The Democratic Party Platform: Many Good Things And One Unforced Error

So the draft version of the Democratic Party platform is out–this isn’t the final version which will be adopted at the party convention. There’s a lot of good things in it–it calls for a $15 hour minimum wage and criminal justice reform. If two years ago, someone had said that the Democrats would adopt these goals, no one would have believed you.

But there’s one problem–and it’s one that Trump can legitimately exploit (as opposed to all of the bullshit reasons; boldface mine):

Democrats on Friday voted down an amendment to the party’s platform that would have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, avoiding an awkward scenario that would have put its statement of values at odds with President Barack Obama.

Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee defeated a proposal led by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., that would have added language rejecting the Pacific Rim trade pact, which has been opposed by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The panel, which is developing the party’s platform ahead of next month’s Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said “there are a diversity of views in the party” on the TPP and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal “must protect workers and the environment.”

… On trade, Obama has promoted the TPP despite opposition from rank-and-file Democrats. Members of the panel said it would be wrong to undercut the outgoing president in the platform.

“What I don’t want to do is leave this place disregarding the position of the President of the United States,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a Clinton supporter who noted his opposition to trade deals.

… Sanders, in a statement, said he was “disappointed and dismayed” that the committee would vote down a measure on trade that both he and Clinton supported but added that he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty.

Oddly enough, a few years ago, the position of most of the Democratic Party was disregarded when it came to Social Security grand bargains. Somehow we got past that. But we’re looking forward, not back. After all, the “Expand Social Security” part, given Obama’s former predilection for a Grand Bargain is also a “disregard for the position of the President of the United States.” I think he’ll be ok, and his supporters won’t hold it against the party (it is telling–and disturbing–that personal loyalty supposedly trumps policy).

Other than anti-immigrant bigotry, the one thing Trump has been consistent on during his campaign is opposition to trade deals like the TPP. Why would the platform committee give Trump an opening on this issue? (It’s worth noting that was the lede of the AP story). It’s not a popular position within the party, and it weakens Clinton and down ballot Democrats politically. Clinton should win heavily anyway, but some on the fence voters might swing Trump or decide to stay home. Down ballot, we need those voters. They certainly shouldn’t be left on the table to assuage Obama’s feelings.

So overall, it’s good–and what I was hoping for given the results of the primary. But it has one hell of an unforced error in it.

Added: The Republicans are now attacking Clinton for her former support of TPP (even as many of them support it, but that sort of inconsistency has never stopped them before).

*One obvious answer is that some on the committee like the TPP, but won’t fess up to it.

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