The process of hammering out a political party's platform has been likened to fantasy football because few ever bother to read it. Still, William Galston's analysis of the current Democratic platform is worth reading.
The platform, Galston, a Democrat, points out, reflects the base and the various interest groups who must be placated. This is the most left-leaning platform in Democratic history:
The party that Hillary Clinton will lead into battle this fall is not Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party. In important respects it is not even Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. It is a party animated by the frustrations of the Obama years and reshaped by waves of economic and social activism.
Not surprisingly, the document endorses a range of Hillary Clinton’s campaign proposals, including a massive infrastructure-investment program, new incentives for small business, expanded profit-sharing to increase workers’ earnings, a tax on high-frequency financial transactions, paid family and medical leave, an enhanced earned-income tax credit for young workers without children, access to computer-science education for all K-12 students, and measures to make college education more affordable.
Neither is it surprising that the draft incorporates some of Bernie Sanders’s key proposals—most notably, a $15 per hour minimum wage—and that it doesn’t take sides on issues that divided the party, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and a broad tax on financial transactions, where neither side would give way.
In other respects, however, the draft is truly remarkable—for example, its near-silence on economic growth. The uninformed reader would not learn that the pace of recovery from the Great Recession has been anemic by postwar standards, or that productivity gains have slowed to a crawl over the past five years, or that firms have been reluctant to invest in new productive capacity. Rather, the platform draft’s core narrative is inequality, the injustice that inequality entails, and the need to rectify it through redistribution.
Democrats devote no thought to growing an economy but instead focus on how to carve up a static economy, almost always with a sense of grievance.