It’s an oxymoron and hypocritical to claim to be a party of the people, yet refuse to legitimize and act on the sorts of issues that the Democratic Party claim matter most, ranging from issues like feminism to universal health care to championing the working class to caring about and protecting the environment. And if the Democratic Party wants to unite the party, as it so claims—namely integrating Sanders’ supporters with the presumptive nominee—they must act on the progressivism that they claim to stand for, or admit that they too are far more concerned with vested corporate interests and not those issues that matter to the vast majority of the American people.
The Republican Party has jeopardized itself, particularly with young people, with nearly 51% of Millennials identifying or leaning Democratic and only 35% identifying or leaning Republican, much of this to be accounted for by their far more conservative stances on social issues, on which younger generations are far more liberal. So even if the sociopolitical divide between Republicans and Democrats favors the younger generation to lean towards the left, the Democratic establishment fails its constituents by not being the people’s party that it claims to be. This was only cemented days ago as the Democratic Platform Committee met to write its official party platform for 2016, when many, if not most of the most progressive stances were swiftly shut down.
Some of these include the DNC Platform forgoing a ban on fracking, favoring the TPP, and allows for Israeli occupation. These are highly problematic, as the only major political party in the US to recognize climate change as a legitimate threat and largely due to human activity still concerns itself with turning profits by promoting hydraulic fracking, which has been evidenced to increase earthquakes, contaminate water, as well as increase air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. Why, then, would someone support this? The economic benefits of fracking which include substantially lower energy bills. But we must remember, that these sorts of benefits are not sustainable practices. And the 2013 fracking revolution in the US has thrown us to the forefront of being able to start profiting in other nations as well through this method of drilling out previously untapped natural gas, causing prices to drop 47% to pre-2013. That’s impressive. Yet it’s not sustainable. Instead of investing our efforts in renewable and/or sustainable practices and start a green technology in the US, we have instead opted towards a temporarily fruitful practice that will turn a profit, even in the face of unprecedented evidence regarding the dangers of climate change and our impact on the environment.
The DNC has rejected the $15 minimum wage, which effectively shuts the door on those groups—women, the working class, people of color, trans individuals—who have be most systematically disadvantaged for years. Despite both Democratic candidates, Sanders and Clinton, rejecting the TPP—one much later than the other—there is still a strong push for this large trade agreement that would ultimately force American workers to compete with people working on starvation wages across the world.
The issue with the Democratic Party is they are comfortable with the status quo. They can now openly support LGBTQ+ rights, they can support a woman’s right to choose, they can support gun control. What they cannot support is what might hurt their pockets. The Democratic Party must understand that which is best for the American people: a living wage, a protected environment, encouraging education, supporting the working class, and promoting humanitarian policies; yet time and time again, the Democratic establishment fails to provide solutions that will actually benefit their constituents, calling into question progressives’ and Millennials’ trust in the party with which that they generally affiliate.
But instead of falling into cynicism about the hopelessness of political change, young people must become active, become the change they want to see in the world, and reenergize the system by bringing to it what it needs: good people who are willing to stand up for other people to create a party that might be a true democratic party of the people, by the people, and for the people.
This article was written by Amar Ojha, founder and writer at dusk magazine.