A band of progressive groups delivered thousands of signatures to Democratic leaders Tuesday urging them to change their recently unveiled economic platform.
Democratic leaders are looking to refocus their attention back on the working class. A Better Deal was unveiled by leadership as a new economic agenda focused primarily on wages, jobs, and training. Some influential progressives are urging party leaders to go further.
The People’s Platform was unveiled as a more progressive alternative to the agenda by party leaders. The alternative platform includes additional items like free Medicare for all and free college tuition. Supporters held a rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building before delivering 100,000 petitions.
“If Democrats want to win in 2018 and beyond, we need to start by supporting legislation that addresses the real issues facing everyday Americans,” the petition stated. “Sign our petition to show your support for a legislative agenda that puts people first.”
The rally ended with supporters delivering the petitions directly to the Democratic National Committee. The national party headquarters is located close to where the rally was held. Nina Turner, a state senator from Ohio, joined the rally in support of the alternative platform.
“Last summer we succeeded in getting the Democratic Party to adopt one of the most progressive platforms in history,” Turner said in a statement provided to InsideSources. “Now we are demanding their actions back up their words. Our People’s Platform is a platform for all people. All means all. From ensuring universal access to health care to raising minimum wage and protecting our environment, it’s time to take a bold and courageous stand to do what’s right for all Americans.”
Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, Democracy for America, Working Families Party, People for Bernie, Good Jobs Nation, and the Fight for $15 are among the groups that signed on. The National Nurses United also joined in despite most other major unions moving to back the agenda by party leaders.
The People’s Platform urges party leaders to support eight bills that are currently pending. The bills would expand Medicare to everyone, make college tuition free, make voting registration automatic, tax investment firms more, implement new environmental protections, and increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Democrats renewing their focus on the working class comes less than a year after losing the presidential election. President Donald Trump was able to win rural districts that have traditionally gone blue. His populist economic message resonated with workers who felt like they had been forgotten.
Workers have experienced flat wage growth and decreased opportunities in recent years. Workers are also increasingly seeing their skills becoming obsolete in the face of emerging technologies. Trump has looked towards trade and immigration as pathways to address the problem.