Democratic Party platform meeting LIVE BLOG, part 1

I’m here at the Democratic Party platform meeting in Orlando, Florida. Check back for updates!

2:25 p.m.
I should be able to enter the room where the meeting is happening at around 2:30. In the meantime, let’s look at the members of the Platform Drafting Committee. Of the 15 members, six were selected by the Clinton campaign, five were selected by the Sanders campaign, and four were selected by Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Appointed by Schultz

  • U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
  • U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-Ca.)
  • Former U.S. Representative Howard Berman
  • Business executive and philanthropist Bonnie Schaefer

Appointed by Clinton

  • Former State Department official Wendy Sherman
  • Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden
  • Ohio state Representative Alicia Reece
  • U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)
  • Former EPA official Carol Browner
  • Union advocate Paul Booth

Appointed by Sanders

  • U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
  • Environmental advocate Bill McKibben
  • Professor and social justice advocate Cornel West
  • Arab American Institute President James Zogby
  • Native American activist Deborah Parker

There are also several members of the larger platform committee who were selected by the presidential campaigns in proportion to the amount of the vote each candidate received.

2:36 p.m.

Cornel West sighting.

3:05 p.m.

We’re inside the room waiting for things to begin. There’s a large contingent of Hillary supporters and dozens of people with Bernie buttons as well. There’s a strong anti-TPP presence too. They’re trying to get a stance onto the platform that opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that many progressives think would be a disaster for working families and for the environment. Although both Clinton and Sanders have publicly opposed the deal, there appears to be apprehension to include it in the platform because President Obama supports it. There’s also a presence from an immigrant rights group, environmental groups that want to ban fracking, and National Nurses United, the nurse’s union that endorsed and worked for Bernie’s campaign.

3:14 p.m.

Nina Turner sighting. (She’s second from the right).

4:06 p.m.

The platform committee has been called to order.

4:36 p.m.

Quorum has been established for the platform committee. Deliberations will be starting soon.

4:45 p.m.

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, delivers a stirring speech calling for Democrats to unite not against Trump, but for the families of America. “It’s not about what we are against, it is about what and who we are fighting for,” he said. Cummings also condemned the influence of the rich and powerful in our political process, and acknowledged that some Democrats have voted against the interests of the working class.

It’s incredible seeing how Bernie Sanders has affected the rhetoric and policy positions of the Democratic Party. Cummings is a strong Clinton supporter, but he sounds like Sanders in much of his rhetoric. If the Democratic establishment was really this liberal the whole time, why on Earth did they choose to nominate Hillary Clinton? I think we all have Bernie to thank for how progressive the discussion has become.

5:00 p.m.

A few of the people addressing the committee have expressed a desire to “not mess with [the platform] too much.” Are they taking this process seriously?

The leaders of the committee explain that in order for an amendment to reach a vote, it needs to be seconded by at least 15 members of the committee. The committee appears to be made up of about 170-180 members.

There are no proposed amendments to the platform’s preamble.

5:45 p.m.

The platform’s preamble, which declares that “we are stronger together” and establishes progressive positions on several issues, including income inequality, race relations, and the environment, passes by voice vote with no opposition.

The committee meeting has adjourned for a dinner recess and to honor the victims of the Pulse shooting, which happened here in Orlando on June 12. The committee will be assembling at the Orlando Art Museum around 7 p.m. and will reconvene at the Doubletree hotel around 8 or 9 o’clock.

I will start a new post for the next session of deliberations.


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