ORLANDO, Fla., July 8, 2016 — Bernie Sanders is making his final push to get his political agenda onto the Democratic platform heading into the convention. Democrats are meeting in Orlando this weekend to finalize their platform, and Sanders is trying to get some of his policies on the platform.
Sanders’ major policy issues include a $15 federal minimum wage, a ban on fracking and a carbon emissions tax. The platform committee is made up of 187 members who decide changes to the platform and will send the list of changes to be ratified at the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders fell out of contention for the Democratic nomination over a month ago, and many Democrats have been frustrated by his refusal to throw his support to Hillary Clinton by now. Sanders still receives Secret Service protection, even as some major allies have said it’s time to move on.
Sanders allies control 73 seats on the committee, while the Clinton campaign controls 105; nine are independent. The platform committee will finish its draft on Saturday. Sanders is expected to endorse Hillary Clinton next week, but his decision may hinge on the outcome of the meeting.
One major difference between the Clinton camp and the Sanders camp is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Sanders wants a promise that Democrats will block the TPP, a trade deal near and dear to President Obama’s heart, from receiving a vote in Congress. The TPP is one of the Obama administration’s biggest achievements, and the White House has been lobbying committee members against the Sanders amendment.
Top Democratic leaders believe it would be a disrespectful slap at Obama to include platform language attacking one of the president’s major policy goals. That goal was once shared by Clinton.
The committee’s final meeting will be the last chance for Sanders to have a real impact on the Democrats’ agenda heading into November. As Democratic front runner, Clinton will want to ensure that the committee moves the platform in a direction of her choosing, one that won’t damage her in the general election. She will leave nothing to chance.
In a major nod to Sanders, Clinton announced a plan to provide free tuition to in-state public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000. Sanders praised the plan, calling it a “very bold initiative.” It remains to be seen how much more he can get as he continues to refuse to acknowledge defeat or step aside to allow Clinton a straight path to the nomination.