2018: Democrats Desperately Need a New Convention and Platform

Hubris — the fatal flaw of many a Greek tragic hero — seems to afflict the Democratic leadership. After yesterday’s House vote on the American Healthcare Act, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the party would would relentlessly push the line that GOP Congressmen voted to take away Americans’ insurance. Legions of rank and file members seemed to agree that GOP votes on this bill will surely doom their reelection bids in 2018, chanting, “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye.”

But the idea that this vote alone will deliver dozens of seats to Democrats with little effort seems, quite frankly, absurd. From the start this is a monumental uphill effort. Republicans have spent the past decade chipping away at voting rights with aggressive ID laws and have systematically engineered districts — largely along racial lines — to favor their candidates. Such efforts will likely be redoubled now that the Justice Department and White House are on their side.

To win in this hostile environment the Democrats cannot rest on their laurels, embracing the status quo. They need to convince voters not only that GOP policies are destructive, but that the Democrats have a bold new direction to solve the pressing issues facing everyday Americans. The only way to show that the party is committed to transforming from the bastion elitism that lost the 2016 election to a party dedicated to the needs of the 99% is to formally craft a new progressive platform on the national stage.

Democrats must take the unprecedented step of holding a convention outside of a presidential election. This year democratically chosen delegates from communities across the country should come together work on a new direction. This is the only way to challenge party leadership’s rejection of measures, like single payer healthcare or a living wage, that transform the lives of Americans.

Following the example set by Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign, we cannot stand idly by while party leaders squander this opportunity to fight the tyranny of the corrupt capitalist class. The Democrats must become a party of mass social movement if they want to stay relevant as a force positioned against the unabashed racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism of the GOP. And only by large scale consensus and collaboration with grassroots groups can this be achieved.

If you agree, join me in calling for a new Democratic Convention where the people will set a new course.