POLITICS

Actually, Democrats Still Love Each Other XOXO

And they're not psyched about corporate power.
Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are working it out in the party platform.
Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are working it out in the party platform.

You’ve read the stories. The HillaryBots just hate the BernieBros, and the feeling is so, so mutual.

Yeah, whatevz. Take a look at this video from the official Democratic Party platform meeting in Orlando, Florida. They’re “debating” antitrust language, establishing the party’s official stance on heavy concentrations of corporate power. Behold the great conflict of our times, the rending of a once-great political institution as it … unanimously agrees about something.

Watch different factions of the Democratic Party hug each other over a shared commitment to curbing corporate power in the video below:

Some variety of antitrust language appeared in the Democratic Party platform from the days of President Grover Cleveland in the late 19th century until the failed presidential bid of Michael Dukakis in 1988. It vanished in 1992 during the nomination of Bill Clinton, who ran on a corporate-friendly platform.

So when Sen. Bernie Sanders’ delegates try to resurrect some kind of pro-antitrust stance in the very year that Bill Clinton’s wife is set to take the party’s presidential nomination, surely this affront will wreak intraparty havoc.

That, or a total lovefest.

Sanders delegate Mary Bottari, a longtime progressive activist from Madison, Wisconsin, found common cause with former Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Pryor was not exactly viewed as a left-wing hero during his days in the upper chamber. He opposed same-sex marriage and was occasionally referred to as “the senator from Walmart” before losing his re-election bid in 2014.

But Pryor and Bottari worked out mutually acceptable language aimed at taking down corporate power before delegates formally met to debate the issue. Bottari had pushed for a stronger stance, informed by the work of Barry Lynn, who runs the antitrust wing of the nonpartisan New America Foundation. Pryor, a Clinton delegate, wanted a more moderate tone.

They decided on this:

We support the historic purpose of the antitrust laws to protect competition, and against the sort of excessively consolidated economic and political power which can be corrosive to a healthy democracy. We support reinvigorating DOJ and FTC enforcement of antitrust laws to prevent abusive behavior by dominant companies, and protecting the public interest against abusive, discriminatory, and unfair methods of commerce. We support President Obama’s recent Executive Order, directing all agencies to identify specific actions they can take in their areas of jurisdiction to detect anticompetitive practices ― such as tying arrangements, price fixing, and exclusionary conduct ― and refer practices that appear to violate federal antitrust law to the DOJ and FTC.

Note the reference to “reinvigorating” enforcement, which suggests that Obama’s antitrust regulation has been weak, alongside the praise for his recent executive order, which suggests that even the president wants to do better. This is the language of reconciliation. It acknowledges shortcomings without foreclosing the possibility that people of good will can do better together. When Pryor took the mic after unanimous approval of the amendment, he addressed both Bottari and the broader audience in Orlando.

“Let me just say one quick word, if I may, to the Bernie Sanders supporters here,” Pryor said. “Let me just say I’m a lifelong Democrat, and I am glad to have you here. We’re glad to have you in the party. You’ve made a big difference in 2016. Thank you for being here today, thank you for participating and thank you for the unity.”

Man. These two teams just don’t like each other.

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