Talk vs walk - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

I just can’t get excited about attending a platform meeting.  Why?  Let me count the ways by examining the present platform: I’ll start at the preamble

  1. We want health care to be a basic human right.  (we do?  tell me then, when we had a candidate for governor who was for this, why we did not endorse him?)
  2.  We want everyone to be able to work for a living wage and have the right to organize; (NY & CA have a $15 minimum wage law on the books.  Not us. We won’t go for it)
  3. We want taxes to be reasonable and expenditures to be fairly distributed (we do?  name one Democrat in a position of power who wants to raise taxes on the rich)

I could go on and on, but what’s the point?

And what’s the point of a new Platform that will be equally ignored by those in power within the party?

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37 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. The platform is directional

    I see your point; it would be nice if the platform had more teeth.

    But if your example in #1 is Don Berwick, come on. We were supposed to nominate a guy for Governor just because he supported single-payer?

    I’ll bet if you gave every elected official a lie detector test, maybe 10% of them would say it was possible. Which is not to say it’s not possible, just that the current crop of leaders don’t believe it.

    So I don’t know, maybe start small. Pressure leaders on more doable platform positions (Keystone?). But I don’t think single payer works as a starting point. It’s a goal to work toward.

    • What about min wage?

      Do you have the same thoughts on minimum wage increases?

      • $15 is overdue here

        Though driving down costs are more important than raising incomes at this point. A wage floor of $15/hour still leaves most workers on a paycheck to paycheck basis after high rents and high health premiums. Driving those costs down as quickly as possible on a statewide basis is the best way to stabilize what’s left of our middle class. I’m totally for it-but MD style price controls on health care and breaking up hospital consolidations are doable and should be in the platform. Zoning reform is doable and should be in the platform.

        • Driving down quickly is hard

          Driving down housing costs quickly may have remarkably challenging side consequences. But its awfully hard to drive down those costs quickly, and I’m not holding my breath.

          Figuring out how to make places with ample housing (e.g. Gateway Cities) more attractive to live, work, learn, and play would help a bunch. So too would some inclusionary zoning improvements. So too would improving mass transit, opening up transit poor areas near job centers to better transit, thereby making those lower priced homes more accessible.

      • No

        I think that’s much more doable. If memory serves Senator Warren holds the same position.

    • You're half correct

      We were supposed to push ANYONE running for Governor to support single-payer?

      I’ll bet if you gave every elected official a lie detector test, maybe 10% of them would say it was possible.

      That just means that 90% are controlled by wealthy corporate interests.

      It’s a goal to work toward.

      How does one work towards a goal that the one of party’s national leaders at the time said would “never ever happen”? Where was the Massachusetts State Platform reply to that comment?


      • No it doesn't

        It means they don’t think big enough. But please, let’s not slander everyone who doubts single payer as a corporate toadie. Where does that get us?

        Have you considered moving to Vermont? Serious question. No you haven’t! Because Massachusetts has much more to offer. Our political culture gets some credit for that. (Some.)

        I don’t remember who said single payer would never happen. (I assume it was HRC — was she speaking privately?) I would prefer that she didn’t think that. Now what? She’s not a national leader anymore.

        • everyone who doubts single payer as a corporate toadie

          Okay, what’s another possibility?

          Have you considered moving to Vermont? Serious question. No you haven’t

          Nope, but if my wife would not object, I’d move to France in a heartbeat.

          I don’t remember who said single payer would never happen.

          Hillary Clinton….very publicly.

          • There are a whole range of possibilities

            To name four:

            1. They think it would never pass legislatively.
            2. They think it’s too radical a chance for right now.
            3. They think it’s too much money in the current economy.
            4. They think we already have universal coverage (thanks to safety nets), and for the time being the current system works better.

            And yes, it might mean they’re a corporate toadie (we certainly have plenty of those). But if doesn’t have to mean that.

            Re: the clip, I don’t feel like defending her, but she does specifically say “the Sanders plan,” whatever that’s worth.

            • Both/and

              Push for single payer politically and then craft compromises to see it through the door legislatively. Accept each compromise as a step to the final goal. Obamacare was a huge first step and we have already seen the polling on the issue shift to majorities wanting more not less government help for care. That bandaid to our free market system is now considered as vital a program as social security. A trifecta federal Republican government can’t repeal it.

              There’s even a growing wing on the right that wants Medicare for All. Midlife Medicare, Medicaid for kids, Allrate payer, and an opt in public option are all next steps we can and should push for to get us over the hump. But absolutely push for single payer symbolically at the local and state levels.

              The lesson of the Republicans in opposition is there is no electoral reward for cooperation and no electoral punishment for sticking to ideological principles. The lessons of Republicans in government is to be willing to accept baby steps to reach your final goal and have a really well thought plan before you ram it through.

              So I reject 2 and 4 as reasons not to push, maybe in the 90s but the political winds are at our backs now for more government. I concede 1 and 3 are real barriers to implementation. So propose a radical plan in opposition while working on a viable one when we’re back in power. Both/and.

              • Niki Tsongas had a Town Hall Tuesday night.

                I ended up asking the first question and asked her to support single payer. She didn’t think it were realistic politically, but said if it ever hit the House floor she would vote for it. Another attendee pushed her to support it first as a WAY to get to a majority in 2018.

                • See? That's not too hard now, is it?

                  She didn’t think it were realistic politically, but said if it ever hit the House floor she would vote for it.

                  Every Democrat in Congress should just say that. It’s a way to let the base know that they share the same values and goals while leaving some wiggle room for realism. And thanks for asking!

                  • The follow-up question

                    Would you vote for it if Democrats controlled both chambers, so that your vote for passage actually had a chance of being meaningful?

                    I don’t mean to single out Rep. Tsongas, but I think the party’s current position on this is “Pander as necessary.”

    • If single payer is not a starting point

      please ask the party to remove it from the platform

  2. Without a platform, the party is aimless.

    You have to start somewhere, but platforms are not self-enforcing. It takes activists like you to support candidates in primaries who adhere to it and persuade others to do likewise. You absolutely should go to a hearing to make sure the platform says what you want it to say.

    • We need a pipeline on primaries

      We’ll see if the one I’ve been working on gets launched soon. But we need a Club for Growth on the left that really holds legislators to binding commitments on transit, revenue, wages, leadership term limits, rejecting corporate welfare and controlling costs. And has the money and bandwidth to sponsor primary challenges. We need a dozen Mike Connolly next year and a dozen more the year after that to really change the culture of the House. It won’t make a difference if we beat Baker and DeLeo still sets the agenda.

    • Been there, done that.

      I went to the state convention two years ago that was supposed to address income/wealth disparity. There was little actual discussion of it, only one break out session, and I never got the opportunity to speak.

      Nope, not giving up, just trying a new approach as the current one certainly is not working. The platform is as effective as the airport security we all pass though, a display that something is being done, that problems are being addressed, but in reality, it’s all just a show to make us feel as if we mattered.

  3. We're back to...

    …how do you propose to force this, given our electoral system?

    Primaries determine nominees.

    Not every district is as progressive as the platform.

    Unenrolled voters can vote in our primaries.

    Party is not empowered to veto nominees on the basis of platform adherence.

    I’d like to communicate our platform better to our officials and maybe use adherence to determine priorities in funding assistance. The party shouldn’t be in the business of encouraging internecine primaries; it’s up to activists to initiate that.

    • Oh I'm talking about activists-I agree with you about the party

      It’s goal is to maximize the number of Democrats elected in this state. I want to maximize the number of progressives elected in this state. These are sometimes conflicting goals, though they are often complimentary as well. In the last year I’ve learned a lot about the limitations of going outside as well as the hindrances of studying inside. I respect both tracks and think they each serve a good purpose.

      The two tracks are to have progressive activists get more involved with the official party while also creating a parallel structure to think outside the box and try out new ideas and promote new candidates.

      In WW2 this was called a skunk works by aircraft engineers-a way to work outside the hierarchy of an organization to improve it. OurRevolution, A Better Congress, Democracy for America, Indivisible, Mass alliance, Emerge, Raise Up and Progressive Mass are all trying to do this within their own niche. But we either need an umbrella organization or a narrower offshoot focused exclusively on legislative primaries.

      And it’s about being strategic. Miceli and Garry aren’t going away unless a Republican beats them. Treat them with benign neglect. But there are a lot of reps like Toomey who could be replaced by a more progressive legislator. Replicating the Mike Connolly model means targeting progressives districts with more conservative legislators and identifying compelling candidates on the ground to replace them. Joe Boncore should get another challenger, Nora Harrington should primary Timilty again, one of the young councilors of color should challenge Mariano in Quincy or Dempsey in Haverhill. And find the funding model and recruiting pipeline to do that.

  4. ...

    platform: (Medieval French plate-forme diagram, map, literally, flat form) (1) : a usually raised horizontal flat surface; especially : a raised flooring (2) : a device or structure incorporating or providing a raised section;
    (3) : a place or opportunity for public discussion

    And what’s the point of a new Platform that will be equally ignored by those in power within the party?

    A platform is not a to-do list. A political party is not a governing body. Faulting a political party for failing to govern according to something that isn’t a to-do list seems like a roundabout way of decrying the messiness that is republican structures.

    Any political platform should be both aspirational and referential. You are using it in a referential form, but with a judgement attached: that of ‘what good is it if the reality doesn’t meet the rhetoric?” I don’t think that’s the way it is supposed to work. It is supposed to bem “We are here. We want to get there. What do we have to do to make that happen?”

    Or, put another way, instead of saying “why are the powers-that-be ignoring the platform” why don’t you ask why the Democratic voters-that-be put up with that from their Democratic representatives?

  5. We are New Democrats?

    Just stumbled on this today….NewDemPAC

    This jumped off the page: Industrial-era policies won’t work in an office economy that’s why we support policies that will equip Americans with the skills and resources they will need to adapt and thrive in an economy filled with fierce competition from all corners of the globe.

    What were the industrial era policies that worked in a tool room or paint booth that will not work in a call center or a IT booth? Why do they no longer work, what changed and WHO changed them?

    • I hear your anger John but it's misplaced

      The state party is not the right organ to pursue primary challengers. I think you should either start or join a PM chapter and put your energy there. I know the South Shore Progressives feel as mad as you do and are openly working against local conservative Democrats while still keeping a foot in the door with the state party. Both/and. And draft Denise to run for higher office-she’s awesome and I’ll work on her campaign in a heartbeat.

      • PM

        Progressive Massachusetts…..ain’t going to happen outside the few deep blue sections of the state. A few have tried and all have failed in my neck of the woods (Franklin). Franklin did cast more votes for Clinton than we did for Obama, and we were “blue” through the past three presidential elections, but I think most of the latest was more anti-Trump than pro Clinton.

        • The Andover one is doing well

          But I concede your point that echo chamber outreach doesn’t move the ball.

          • Echo Chamber

            Had to look that one up. Yup. That’s what we have here and it’s worse…..there are, at last count, five, maybe six “organizations” or movements opposing the Trump White House…all separate, none working in coordination with the State Party……

            That tells me that the state party is not doing its job. Why are all of the people in the aforementioned groups not contacting their state party?

  6. State parties, according to an article,

    I just read are a moderating influence on politics. (Of course, I can’t find the article now). The idea is, parties tend to see politics as a long haul where as private organizations tend to see politics myopically through an issue or two. This was true for Dems and GOP. Parties tend to bend less with the political winds because they represent a number of groups, and they also have the good of the party in mind.

    I’m not arguing with anyone here, just wondering if it’s the nature of parties presenting part of the problem.

    • That's a good point Mark

      I’ve conceded it up thread that those expecting the state party to be an engine of progressive change have to a) be more involved inside it b) be more active outside of it. The state party’s goal is to elect and defend Democratic candidates-which is not always the same as electing and defending progressive candidates.

      But it’s more likely they’ll be progressive candidates in the aggregate if progressives get involved in the party. Its also more likely they’ll be more progressive primary challengers, laws, and ballot questions by working outside of it as well. These can be complimentary paths. I knew a few state party delegates also involved in local chapters of Our Revolution and PM.

  7. re 3:

    a number of pols have come out in favor of the millionnaire’s tax proposal in MA, and given that the tax is aiming to change the constitution, at least 25% of legislators in both chambers will have to come out in favor of putting it on the ballot two years in a role.

    From everything I know, this isn’t considered a major stumbling block.

    So, I do think there’s some positive development on #3, even if it’s not as far as I’d like.

    #1 and #2 though, yes.

    • #1 and #2 have less ideological opposition-so we have to be really smart on the policy

      There are no compelling objective economic arguments against the millionaires tax. The state economy has created exponentially expanding wealth in the last three decades while government revenue collection has flatlined. Any additional revenue collected will be pumped back into the economy with infrastructure, education and health care investments.

      This is a virtuous cycle. When New Balance is underwriting the first new MBTA station and GE is asking for a BRT to the Seaport-their C levels can pay their fair share. These companies and executives ain’t moving to Florida which doesn’t have the creative capital we do. Just as the Valley didn’t flee California for Texas after Browns tax passed.

      There are arguments to be made that a statewide single payer system is not economically feasible and that the living wage requirement could stall an already sluggish small business environment. The latter didn’t happen in Seattle and I think we can point to that as a best practice model. The former did happen in Vermont-but our state has a higher degree of provider consolidation and is wealthier.

      I think phasing in single payer incrementally with mid phase steps like Midlife Medicare, Medicaid for all kids, and all rate payer will curb the cost for an eventual shift to opt in Medicare for All. It’s likely this is the direction the federal government goes in anyway but MA is in a unique place to push it since we’ve had an additional decade of living with an ACA style system.

      • Statewide public option?

        Any idea what the potential is for a Massachusetts-run HMO? I am not a big fan of single payer, but would love to see BC/BS and Harvard Pilgrim have to compete against an HMO that isn’t run in the service of the investor class.

        Would a Commonwealth HMO be economically and legally possible? I’d much prefer that idea over rushing to a single-payer model.

        sabutai   @   Sun 23 Apr 2:59 PM

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