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Enhancing the Democratic Party’s Platform

TomPaine.com has posted an interesting Seattle Post-Intelligencer column by the former Washington State Political Director of the Kerry/Edwards campaign that suggests how the Dems can convert the often sterile Democratic Platform into a more effective tool for the party. As the author, Ari Melber, notes:

Usually, platforms are hurriedly written under election-year pressure and forgotten. Many are highly forgettable, and the 2004 Democratic Platform is no exception. It is vague and meek. (It was drafted by appointees selected by the Kerry campaign and former party chairman Terry McAuliffe.) …

Overall, the current platform is hazy on policy and weak on politics. It does not help candidates advance a unified message. It does not appeal to potential voters. It does not even represent Democratic activists.

Yet the Democrats have a lot more to offer. [DNC chair Howard] Dean should work with Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the aggressive and talented leaders of the Democrats' midterm campaign committees, to draft a bold, specific and politically appealing platform this year. This project could build genuine internal consensus, energize Democrats with a clear statement of principals and show voters in 2006 exactly what Democrats stand for -- just as the 10-point "Contract with America" did for Republicans in 1994.

There is little doubt that when the next elections roll around, Dean will have raised enough money and Democrats will have fulfilled their role as the opposition party. But if they don't work together now to outline a specific and unified Democratic agenda, they may remain the opposition party for a long time.

Definitely worth a read -- and giving serious consideration.