Democratic Party Platform – 2016 Draft (Part 6 of 6)

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

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A Leader in the World

Asia-Pacific

Ignoring for a moment that the platform calls India “an important Pacific power”–Geography Check: Google Maps has the minimum distance from India to the Pacific Ocean as about 750 miles–the focus of this section is on improving relations with India while getting China to play fairly. I do sense a disconnect between the standard–since Woodrow Wilson–party policy of self-determination and the mention of supporting the “One China” policy regarding Taiwan. I’m also not happy that they ignored the current problems with border disputes in the region.

Middle East

Most of this section talks about Israel, and the Democratic platform is solidly pro-Israel. I know, for many reasons, that this has to be the default U.S. position, but I would like to see at least some trivial pushback Israel’s role in the stalled negotiations with the Palestinians. (I am hopeful that Netanyahu’s recent meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister is a sign of long overdue process.) The main thing missing in the platform is a call for more direct U.S. involvement in negotiations.

Europe

Essentially, all this is a statement of how important NATO is to U.S. security. I think they really missed an opportunity to talk about fighting against growing sectarianism and xenophobia in many European countries.

Americas

Besides emphasizing the anti-Trump position of opposing the wall that will never work, the message here is pretty good. I think reestablishing relations with Cuba was the right thing to do and continuing to move forward on that front is important. Venezuela is paying the price for its policies, and there is nothing in the platform that indicates a willingness to help them recover, just a call for their government to respect human rights and democracy. I would like to see more emphasis on helping to improve the economies of the Americas through strategic investments and infrastructure improvements, as I feel this is one of the best ways to control illegal immigration: People won’t want to leave home if they can find good jobs.

Africa

I would like to see an effort for the U.S. to emulate some methods of Chinese aid to Africa–notably, adding more commercial development–while pushing back against Chinese aid that ignores environmental concerns. Overall, it would be best if we could find some middle ground between traditional Western aid and Chinese aid and cooperate while competing. As in the rest of the world, I think we should focus charitable assistance on making sure all girls have an opportunity for an education.

Global Economy and Institutions

“Stay the course,” while (correctly) slamming Trump.

I am not happy with the way global economic institutions–namely the World Bank and International Monetary Fund–handled Greece. Yes, Greece did a horrible job of managing its finances, but the World Bank and IMF made the problem worse by calling for cuts without calling for the right cuts. Greece needed to maintain spending on infrastructure and cut spending on entitlements, but due to public pressure they initially cut infrastructure spending. This made bad economic problems much worse.

The World Bank and IMF need to shift focus from money to the larger economy. It’s better for banks to fail than for businesses to fail because the transportation and communications infrastructures in a country fail.


The main message of the Democratic platform, in my opinion, is that we are on the right track, but we need some tweaks. There is a lack of innovation and creativity. There’s nothing here that would make me excited to become a Democrat.

Frankly, the platform is boring. There are places where some imagination would go a long way toward engaging voters. Targeting Wall Street directly would help. Recommending some changes to the education system–besides adopting the NEA talking points–might attract more voters. Heck, even pumping up the Peace Corps and Job Corps would show young voters that the party wants to create more opportunities for them while helping the world.

I hope Bernie Sanders can shake things up a bit before this platform is finalized, but I am not hopeful.

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