This year, the MDP platform deserves progressive votes.

Voting is open to members of the Michigan Democratic Party, who have been Party members for 30 days, from now until Saturday evening at 8:00 pm. Click here if you need instructions on how to get credentialed and vote – credentialling closes at noon tomorrow (Saturday 29 August).

For many years, the MDP platform did not deserve progressive votes. It was riddled with euphemisms like “affordable” healthcare, childcare, or education, and “encouraging” reforms rather than asserting their necessity or demanding change. The platform has often been, in large part, milquetoast pleading like out of a Dicken’s novel, “please, Sir, a little more…”

Below are some excerpts from the platform this year, in the order they appear (emphasis added in bold). The Platform and Resolutions Committee made many changes, some large, some small, all of them well in the direction of a more progressive, fair, inclusive, transparent, and democratic agenda.

This platform expresses our dedication to the belief that everyone should be assured a good standard of living, including the right to a healthy environment, with clean air, earth, water, and food; safe shelter and infrastructure, and good healthcare. This platform embodies our core values of fairness and responsibility, and a commitment to the common good. This platform stands as a promise to the people of Michigan, based on our tradition and commitment to a better future for the people of our state and nation.

Section IIE
We support a $2,000 per month “universal basic income” for all people in the U.S., at least for the duration of the pandemic.

Section IIIA.2
Companies that receive tax incentives to do business in Michigan should be held accountable for the number of jobs they promise to create and adhere to local residential requirements during their business activities in Michigan. Companies should be able to expect that tax breaks and benefits will continue to be available only when they meet these conditions.  When corporations that receive tax breaks move operations out of Michigan or out of the country, they should be forced to pay back any tax incentives or direct public investment they have received. Further, this practice of granting tax incentives to attract business and investment are a downward spiral of ever-decreasing tax receipts from business, forcing individual taxpayers to make up the difference – or accept ever-decreasing services from their governments. The Michigan Democratic Party supports a federal ban on such all such tax incentive arrangements.

Section IIIA.10
Prosecute wage theft as a major crime. The value of all wage theft exceeds the value of all other theft, yet this multi-billion-dollar crime wave is hardly ever addressed by law enforcement, and when it is, often with little consequence. Despite billions of dollars in fines and penalties, large corporations continue to engage in wage theft, the fines and penalties being much less than the gains from the theft of workers’ wages. Therefore, Michigan Democrats support prosecuting executives and shareholders of companies engaged in wage theft as the primary beneficiaries of the crime under racketeering and other appropriate laws and increasing the penalties sufficiently to raise the cost of wage theft higher than the benefit.

Section IIIA.11
We support the adoption of a graduated income tax that is fair to everyone – unlike the current tax structure in Michigan.

Section IIIA.12
The Michigan Democratic Party supports the immediate implementation of a universal single-payer healthcare system in the United States, to enact the principle that healthcare is a human right, free to all people at point of service regardless of their medical, financial, or other circumstance.

Section IIIA.13
Democrats support … paid family leave … mandating … paid sick leave.

Section IIIA.14
Restoring the right to discharge student debt in bankruptcy.

Note: Also see Section IIIB.5 below.

Section IIIB.1
We encourage policies that make housing affordable and encourage more integrated communities, including the expanded use of housing subsidies, mixed-income housing developments, and community land banks.

Section IIIB.2
We support the repeal of Michigan’s so-called “right to work” law. This law is actually an attempt to weaken the bargaining power of workers and should more aptly be named “right to work for less” laws. By any measure, people in so-called “right to work” states are less well-off than people of states which ensure workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

Note: this used to say “encourage” rather than ensure. There are lots of other little ways the platform committee strengthened the language, this is just one tiny but egregious example of the milquetoast nature of previous platforms.

Section IIIB.5
Democrats want higher education to be free to the user at point of service
. The rising cost of higher education is burdening many college and university students with excessive debt. Over seven million students now have taken out federal student loans. Getting out from under a massive debt load can take place many years after graduation. Michigan Democrats support efforts at the state and federal level to make Michigan public universities tuition-free for all students.

Section IIIB.7
One-person one-vote. As designed, our electoral system is deeply undemocratic. Michigan Democrats demand equal representation at all levels of government for all people, and support efforts to reform our electoral system, including abolishing gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and reforming the apportionment process for the House and the Senate to ensure every voter across the country has equal representation in both chambers of Congress.

The above are key excerpts. There is much more to the new platform. For example, Section IIIB.8 is a completely new section written from the ground up on immigration reform, that deserves to be read in full – you can read it here.

The Committee is running a little late coming out with the final draft of the platform – expected later today. As soon as it’s available I will link to it here.

Michigan Democrats can be proud to vote for a platform that expresses our values with purpose and in strong, progressive language. Change is coming.

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