During a meeting of appointees responsible for drafting the party’s platform, Hillary Clinton-backed Democrats elected to vote against an amendment proposed by Representative Keith Ellison, which would have strengthened the platform’s language in support of a livable minimum wage.
All of Hillary Clinton’s appointees voted down the amendment, insisting that the platform already includes language in support of a $15 minimum wage and that such an addition would be unnecessary.
Ellison and several others strongly disagreed, noting that the current language on the minimum wage is far too vague and non-binding, providing Democrats with an excuse to renege on their promises.
“It’s important to recognize that $15 an hour really is actually not even what the minimum wage would be if we indexed it from 1968,” Ellison said, imploring his colleagues to accept more clear and decisive language. “It would probably be upwards of $22.”
The opposition proved resolute, however, and the amendment was tabled.
For Sanders and his supporters, this vote — as well as the votes against both a ban on fracking and a proposal to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — confirms their suspicions that the Democratic Party has become the enemy of progressive causes.
I'm disappointed and dismayed that allies of Hillary Clinton beat back Democratic Party platform proposals on trade.https://t.co/DUCZL7s4wh
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 25, 2016
Over the past several decades, Democrats have increasingly abandoned the working class in favor of the wealthier professional class, largely in an attempt to shore up their party’s relationship with the business community. Doing so has created a party that is steadily drifting rightward, adopting policies not unlike those proposed by the Republican Party — from welfare reform to Wall Street deregulation.
In a statement released after the hearing took place, Jeremy Adler, Communications Director for America Rising Squared, said, “Hours before the platform committee voted it down, Bernie Sanders said his ‘goal’ was to get the DNC platform committee to adopt a $15 minimum wage.”
But, they refused. And this, Adler contends, could prove costly for the Clinton campaign, as it will steepen the already uphill battle Clinton faces among Sanders supporters, nearly half of whom have said they will not vote for her in November.
Democrats’ rejection of strong language in support of a livable minimum wage is, Adler concludes, “a glaring problem for Hillary Clinton, who Sanders supporters remain increasingly wary of backing. Today’s vote by the platform committee only makes that already difficult challenge harder.”
Team Bernie on the DNC Platform Drafting Committee. pic.twitter.com/zKwmOdEwO7
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) June 25, 2016
Not only should Clinton worry that her campaign’s unwillingness to embrace progressive causes alienates Sanders supporters, but she should also be concerned that this lack of conviction helps Trump.
“If she campaigns only on the fact she’s experienced and competent — and not Donald Trump — the public doesn’t know what she stands for, which allows Republicans to paint her any way they wish,” argues economist Robert Reich.
Donald Trump has repeatedly and consistently capitalized on the public’s perception of Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy (two attributes that Trump has in abundance, as well), and her campaign’s efforts to beat back the ambitious platform supported by millions of progressives can only add to this perception.
Clinton has tepidly supported a $15 minimum wage, though with several caveats. Generally, she says, she supports a $12 minimum, but she has said she will encourage cities and states that want to go higher. She has also come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership after previously calling it the “gold standard,” but her appointees’ rejection of an amendment that would unite Democrats in opposition to the agreement fuels the suspicion that Clinton is pandering to progressives while planning to support the deal if she reaches the White House.
Sanders, though he expressed his disappointment that key components of his platform were rebuffed by Clinton-appointed Democrats, promised that he would not cede to the opposition.
“If we do not win that fight in St. Louis, we’re takin’ it to Orlando, where the larger committee will meet next month. If we don’t make it in Orlando, we’re takin’ that fight right to the floor of the Democratic convention. Whether they like it or not, we’re going to open the doors of the Democratic Party.”