On the eve of their national convention, the Establishment wing of the Democratic Party claims that the party is uniting. At the same time, the progressive Sanders wing couldn’t disagree more.
First, the Sanders people are very disappointed, if not angry and bitter, with Sec. Clinton’s choice of centrist Sen. Tim Kaine for VP. On top of that, the recent release by Wikileaks of DNC emails strongly supports the claim that the DNC rigged the primary process in favor of Clinton. Progressives are in no mood to unite with a party they see as unethical and undemocratic as well as tied to Big Money and corporate America.
Without a united party, the Democrats will have a more difficult time getting out the vote in November. And, without a large voter turnout, Clinton could very well lose the election. What can she do?
As I wrote in a blog earlier this month, the one person who can unite the party is President Obama. The majority of the Democratic Party, including Clinton, Sanders and 83% of Congressional Democrats who voted against fast-tracking the TPP, oppose this trade agreement in its present form. The main reason the platform committee failed to include a definitive statement against the TPP in the party platform appears to be their desire not to embarrass Obama, who champions the trade pact.
As Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton also strongly favored the TPP. However, in large part due to the Sanders’s campaign, she has recently reversed her position, as has her VP choice, Sen. Kaine. Sec. Clinton now understand how much the TPP would adversely affect American workers and the American middle class. As Sen. Sanders explained, the TPP would “boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system.”
Therefore, the soon-to-be anointed new leader of her party, Sec. Clinton, along with Sen. Kaine, needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with the president. She and Kaine must make perfectly clear to him why they have changed their minds about the TPP, and why he must as well. And, they must do it immediately. They have to convince Obama that for the good of the party, the best outcome in the election and the wellbeing of the nation, he has to publicly withdraw his support for this terrible trade agreement at their convention. Then, together they can all pledge that the TPP will not be approved in a lame duck session of Congress after the election.
If Clinton can accomplish this in the next few days, the Democratic Party could come together in Philly. It would not be a perfect union by any means. The Establishment wing of the party would still have work to do to gain the enthusiastic support of many progressives. But it would be a big step forward. Clinton, Kaine and the party would be demonstrating that they do, in fact, stand with the party’s progressive base, the working people of America, against Big Money and corporate America.