Here's the draft of the Democratic Party platform. It is dramatically more progressive than the 2012 version. The nation's political center of gravity has changed. Thanks to grassroots movements like Occupy Wall Street, the Fight for 15, the Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, .350 (fossil fuel divestment), struggles over women's rights, LGBT rights, voting rights, and gun violence, along with the Sanders insurgency, the Democratic Party has shifted leftward. While progressive's won't be happy with everything in here, this draft platform is a reflection of that reality. Remember, this is still a draft -- what the drafters call "deliberative and predecisional." But it is definitely a great step forward.
***DRAFT -- DELIBERATIVE AND PREDECISIONAL***
2016 Democratic Party Platform DRAFT
July 1, 2016
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class 3
Minimum Wage 3
Equal Pay, Paid Leave, and Caregiving 4
Social Security 5
Retirement Security 5
Postal Service 6
Create Good-Paying Jobs 6
Clean Energy Jobs 7
Research, Science, and Technology 7
Small Business 7
Youth Jobs 7
Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality 8
Fixing our Financial System 8
Stopping Corporate Concentration 9
Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Create Ladders of Opportunity 10
Racial Justice 10
Racial Wealth Gap 11
Criminal Justice 11
Civil Rights 13
LGBT Rights 13
Disability Rights 13
Faith and Service 14
Agricultural Communities 14
Poverty / Communities Left Behind 14
Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations 14
People of the Territories 16
Puerto Rico 16
Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy 17
Voting Rights 17
Campaign Finance 17
D.C. Statehood 18
Management of Federal Government 18
Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice 18
Clean Energy Economy 19
Environmental and Climate Justice 19
Public Lands and Waters 20
Provide Quality and Affordable Education 20
Higher Education 20
Student Debt 20
Minority-Serving Institutions 21
For-Profit Schools 21
Early Childhood, Pre-K, and K-12 21
Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans 22
Universal Health Care 22
Community Health Centers 23
Prescription Drug Costs 23
Medical Research 24
Drug and Alcohol Addiction 24
Mental Health 24
Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice 24
Public Health 25
Violence Against Women and Sexual Assault 25
Gun Violence Prevention 25
Principled Leadership 25
Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans 26
Confront Global Threats 27
North Korea 29
Climate Change 30
Protect Our Values 30
Women and Girls 30
Trafficking and Modern Slavery 31
Young People 31
Religious Minorities 31
Civil Society 31
Closing Guantánamo Bay 32
Development Assistance 32
Global Health 32
HIV and AIDS 32
International Labor 32
A Leader in the World 33
Middle East 33
Global Economy and Institutions 34
1 2016 DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM DRAFT
5 In 2016, Democrats meet in Philadelphia with the same basic belief that animated the
6 Continental Congress when they gathered here 240 years ago: Out of many, we are one.
8 Under President Obama's leadership, and thanks to the hard work and determination of the
9 American people, we have come a long way from the Great Recession and the Republican
10 policies that triggered it. We have seen 75 straight months of private-sector job growth and
11 added 14.5 million new jobs. Twenty million people have gained health insurance coverage. The
12 American auto industry just had its best year ever. We are getting more of our energy from the
13 sun and wind, and importing less oil from overseas.
15 But too many Americans have been left out and left behind. They are working longer hours with
16 less security. Wages have barely budged and the racial wealth gap remains wide, while the cost
17 of everything from childcare to a college education has continued to rise. And as working people
18 struggle, the top one percent accrues more wealth and more power. Republicans in Congress
19 have chosen gridlock and dysfunction over trying to find solutions to the real challenges we face.
20 It's no wonder that so many feel like the system is rigged against them.
22 Democrats believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division,
23 empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.
25 It's a simple but powerful idea: we are stronger together.
27 Democrats believe we are stronger when we have an economy that works for everyone--an
28 economy that grows incomes for working people, creates good-paying jobs, and puts a middle-
29 class life within reach for more Americans. We need an economy that prioritizes long-term
30 investment over short-term profit-seeking, rewards the common interest over self-interest, and
31 promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.
33 We believe that today's extreme level of income and wealth inequality--where the majority of
34 the economic gains go to the top one percent and the richest 20 people in our country own more
35 wealth than the bottom 150 million--makes our economy weaker, our communities poorer, and
36 our politics poisonous.
38 And we know that our nation's long struggle with race is far from over. More than half a century
39 after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, more than half a century after
40 César Chávez and Dolores Huerta organized, race still plays a significant role in determining
41 who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. We must face that reality and we must fix
44 We believe a good education is a basic right of all Americans, no matter what zip code they live
45 in. We will end the school-to-prison pipeline and build a cradle-to-college pipeline instead,
46 where every child can live up to his or her God-given potential.
2 We believe in helping Americans balance work and family without fear of punishment or
3 penalty. We believe in at last guaranteeing equal pay for women. And as the party that created
4 Social Security, we believe in protecting every American's right to retire with dignity.
6 And we firmly believe that the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street must be
7 brought to an end. Wall Street must never again be allowed to threaten families and businesses
8 on Main Street.
10 Democrats believe we are stronger when we protect citizens' right to vote, not corporations' and
11 billionaires' right to buy elections. We will bring an end to the broken campaign finance system,
12 overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision, restore the full power of the Voting Rights Act,
13 and return our elections to the American people.
15 Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our
16 national security, and our children's health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and
17 security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.
19 Democrats believe we are stronger and safer when America brings the world together and leads
20 with principle and purpose, and when we strengthen our alliances, not weaken them. We believe
21 in the power of development and diplomacy. We believe our military should be the best-trained,
22 best-equipped fighting force in the world, and that we must do everything we can to honor and
23 support our veterans. And we know that only the United States can mobilize common action on a
24 truly global scale, to take on the challenges that have no borders, from international terrorism to
25 climate change to health pandemics.
27 Above all, Democrats are the party of inclusion. We know that diversity is not our problem--it is
28 our promise. As Democrats, we respect differences of perspective and belief, and pledge to work
29 together to move this country forward, even when we disagree. With this platform, we do not
30 merely seek common ground--we strive to reach higher ground.
32 We are proud of our heritage as a nation of immigrants. We know that today's immigrants are
33 tomorrow's teachers and soldiers, entrepreneurs and activists, PTA members, and pillars of their
36 We believe in protecting civil liberties and guaranteeing civil rights and voting rights, women's
37 rights and workers' rights, LGBT rights and rights for people with disabilities. We believe
38 America is still, as Robert Kennedy said, "a great country, an unselfish country, and a
39 compassionate country."
41 These principles stand in sharp contrast to the Republicans, who have nominated as the standard-
42 bearer for their party and their candidate for President a man who seeks to appeal to Americans'
43 basest differences, rather than our better natures.
45 The stakes have been high in previous elections. But in 2016, the stakes can be measured in
46 human lives--in the number of immigrants who would be torn from their homes; in the number
1 of faithful and peaceful Muslims who would be barred from even visiting our shores; in the
2 number of allies alienated and dictators courted; in the number of Americans who would lose
3 access to health care and see their rights ripped away.
5 This election is about more than Democrats and Republicans. It is about who we are as a nation,
6 and who we will be in the future.
8 Two hundred and forty years ago, in Philadelphia, we started a revolution of ideas and of action
9 that continues to this day. Since then, our union has been tested many times, through bondage
10 and civil war, segregation and depression, two world wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation.
11 Generations of Americans fought and marched and organized to widen the circle of opportunity
12 and dignity--and we are fighting still.
14 Despite what some say, America is and has always been great--but not because it has been
15 perfect. What makes America great is our unerring belief that we can make it better. We can and
16 we will build a more just economy, a more equal society, and a more perfect union--because we
17 are stronger together.
20 Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class
22 Democrats believe we must restore the basic bargain that built America's mighty middle class: If
23 you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead and stay ahead, provided we break down
24 certain barriers. The system isn't working when we have a rigged economy in which ordinary
25 Americans work longer hours for lower wages, while most new income and wealth goes to the
26 top one percent. In contrast, Donald Trump has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted to
27 secure the basic economic dignity of Americans.
29 Minimum Wage
30 Democrats believe that the current minimum wage is a starvation wage and must be increased to
31 a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. We believe
32 that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour and have the right to form or join a union. We
33 applaud the approaches taken by states like New York and California. We should raise and index
34 the minimum wage, give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work,
35 and create new ways for workers to have power in the economy. We also support creating one
36 fair wage for all workers by ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with
39 Democrats support a model employer executive order or some other vehicle to leverage federal
40 dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and
41 the opportunity to form a union. The $1 trillion spent annually by the government on contracts,
42 loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.
45 The Democratic Party believes that when workers are strong, America is strong. Democrats will
46 make it easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize, and join unions.
1 We will fight to pass laws that direct the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if a
2 simple majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards, and that brings companies to
3 the negotiating table. We support binding arbitration to help workers that have voted to join a
4 union reach a first contract.
6 A major reason for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to bargain
7 collectively for better wages and benefits have been under attack at all levels. Donald Trump
8 would make matters worse by creating a race to the bottom where the middle class is fighting
9 over fewer and fewer good-paying jobs. In fact, Trump rejected some attempts by his own
10 employees to unionize and has personally hired union-busting firms to undermine workers'
13 Democrats believe so-called "right to work" laws are wrong for workers and wrong for America.
14 We will continue to vigorously oppose those laws and other efforts that would eliminate dues
15 check-off procedures, attack prevailing wage standards, abolish fair share requirements, restrict
16 the use of voluntary membership payments for political purposes, and require annual
17 recertification efforts.
19 The Democratic Party believes consumers and workers who have been mistreated should never
20 be denied their right to fight for fair treatment under the law. That is why we will support efforts
21 to limit the use of forced arbitration clauses in employment and service contracts that unfairly
22 strip workers, consumers, and students of their right to their day in court.
24 Equal Pay, Paid Leave, and Caregiving
25 We will fight to secure equal pay for women and--after 240 years--finally enshrine the rights of
26 women in the constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment. While Donald Trump thinks
27 it is "dangerous" for women to leave the home and paid family leave hurts our economy,
28 Democrats will make sure that the United States finally enacts national paid family and medical
29 leave by passing a family and medical leave act that would provide at least 12 weeks of paid
30 leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member's serious health issue, and
31 we will fight to allow workers the right to earn at least seven days of paid sick leave. We will
32 also encourage employers to provide paid vacation.
34 Our work and family policies must also ease the burden on family caregivers, in part by creating
35 a strong, stable workforce to help meet families' needs. We will take steps to expand and
36 strengthen the homecare workforce. We will increase childcare investments to make quality
37 childcare more affordable, boost wages for childcare workers, and support the millions of people
38 paying for, coordinating, or providing care for aging relatives or those with disabilities.
41 Where Donald Trump rooted for the housing crisis, Democrats will continue to fight for those
42 families who suffered the loss of their homes. We will help those who are working toward a path
43 of financial stability and will put sustainable home ownership into the reach of more families.
44 Democrats will also combat the affordable housing crisis and skyrocketing rents in many parts of
45 the country that are leading too many families and workers to be pushed out of communities
46 where they work.
2 We will increase the supply of affordable rental housing by expanding incentives and easing
3 local barriers to building new affordable rental housing developments in areas of economic
4 opportunity. We will substantially increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund to
5 construct, preserve, and rehabilitate millions of affordable housing rental units. Not only will this
6 help address the affordable housing crisis, it will also create millions of good-paying jobs in the
7 process. Democrats also believe that we should provide more federal resources to the people
8 struggling most with unaffordable housing: low-income families, people with disabilities,
9 veterans, and the elderly.
11 We will reinvigorate federal housing production programs, increase resources to repair public
12 housing, and increase funding for the housing choice voucher program. And we will fight for
13 sufficient funding to end chronic homelessness.
15 We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership. We will lift up more
16 families and keep the housing market robust and inclusive by defending and strengthening the
17 Fair Housing Act. We will also support first time homebuyers, implement credit score reform to
18 make the credit industry work for borrowers and not just lenders, and prevent predatory lending
19 by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). And we will help underwater
20 homeowners by expanding foreclosure mitigation counseling.
22 Social Security
23 Democrats are proud to be the party that created Social Security, the most successful government
24 program in our nation's history. We will fight every effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social
25 Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age or to diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-
26 living adjustments. Democrats will expand Social Security so that every American can retire
27 with dignity and respect, including women who are shortchanged by the current system because
28 they are widowed or took time out of the workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or
29 ailing family members. And we will make sure Social Security's guaranteed benefits continue
30 for generations to come by asking those at the top to pay more, and will achieve this goal by
31 taxing some of the income of people above $250,000. The Democratic Party is also committed to
32 providing all necessary financial support for the Social Security Administration to provide timely
33 benefits and high-quality service for those it serves. Our plan contrasts starkly with Donald
34 Trump. He has referred to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" and has called for privatizing it as
35 well as increasing the retirement age.
37 Retirement Security
38 Democrats believe it should be easier for Americans to save for retirement and prepare for
39 unforeseen risks and expenses. We will defend the right of workers to collect their defined
40 benefit pensions and make sure workers get priority and protection when pension plans are in
41 distress. Democrats will also fight to protect the earned pension benefits of Americans in
42 multiemployer pension plans. And we will fight against any attempt by Republicans in Congress
43 or on Wall Street to roll back the Conflict of Interest Rule, which requires that retirement
44 advisors put the best interests of their clients above their own financial gain.
1 Postal Service
2 The United States Postal Service is a national treasure. That is why Democrats embrace a
3 vibrant, public Postal Service that offers universal service, and reject any effort to privatize or
4 marginalize it. We are committed to eliminating the unsustainable mandate to "pre-fund"
5 retiree health costs. And we will work to restore service to appropriate levels including overnight
6 delivery of first-class mail and periodicals within the same metropolitan area, maintaining six-
7 day and door-to-door delivery, and appointing members to the Board of Governors and the
8 Postal Regulatory Commission who champion a strong public Postal Service. Democrats also
9 advocate for expanding postal services. This includes offering basic financial services such as
10 paycheck cashing. It also includes promoting vote-by-mail to increase voter participation and to
11 help address the scourge of voter suppression.
14 Create Good-Paying Jobs
16 Democrats know nothing is more important than creating good-paying jobs that can support a
17 middle-class life and provide workers with dignity and a sense of purpose -- from nurses,
18 firefighters, and teachers, to construction workers, factory workers, and small business owners.
21 If we are serious about reversing the decline of the middle class, we need a major federal jobs
22 program that puts millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs in both the public
23 and private sectors. We will make the most ambitious investment in American infrastructure
24 since President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system. We will put Americans to
25 work updating and expanding our roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger and
26 freight rail lines. We will build 21st century energy and water systems, modernize our schools,
27 and continue to support the expansion of high-speed broadband networks. We will protect
28 communities from the impact of climate change by investing in green and resilient infrastructure.
29 These investments will create secure, good-paying middle-class jobs today and will substantially
30 increase demand for American- made steel and other products manufactured in the United States.
31 And by boosting economic growth in a fair and equitable way, and strengthening our long-term
32 competitiveness, these investments will create many more jobs in the years to come.
34 Democrats will also create an independent, national infrastructure bank that will support critical
35 infrastructure improvements. The bank will provide loans and other financial assistance for
36 investments in energy, water, broadband, transportation, and multi- modal infrastructure projects.
39 Democrats believe one of the best ways to innovate, prosper, and create good-paying jobs is to
40 make more in America, which is why we firmly support American manufacturing with a "Make
41 it in America" plan. We must revitalize hard-hit manufacturing communities, create thriving
42 hubs of manufacturing and innovation throughout the country, and claw back tax breaks for
43 companies that ship jobs overseas, using the proceeds to reinvest in communities and workers at
44 home instead. Donald Trump may talk tough, but he has consistently outsourced his own
45 products. American workers deserve better.
1 Clean Energy Jobs
2 We must help American workers and businesses compete for jobs and investments in global
3 clean energy, high-tech products, internet technology products, and advanced manufacturing and
4 vehicles. And we must make American manufacturing more internationally competitive by
5 making it the greenest and most efficient in the world, including by investing in industrial energy
8 Research, Science, and Technology
9 Democrats support ambitious public and private investments in science, technology, and
10 research. We will nurture the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs,
11 especially women and people of color, to make sure America continues to out-compete and out-
12 innovate the rest of the world with a bold innovation agenda. Democrats also believe we must
13 harness the promise of technological innovation to promote community participation and
14 enhance opportunities to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
15 And we will encourage technology transfer, entrepreneurship, and small business creation
16 throughout the country and in all types of innovation sectors.
18 Democrats support a free and open internet at home and abroad, and will oppose any effort by
19 Republicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications
20 Commission enacted last year.
22 Democrats value American innovation and believe it is one of our country's great strengths. We
23 will protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators, and inventors at home and abroad.
24 The entire nation prospers when we promote the unique and original artistic and cultural
25 contributions of the women and men who create and preserve our nation's heritage.
27 Democrats will fight against unfair theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. We will also
28 increase access to global markets for American intellectual property and other digital trade by
29 opposing quotas, discriminatory measures, and data localization requirements.
31 Small Business
32 While Donald Trump has often stiffed small businesses--nearly bankrupting some--with his
33 deceptive and reckless corporate practices, the Democratic Party will make it easier to start and
34 grow a small business in America. We will open up access to credit because we know that small
35 businesses are some of the best job creators in our country. By supporting small businesses, we
36 can grow jobs faster in America. Democrats also realize the critical importance of small business
37 to women, people of color, tribes, and rural America and will work to nurture entrepreneurship.
39 Youth Jobs
40 Democrats will create millions of jobs for our young people. Roughly one in ten Americans
41 between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average. The
42 unemployment rates for African American, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI),
43 and American Indian teenagers are far too high. That is why Democrats will provide direct
44 federal funding for a range of local programs that will put young people to work and create new
45 career opportunities.
2 Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality
4 Democrats believe that today's extreme levels of income and wealth inequality are bad for
5 Americans and bad for our economy. Our economy depends on a thriving middle class to drive
6 economic growth, yet Americans in the top one-tenth of one percent of income levels now own
7 almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans combined. And the 20 wealthiest
8 people in this country now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people.
10 Fixing our Financial System
11 To restore economic fairness, Democrats will fight against the greed and recklessness of Wall
12 Street. We must make Wall Street work for the job-creating, productive economy--including by
13 making loans more affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses. Wall Street cannot be an
14 island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments and making huge profits, all
15 the while thinking that taxpayers will be there to bail them out again. We must tackle dangerous
16 risks in big banks and elsewhere in the financial system. We need to prohibit Wall Street from
17 picking and choosing which credit agency will rate their products and from imposing excessive
18 fees on consumers. And we must hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they
19 break the law. Democrats believe that no bank can be too big to fail and no executive too
20 powerful to jail. "Equal Justice Under Law" will not just be words engraved on the entrance of
21 the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.
23 We will also vigorously implement, enforce, and build on the landmark Dodd-Frank financial
24 reform law, and we will stop dead in its tracks every Republican effort to weaken it. We will
25 continue to protect consumers and defend the CFPB from Republican attacks. Our goal must be
26 to create a financial system and an economy that works for all Americans, not just a handful of
27 billionaires. We support a financial transactions tax on Wall Street to curb excessive speculation
28 and high-frequency trading, which has threatened financial markets. We acknowledge that there
29 is room within our party for a diversity of views on a broader financial transactions tax.
31 Democrats will not hesitate to use and expand existing authorities as well as empower regulators
32 to downsize or break apart financial institutions when necessary to protect the public and
33 safeguard financial stability, including new authorities to go after risky shadow-banking
34 activities. Banks should not be able to gamble with taxpayers' deposits or pose an undue risk to
35 Main Street. Democrats support a variety of ways to stop this from happening, including an
36 updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall and breaking up too-big-to-fail financial
37 institutions that pose a systemic risk to the stability of our economy.
39 We believe that personnel is policy. We will nominate and appoint regulators and officials who
40 are not beholden to the industries they regulate--people with a track record of standing up to
41 power and safeguarding the public trust. We will crack down on the revolving door between
42 the private sector--particularly Wall Street--and the federal government. We will ban golden
43 parachutes for those taking government jobs. We will limit conflicts of interest by requiring bank
44 and corporate regulators to recuse themselves from official work on particular matters that would
45 directly benefit their former employers. And we will bar financial service regulators from
46 lobbying their former colleagues for at least two years.
2 We will reform the Federal Reserve so that it is more representative of America as a whole, and
3 we will fight to make sure that executives at financial institutions are not allowed to serve on the
4 boards of regional Federal Reserve banks or select its members.
6 At a time when many of the largest banks have shunned communities across America,
7 Democrats believe that we need to give Americans affordable banking options, including by
8 empowering the United States Postal Service to facilitate the delivery of basic banking services.
10 Stopping Corporate Concentration
11 Large corporations have concentrated their control over markets to a greater degree than
12 Americans have seen in decades--further evidence that the deck is stacked for those at the top.
13 Democrats will take steps to stop corporate concentration in any industry where it's unfairly
14 limiting competition. We will make competition policy and antitrust stronger and more
15 responsive to our economy today, enhance the antitrust enforcement arms of the Department of
16 Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and encourage other agencies to police anti-
17 competitive practices in their areas of jurisdiction.
20 At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, we believe the wealthiest Americans and
21 largest corporations must pay their fair share in taxes. Democrats will claw back tax breaks for
22 companies that ship jobs overseas, eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies, and crack
23 down on inversions and other methods companies use to dodge their tax responsibilities. We will
24 make sure that our tax code rewards businesses that make investments and provide good-paying
25 jobs here in the United States, not businesses that walk out on America. We will end deferrals so
26 that American corporations pay U.S. taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer
27 escape paying their fair share of United States taxes by stashing profits abroad. We will then use
28 the revenue raised from fixing the corporate tax code to reinvest in rebuilding America and
29 ensuring economic growth that will lead to millions of good-paying jobs.
31 We will ask those at the top to contribute to our country's future by establishing a
32 multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. In addition, we
33 will shut down the "private tax system" for those at the top, immediate ly close egregious
34 loopholes like those enjoyed by hedge fund managers, restore fair taxation on multimillion dollar
35 estates, and ensure millionaires can no longer pay a lower rate than their secretaries. At a time
36 when we have seen near-record corporate profits, slow wage growth, and rising costs, we need to
37 offer tax relief to middle-class families--not those at the top. We will offer tax relief to hard
38 working, middle-class families for the cost squeeze that they have faced for years from rising
39 health care, childcare, education, and other expenses. Donald Trump and the Republican Party
40 would do the opposite and provide trillions in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and
41 corporations at the expense of working families, seniors, and the health of our economy.
44 Democrats acknowledge that for millions of Americans, global trade has failed to live up to its
45 promise--with too many countries breaking the rules and too many corporations outsourcing
46 jobs at the expense of American workers and communities.
2 Over the past three decades, America has signed too many trade deals that have not lived up to
3 the hype. Trade deals often boosted the profits of large corporations, while at the same time
4 failing to protect workers' rights, labor standards, the environment, and public health. We need
5 to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies that support jobs in America. That is
6 why Democrats believe we should review agreements negotiated years ago to update them to
7 reflect these principles. Any future trade agreements must make sure that our trading partners
8 cannot undercut American workers by taking shortcuts on labor policy or the environment.
10 Democrats will fight to significantly strengthen enforcement of existing trade rules and the tools
11 we have, including by holding countries accountable on currency manipulation and significantly
12 expanding enforcement resources. China and other countries are using unfair trade practices to
13 tilt the playing field against American workers and businesses. When they dump cheap products
14 into our markets, subsidize state-owned enterprises, devalue currencies, and discriminate against
15 American companies, our middle class pays the price. That has to stop. Democrats will use all
16 our trade enforcement tools to hold China and other trading partners accountable--because no
17 country should be able to manipulate their currencies to gain a competitive advantage.
19 While we believe that openness to the world economy is an important source of American
20 leadership and dynamism, we will only approve new trade agreements if they support American
21 jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security. We believe any new trade agreements must
22 include strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards in their core text. Trade
23 agreements should crack down on the unfair and illegal subsidies other countries grant their
24 businesses at the expense of ours. It should promote innovation of and access to lifesaving
25 medicines. And it should protect a free and open internet. We should never enter into a trade
26 agreement that prevents our government, or other governments, from putting in place rules that
27 protect the environment, food safety, or the health of American citizens or others around the
30 These are the standards Democrats believe must be applied to any future trade agreements. On
31 the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), there are a diversity of views in the party. Many Democrats
32 are on record stating that the agreement does not meet the standards set out in this platform;
33 other Democrats have expressed support for the agreement. But all Democrats believe that any
34 trade agreement must protect workers and the environment and not undermine access to
35 critically-needed prescription drugs.
38 Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Create Ladders of Opportunity
40 Democrats believe that everyone in America deserves the chance to live up to their God-given
41 potential. We will work to break down barriers standing in the way of Americans and replace
42 them with ladders of opportunity.
44 Racial Justice
45 Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society. We will challenge
46 and dismantle the structures that define lasting racial, economic, political, and social inequity.
1 Democrats will promote racial justice through fair, just, and equitable governing of all
2 institutions serving the public and in the formation of public policy. We will push for a societal
3 transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and there is no place for racism in our
6 Racial Wealth Gap
7 America's economic inequality problem is even more pronounced when it comes to racial and
8 ethnic disparities in wealth and income. It is unacceptable that the median wealth for white
9 Americans is roughly ten times that of African Americans and Latino Americans.
10 These disparities are just as stark for American Indians and certain Asian American subgroups.
11 The racial and ethnic gap in wealth and income has been created by historical and contemporary
12 policies and practices that discriminate against people of color and constrained their ability to
13 earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans.
15 This economic disadvantage has accumulated over time and is made worse by ongoing
16 discrimination. For example, as a result of the housing crisis and the great recession, African
17 Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans lost more than half of their net worth. And these
18 losses were compounded by the fact that during the subprime mortgage crisis lenders targeted
19 communities of color for faulty mortgages.
21 Democrats believe it is long past time to close this racial wealth gap by eliminating systemic
22 barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups and improving opportunities for
23 people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth.
25 Criminal Justice
26 Democrats are committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending mass
27 incarceration. Something is profoundly wrong when a quarter of the world's prison population is
28 in the United States, even though we have less than five percent of the world's people. We will
29 reform mandatory minimum sentences and close private prisons and detention centers. We will
30 rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Across the
31 country, there are many police officers who inspire trust and confidence, deploying creative and
32 effective strategies, and demonstrating that it is possible to reduce crime without relying on
33 unnecessary force. We should learn from those examples and build on what works.
35 We will invest in training for officers on issues such as de-escalation and the appropriate use of
36 force, and encourage better police-community relations and the use of smart strategies like police
37 body cameras. We will end racial profiling that targets individuals, based solely on race, religion,
38 ethnicity, and national origin, which is un-American and counterproductive. We support states
39 and localities that choose to make the investigations and prosecutions of police-involved
40 shootings more independent and transparent, including through reforming the grand jury process.
41 And we will explore reforms of the civil asset forfeiture system. Instead of investing in more
42 jails and incarceration, we need to provide greater investment in jobs and education, and end to
43 the school-to-prison pipeline. We will remove barriers to help formerly incarcerated individuals
44 successfully re-enter society by banning the box, expanding reentry programs, and restoring
45 voting rights. We will prioritize treatment over incarceration in tackling addiction and substance
46 use disorder. This means significantly expanding treatment in this country for people struggling
47 with addiction and mental health issues.
2 We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and
3 those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies
4 that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal
5 marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws
6 have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among
7 African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites, despite similar usage rates.
9 We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of
10 punishment. It has no place in the United States of America.
12 We have been inspired by the movements for criminal justice that directly address the
13 discriminatory treatment of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,
14 and American Indians to rebuild trust in the criminal justice system.
17 People should come to the United States with visas and not through smugglers. That is why the
18 Democratic Party supports legal immigration, within reasonable limits, that meets the needs of
19 families, communities, and the economy as well as maintains the United States' role as a beacon
20 of hope for people seeking safety, freedom, and security. Immigration is not a problem to be
21 solved, it is a defining aspect of the American character and history. We must defend against
22 those who would exclude or eliminate legal immigration avenues and denigrate immigrants.
23 Those immigrants already living in the United States, who are assets to their communities and
24 contribute so much to our country, should be incorporated completely into our society through
25 legal processes that give meaning to our national motto: E Pluribus Unum.
27 Democrats believe we need to urgently fix our broken immigration system--which tears families
28 apart and keeps workers in the shadows--and create a path to citizenship for law-abiding
29 families who are here, making a better life for their families and contributing to their
30 communities and our country.
31 While we continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, we will defend and
32 implement President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for
33 Parents of Americans executive actions to help DREAMers, parents of citizens, and lawful
34 permanent residents avoid deportation. We will build on these actions to provide relief for others,
35 such as parents of DREAMers. We will invest in immigrant integration services, expand access
36 to English language education, and promote naturalization to help the millions of people who are
37 eligible for citizenship take that last step.
38 We believe immigration enforcement must be humane and consistent with our values. We should
39 prioritize those who pose a threat to the safety of our communities, not hardworking families
40 who are contributing to their communities. We will end raids and roundups of children and
41 families, which unnecessarily sow fear in immigrant communities. We should ensure due process
42 for those fleeing violence in Central America and work with our regional partners to address
43 the root causes of violence. We must take particular care with children, which is why we should
44 guarantee government-funded counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration courts.
1 We will work with Congress to end the lengthy, forced, and prolonged expulsion from the
2 country that many immigrants endure when trying to adjust their status by rescinding the three-
3 year, ten-year and permanent bars. We will fight to end federal, state, and municipal contracts
4 with for-profit private prisons and private detention centers. In order to end family detention, we
5 will ensure humane alternatives for those who pose no public threat. We should consider all
6 available means of protecting these individuals from the threats to their lives and safety--
7 including strengthening in-country and third-country processing, expanding the use of
8 humanitarian parole, and granting Temporary Protected Status.
9 We reject attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the
10 United States. It is un-American and runs counter to the founding principles of this country.
11 Finally, Democrats will not stand for the divisive and derogatory language of Donald Trump. His
12 offensive comments about immigrants and other communities have no place in our society. This
13 kind of rhetoric must be rejected.
14 Civil Rights
15 Democrats will always fight to end discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin,
16 language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. We need to promote
17 civility and speak out against bigotry and other forms of intolerance that have entered our
18 political discourse. It is unacceptable to target, defame, or exclude anyone because of their
19 religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation. While freedom of expression is a
20 fundamental constitutional principle, we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate
21 for violence. We condemn Donald Trump's demonization of prisoners of war, women, Muslims,
22 Mexicans, and people with disabilities; his playing coy with white supremacists; and the climate
23 of bigotry he is creating. We also condemn the recent uptick in other forms of hate speech, like
24 anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
26 LGBT Rights
27 Democrats applaud last year's decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people--
28 like every other American--have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much
29 work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a
30 transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. That is
31 unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal non-
32 discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to
33 discriminate against LGBT individuals. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve
34 school climates, and we will protect transgender individuals from violence. We will promote
35 LGBT human rights and ensure America's foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around
36 the world.
38 Disability Rights
39 No one should face discrimination based on disability status. Democrats are committed to
40 realizing the full promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will improve access to
41 meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities. We will provide tax relief to
42 help the millions of families caring for aging relatives or family members with chronic illnesses
1 or disabilities. And we will continue to fight for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of
2 Persons with Disabilities.
4 Faith and Service
5 Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and
6 richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires.
7 We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations
8 and finding ways to support that work where possible.
10 We believe in the power of national service, with people of all backgrounds coming together in
11 common purpose to serve their communities and country.
13 Agricultural Communities
14 We will work to build a stronger rural and agricultural economy. Democrats will spur investment
15 to power the rural economy and increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and
16 ranchers. We will expand local food markets and regional food systems and provide a focused
17 safety net to assist family operations that need support during challenging times. And we will
18 promote clean energy leadership and collaborative stewardship of our natural resources, while
19 expanding opportunities in rural communities across America.
21 Poverty / Communities Left Behind
22 We reaffirm our commitment to eliminate poverty. Democrats will develop a national strategy to
23 combat poverty, coordinated across all levels of government. We will direct more federal
24 resources to lifting up communities that have been left out and left behind, such as the 10-20-30
25 model, which directs 10 percent of program funds to communities where at least 20 percent of
26 the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more. We will also focus on
27 communities that suffer from persistent poverty, including empowerment zones and areas that
28 targeted government data indicate are in persistent poverty.
30 Democrats will also protect and expand proven programs, including robust support for nutrition
31 assistance to stop people from going hungry as well as programs that help people grow their
32 skills and provide training opportunities. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program should
33 be expanded for low-wage workers not raising children, including extending the credit to young
34 workers starting at age 21. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) should be indexed to inflation to stem
35 the erosion of the credit.
37 Democrats will also do more to invest in our most distressed communities--from our cities to
38 coal country to the Rust Belt. We will create good-paying jobs and enhance opportunities by
39 investing in small business, youth employment, and reentry programs for formerly incarcerated
40 people. We will improve safety by repairing crumbling infrastructure in communities that need it
41 most as well as on tribal lands. And we will make investments in housing near good jobs and
42 good schools.
44 Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations
45 We have a profound moral and legal responsibility to the Indian tribes--throughout our history
46 we have failed to live up to that trust. That is why the Democratic Party will uphold, honor, and
1 strengthen to the highest extent possible the United States' fundamental trust and responsibility,
2 grounded in the Constitution and treaties, to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
4 We recognize the inherent sovereignty of Indian nations and will work to enact laws and policies
5 that strengthen, not reduce, the powers of Indian nations over people who interact with them in
6 Indian Country. We will work on a government-to-government basis to continue to empower
7 Indian nations, and to provide sufficient and meaningful resources to Indian tribes to increase
8 economic development and self-determination. As Democrats, we will constantly seek to ensure
9 that American Indian communities are safe, healthy, nurturing, educated, innovative, and
12 We will restore tribal lands by continuing to streamline the land-into-trust process and recognize
13 the right of all tribes to protect their lands, air, and waters. We will continue to work on a
14 government-to- government basis to address chronic underfunding, and provide meaningful
15 resources and financial investments that will empower American Indian tribes through increased
16 economic development and infrastructure improvements on tribal lands.
18 We will strengthen the operation of tribal housing programs, and fully fund the Indian Housing
19 Block Grant Program. We will increase affordable and safe housing and fight to significantly
20 reduce homelessness on and off Indian reservations, especially among Native youth and
23 We will invest in Indian education from early childhood through higher education. We will fully
24 fund the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and strengthen self-determination to enable
25 culturally-tailored learning unique to each tribal nation and help to retain qualified teachers for
26 Native learners. Democrats will continue to support President Obama's Generation Indigenous
27 program that has made important strides in promoting new investments and increased
28 engagement with American Indian youth, including by continuing efforts to reform the BIE to
29 provide students attending BIE-funded schools with a world-class culturally-based
30 education. We also support the elimination of school and sports mascots that reflect outdated
31 stereotypes and that perpetuate racism.
33 We will strengthen tribal sovereignty and tribal jurisdiction by enacting laws and policies that
34 enhance the ability of Indian nations to govern their territories, keep their communities safe, and
35 prosecute crimes committed on tribal lands. And we will back these efforts through robust
36 investments in effective tribal law enforcement and tribal courts.
38 We believe that health care is a core federal trust responsibility, and we support a robust
39 expansion of the health care provided by the Indian Health Service. We will work to fully fund
40 the Indian Health Service, Tribal, Urban Indian health care system and to ensure that Americans
41 Indian have adequate, safe, and affordable access to primary care providers, including oral
42 health, mental health practitioners, and substance abuse treatment options.
44 We acknowledge the past injustices and the misguided, harmful federal and state policies and
45 actions based on outdated and discredited values and beliefs that resulted in the destruction of the
46 Indian nations' economies, social, and religious systems, the taking of their lands, and the
1 creation of intergenerational trauma that exists to this day. We believe that we have a moral and
2 profound duty to honor, respect, and uphold our sacred obligation to the Indian nations and
3 Indian peoples.
5 We will protect tribal sacred sites and empower tribes to maintain and pass on traditional
6 religious beliefs, languages and social practices without fear of discrimination or suppression.
7 We also believe that Native children are the future of tribal nations and that the Indian Child
8 Welfare Act is critical to the survival of Indian culture, government, and communities and must
9 be enforced with the original intent of the law.
11 We will strengthen Indian voting rights, including improved access to polling locations. We will
12 build on federal programs to reduce the disproportionate incarceration of American Indian and
13 Alaska Native men and women, reduce disparity in prison sentencing, protect the religious rights
14 of Native prisoners, reduce barriers to prisoner reentry, and offer access to housing and
15 employment upon reentry.
17 We are committed to principles of environmental justice in Indian Country and we recognize that
18 nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital
19 cycles. We call for a climate change policy that protects tribal resources, protects tribal health,
20 and provides accountability through accessible, culturally appropriate participation and strong
21 enforcement. Our climate change policy will cut carbon emission, address poverty, invest
22 in disadvantaged communities, and improve both air quality and public health. We support the
23 tribal nations to develop wind, solar and other clean energy jobs.
25 Democrats also support efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians.
27 People of the Territories
28 We support full self-government and self-determination for the people of the territories of Guam,
29 American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
30 Islands and their right to decide their future status.
32 Puerto Rico
33 And we are committed to addressing the extraordinary challenges faced by our fellow citizens in
34 Puerto Rico. Many stem from the fundamental question of Puerto Rico's political status.
35 Democrats believe that the people of Puerto Rico should determine their ultimate political status
36 from permanent options that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and policies of the
37 United States. Democrats are committed to promoting economic opportunity and good-paying
38 jobs for the hardworking people of Puerto Rico. We also believe that Puerto Ricans must be
39 treated equally by Medicare, Medicaid, and by other benefits programs for families. All
40 American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of
41 the United States. Finally, we believe that Washington must respect Puerto Rico's local self-
42 government as Congress and the Executive Branch work to provide the necessary tools and aid
43 that Puerto Rico needs to restructure its debt so that it can get on a path towards stability and
44 prosperity, while maintaining its autonomy.
2 Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy
4 Voting Rights
5 The Democratic Party was founded on the promise of an expanded democracy. The right to vote
6 is at the heart of our national vision. It is a core principle of the Democratic Party to maximize
7 voter participation for all Americans. Our democracy suffers when nearly two thirds of our
8 citizens do not or cannot participate, as in the last midterm elections. Democrats believe we must
9 make it easier to vote not harder. We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.
10 We will bring our democracy into the 21st century by expanding early voting and vote-by-mail,
11 implementing universal automatic voter registration, same day voting, ending partisan and racial
12 gerrymandering, and making Election Day a national holiday. We will restore voting rights for
13 those who have served their sentences. And we will continue to fight against discriminatory
14 voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities,
15 people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.
17 Republicans have enacted various voter suppression tactics from Ohio to Florida, and while
18 some Federal Courts have found that these measures go too far, Democrats will continue to fight
19 these laws to preserve the fundamental right to vote. As Democrats, we support efforts to defeat
20 ill-motivated voter suppression tactics. We support Ohio's proposed Voters Bill of Rights
21 amendment, North Carolina's Moral Monday movement, and similar initiatives to permanently
22 safeguard this inalienable right.
24 Campaign Finance
25 Democrats believe we must fight to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in
26 the world: a government that represents the American people, not just a handful of powerful and
27 wealthy special interests. We will fight for real campaign finance reform now. Big money is
28 drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight
29 back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity.
31 Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decisions in
32 Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo. We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by
33 requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and
34 transparency--by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their
35 shareholders. We need to amplify the voices of the American people through a small donor
36 matching public financing system. We need to overhaul and strengthen the Federal Election
37 Commission so that there is real enforcement of campaign finance laws. And we need to fight to
38 eliminate super PACs and outside spending abuses.
40 Our vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regar