Some Perspective, Please

Sen. Bernie Sanders has been given highly unusual say over the drafting of the Democratic Party platform this year even if, as expected, he loses the primary contest to Hillary Clinton.

The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.

Clinton has picked six members, and Sanders has named five — including a longtime activist on behalf of Palestinian rights, a potential sign of his plans to push the party's policy on Israel in a different direction, the Democrats said Monday ahead of an expected announcement by the DNC.

...DNC rules allow the chairman to pick the entire slate of 15 people who govern the platform that will be presented at the party convention in July.

The change was made to be inclusive of Sanders supporters after the strong liberal challenge he mounted during a long and sometimes bitter primary.
I'm not mad about that. It seems completely reasonable to me that a runner-up who mounted a successful if ultimately losing campaign should be given some input on the party platform. If the primary had gone the other way, I wouldn't want Clinton shut out.

I am, however, perturbed that Sanders, with the collusion of the media, has so successfully written a narrative that he is the One True Progressive in the race that we get paragraphs like this one:
Gunnels and the Sanders campaign are already at work producing a draft of the bullet points it hopes to get into the party platform, the source continues. Some things the Sanders camp will push for include firm opposition to a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in this Congress; requirements to break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions; more in infrastructure spending; a $15-per-hour minimum wage; tuition-free public college, and, possibly, a carbon tax, in keeping with the ambitious agenda Sanders has campaigned on.
Let's play Which of These Things Hillary Already Supports!

And then we can spend the next one hundred years rolling our fucking eyes when Bernie Sanders gets credit for "pushing her left."

It's true that there are some differences in the details of their proposals. Broadly, Sanders' plans are more all-or-nothing, while Clinton's plans tend to be more nuanced, e.g. minimum wage hikes that better reflect individual local economies and free college based on need.

But, again, that's more a reflection of their differences in approach rather than fundamental differences in their ideologies.

There is a credible argument to be made that Clinton's detailed policies which are sensitive to context are actually more progressive than Sanders' versions.

But let's not let inconvenient facts like that get in the way of a terrific narrative about how a man should be allowed to take credit for all the good ideas on which the woman who defeated him will be running.


One other note: Among Sanders' platform committee picks is Professor Cornel West. It odd choice to me to choose West, who has said some truly nasty things about President Obama. I know he's been a reliable Sanders surrogate, so I understand why Sanders chose him, but it still seems like a bad decision to choose someone for the Democratic platform committee who has so harshly bashed the sitting Democratic president.

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