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US Democratic Party Releases First Draft of National Platform

  • Aline Barros

Shown is the Wells Fargo Center ahead of the the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, June 22, 2016. The Democratic National Convention will be held July 25-28.

Shown is the Wells Fargo Center ahead of the the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, June 22, 2016. The Democratic National Convention will be held July 25-28.

The Democratic Party has released a nonbinding document that spells out the party's positions on international and domestic issues that party members are calling the “most progressive” platform in their history.

The first draft calls the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations “controversial” within the party but said “all Democrats believe that any trade agreement must protect workers and the environment.”

In addressing global threats, particularly in Iraq and Syria, the draft says it will continue to press those parties in the region, especially the Gulf countries and local forces, to carry the weight of the fight.

In Syria, where they call the crisis "heartbreaking and dangerous," with its impact threatening not only the region but also Europe and beyond, the draft says Democrats will push to "bring together the Syrian opposition, international community, and our regional allies" in negotiating a political transition to end President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

The draft also says the U.S. should "lead the international community in providing greater humanitarian assistance" to the civilian victims in Syria and Iraq.

National issues

On the national front, the draft features commitments to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expand community-based treatment for substance abuse disorders, abolish the death penalty, and respect gun ownership while keeping assault weapons off the streets.

“We believe in protecting civil liberties and guaranteeing civil rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and rights for people with disabilities. We believe America is still, as Robert Kennedy said, ‘a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country,' ” the document said.

The platform also asks for free community college and says the party “will not forget about the millions of borrowers who need help with their debt right now.”

The 187-member platform committee is scheduled to review the draft next week in Orlando, Florida. Changes can be made to the draft before it is presented and voted on at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this month.

Here are some key provisions in the first draft of the 2016 Democratic platform.


• Push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and support the right for every American to join a union.

• Fight “right to work” laws. Democrats vowed to oppose laws that would eliminate the need to check procedures and that would abolish fair requirements to all American workers.

• Support equal pay for women and paid family leave to care for a new member of the family or sick relative with a serious health issue.

• Renew efforts to expand Social Security and continue to ask “those at the top to pay more.”

• Work with small-business owners to have access to credit in order to create more jobs.

Gun rights

• Support gun ownership but enact strict background checks and keep assault weapons off the streets and away from terrorists and other violent criminals.


• Support access to income based-repayment of student debt and cut interest for future graduates.

• Support free community college and more investments in early childhood education.

• The draft calls for a national campaign to recruit and retain “high-quality teachers” and make sure educators receive the tools for professional development.


• Supports visa programs and legal immigration.

• Ask “urgently” for the fixing of America’s immigration system by fighting for comprehensive immigration reform.

• Supports relief immigration actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.

• It rejects attempts to ban immigrants or refugees running away from persecution.

Health care

• Work to keep costs down and make premium insurance affordable.

• The party will also fight for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to be adopted in every state.

• Supports the increase of community-based treatment for mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders.

Racial justice

• Promote racial justice and push for an equitable governing of all institutions.

• Eliminate the racial wealth gap and income gap.

• Invest in training for law enforcement officers on de-escalation and appropriate use of force.

• Support and encourage better police-community relations.


• Supports defeating groups like ISIS, al-Qaida and any affiliates.

• Calls for the update of the Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force to create “more precise” efforts to defeat terrorists.

• Continue to push for peace in Afghanistan and press Pakistan to deny terrorists use of its territory.

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