay equality, support for military members, veterans, and their families, and a commitment to the environment and water resources.

Democrats in several states voted to ban fracking at state conventions.
Democrats in several states voted to ban fracking at state conventions. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

In West Virginia, the state offered up one of the most progressive Democratic Party platforms yet. According to the Charleston Gazzette-Mail, Bernie Sanders’ progressive Democrats “got pretty much everything they wanted” in the party’s new platform at the convention that took place on Saturday.

Delegates emerged after only five hours from the state convention with a host of adopted resolutions that party leaders say could make the Democrats less competitive in future state elections.

Adopted resolutions included a ban on mountaintop removal mining, reversing the Citizens United decision, increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and making recreational and medical marijuana legal. The West Virginia delegates also succeeded in getting a single payer health care system on its party platform.

And although most state legislators and party leaders say the platform won’t make much difference in how individual candidates run their campaigns, the resolutions are symptomatic of a larger issue at hand: People are tired of the status quo and want a change in leadership.

And in Nebraska — where Bernie Sanders also won — progressives shook up the state’s Democratic Party in a way the party won’t be able to ignore. Jane Kleeb, a leader of the movement against the Keystone XL Pipeline and founder of grassroots group Bold Nebraska, won her race to become the Nebraska Democratic Party chairperson.

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Kleeb has been a hero of sorts among Nebraskans who opposed the Keystone XL, and her election to the state chairperson position will likely energize more progressives to join the fight against conservative ideology and the Republican governor, Pete Ricketts.

Outgoing Chairman Vince Powers, who did not run for re-election, had some harsh words for his governor.

“Pete Ricketts wants to turn us into Kansas.”

Kansas has become a libertarian nightmare of budget deficits, education cuts, and an economy that is suffering as a result of Governor Brownback’s policies.

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On Sunday, the Nebraska delegates voted to abolish superdelegates in future elections. According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, the nonbinding resolution will keep the Nebraska Democratic Party from sending superdelegates to the national convention without “substantial change” to the current procedure. Kleeb urged current superdelegates to adhere to their constituents and vote for Sanders at the national convention in July.

Other states have already held their Democratic conventions like Alaska, which also voted to ban the superdelegate system. Although these party platforms are nonbonding at the national level (meaning the national party leadership does not have to adopt them) if enough states’ delegations put forth such measures, they could pressure the party to adopt similar resolutions at the national convention in July. Even if Bernie Sanders does not win the Democratic nomination for president, his progressive policies will serve as a reminder of his commitment to progressive ideals for years to come.

[Photo by Cliff Owen/AP Images]