A Hard Look at Current Realities and Soaring Call to Restore Our Nation’s Soul
As Democrats prepare to open the 2020 Democratic National Convention this coming Monday, August 17, the harsh realities of America’s state of affairs must inspire bold, creative solutions to the nation’s many problems. The preamble to our draft 2020 platform lays out the hard work ahead to recover America’s soul. Here is a summary:
Character is on the ballot in this election. Not only the character of our President, but more than that, the character of our democracy, our society, and our leadership in the world.
The challenges before us—the worst public health crisis in a century, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the worst period of global upheaval in a generation, intolerable racial injustice —will test America’s character like never before.
The bill has come due on the Trump Administration’s hollowing out of our public institutions: the sidelining of experts, rejection of science, underinvestment in research, and gross corruption and abuses of power. President Trump’s dereliction of duty has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, the loss of tens of millions of American jobs, and lasting harm to our children’s education and future.
And it has revealed, at tragic economic and human cost, the emptiness of the Republican Party’s “America First” foreign policy. Under Trump, America stands alone. Friends and foes alike neither admire nor fear Trump’s leadership—they dismiss and ridicule it. Trump’s Republican Party has made America small when we are a people called upon to do the greatest things.
Democrats will fight to unite and heal our country. We must right the wrongs and systemic injustices in our democracy, throw open the doors of opportunity for all Americans, and reinvent our institutions at home and our leadership abroad. We do not aspire to return our country to where we were four years ago. We must be bolder and more ambitious.
We must once again stop another Republican recession from becoming a second Great Depression. Trump and the Republican Party have rigged the economy in favor of the wealthiest few and the biggest corporations, and left working families and small businesses out in the cold. Democrats will forge a new social and economic contract with the American people—one that creates millions of new jobs and promotes shared prosperity, closes racial income and wealth gaps, guarantees the right to join or form a union, raises wages, ensures equal pay for women and paid family leave for all, and safeguards a secure and dignified retirement.
We must guarantee health care as a right for every American. We will not rest until every American can access quality health care and affordable prescription drugs.
We must strengthen our democracy, not distort and debase it. We will restore the full power of the Voting Rights Act and stamp out voter suppression. We will curb the corrupting influence of money in politics, and protect the integrity of our elections from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
And we will end the war on government that has politicized our institutions, denigrated public service, and left the American people on their own instead of working for the collective good.
We must heal our nation’s deepest wounds. Democrats will root out structural and systemic racism in our economy and society, and reform our criminal justice system from top to bottom, because we believe Black lives matter. We will ensure that our nation continues to prize diversity and compassion, and welcomes those who yearn to participate in our democracy by creating a humane, 21st century immigration system that benefits all Americans.
We will give hate no safe harbor. We will never amplify or legitimize the voices of bigotry, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or white supremacy. We commit to recognizing the equal rights of all.
We must lead the world in responding to the climate crisis. Democrats will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and go further, building a thriving, equitable, and globally competitive clean energy economy that puts workers and communities first, and leaves no one behind.
We must provide a world-class education in every ZIP code, to every child, because education is a critical public good. Democrats believe in universal early childhood education, and affordable, high-quality childcare. We will make college affordable again, and give Americans relief from crushing student debt.
We commit to a foreign policy that accelerates our domestic renewal, not undermines it. We will focus on what matters most to Americans—more and better jobs, greater security, a cleaner environment, and a more inclusive and resilient society. Democrats will lead with diplomacy as our tool of first resort, and mobilize our allies and partners to meet the tests none of us can meet on our own. We will stand up to the forces of authoritarianism, not aid and abet their rise, and speak and act with clarity and purpose on behalf of human rights.
Above all, Democrats still believe in America —its purpose, principles, and promise. Four more years of the crass, craven, corrupt leadership we have seen from Trump and the Republican Party will damage our character and country beyond repair.
We pray, as Langston Hughes did, “O, let America be America again.” Democrats call on all Americans to come together and seize this last, best chance to restore the soul of our nation—and vote this November to ensure our greatest days are still to come.