Columns » Hightower

A platform for the people




What if a political party's platform actually stood for workaday people — rather than being a catalogue of far-out, right-wing nuttiness, or a batch of nothingness meant to preserve business as usual?

Lo and behold: This year's Democratic Party platform. It's not perfect, of course, but thanks to Bernie Sanders' revolutionary presidential campaign — this platform is actually rich in populist policies for The People. It puts Democrats on-record for such overdue national needs as:

• A nationwide jobs initiative to hire millions of Americans to rebuild and expand our crumbling infrastructure.

• A $15 national minimum wage.

• Breaking up too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks.

• Making public colleges tuition-free for working-class families.

• Expanding Social Security.

• Making it harder for CEOs to block workers from joining unions.

• Reestablishing postal banks in our public post offices to give low-income families affordable access to banking.

• Encouraging renewable energies to replace Big Oil's destructive fracking process.

• Expanding community health centers to reach 25 million more uninsured families, requiring Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to lower our drug prices and encouraging states to provide universal health care.

• Decriminalizing marijuana, eliminating for-profit prisons and detention centers and abolishing the death penalty.

• Eliminating SuperPacs, providing financing of elections and automatic voter registration and making election day a national holiday.

None of this is a done deal, but at least one party is committing to an agenda that grassroots progressives can organize around. So, let's get moving!

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit

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