With the Democratic National Convention less than 2 months away, Bernie Sanders has appointed 5 progressive activists and thinkers to the Democratic platform writing committee with the hopes of radically changing political debate within the party.
His five appointees include prominent scholar and activist Cornel West; Bill McKibbon, founder of 350.org; Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison; Native American activist Deborah Parker; and James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.
Ben Norton, a columnist for Salon.com, says their inclusion is a bellwether of future discussions in the Democratic party over issues like the Israel-Palestine Conflict and climate change.
“I think that it’s certainly possible that their voices may eventually be ignored,” says Norton, “but the fact that they’re already raising these issues is very important and unprecedented.”
Bill Curry, a former top aide to Bill Clinton who has helped write multiple Democratic Party platforms, says the committee’s work is often ignored. He is also concerned that the Democrat elites are using the appointees to attract supporter from Sander’s base, and are ready to ignore any of their grievances if Hillary Clinton clinches the nomination.
“So the question here is: how do you get a party not only that adopts a platform that reads well, but that takes that platform seriously?” says Curry. “You do that, I think, by building a strong, independent progressive political movement to hold both parties accountable and not simply act as a Political Action Committee.”
Six states, including California, will hold their primaries on June 7th. The results are expected to determine the Democratic nominee.
Bernie Sanders says the Democratic Party will have a contested national convention if he wins California by a large margin.