Myth: This draft platform is a result of an unprecedented, wide-ranging hearing process.
Truth: This draft platform was written after an unprecedented, wide-ranging process. The hearing process before the draft platform was an innovative and great idea, a wonderful precedent. Thirty statewide hearings and two types of online fora are a testament to that. But implying that this draft is a result of said process doesn’t wash. Compare the testimony (see above) and the draft, and you decide how well they match up.
Myth: Well, even if the draft didn’t come directly from this process, but people wanted it.
Truth: Where are these people? Well, one…where’s two? John Walsh was crystal clear that he wanted a draft like this. The one-page statement of values is popular, but the whole tack toward blandness isn’t — any voices favoring it before it was released are minimal. Again, see for yourself.
Myth: Well, even if this is a top-down exercise, it’s what we need to win in Massachusetts.
Truth: Win what? The Democratic Party and its ideals are on the ascendancy across the country, no more so than in the Bay State. The Republican State House membership could fit into a two-bedroom apartment. Somehow, their numbers still dwindle. That happened under the old way of writing a platform. The Bay State Elephants are at the edge of the cliff; this is not the moment to ease up. From health care to equality to justice and beyond, they are on the run. Why give up now?
Myth: There are still so many failures evident, though…how long has single-payer health care been in the platform without it becoming a reality?
Truth: So? Single-payer health care isn’t popping up anywhere in this country at the moment — but the closest thing that exists is right here in Massachusetts, a system put into place by people elected under the old-style draft. Ditto on marriage equality. This style of platform works in politics and policy, and the record backs that up. It hasn’t delivered perfectly equitable education either, or completely safe workplaces, but that perfect shouldn’t be made into the enemy of this good.
Myth: But this new emphasis on vaguer ideals and goals opens up great new organizing strategies.
Truth: The great organizing tools in the works thanks to John Walsh and Jim Caralis have amazing potential regardless of the platform. One doesn’t need the other. Great tools to organize like-minded citizens are on the way, but this platform provides less to organize around. It’s easier to make a difference around strong stands on important issues than on “equitable taxation,” defined a dozen different ways.
Myth: Well, any way you slice it, this concise platform is an improvement since we’ve removed excess detail…
Truth: Is mentioning the rights of immigrants “excessive”? Because that is gone. So is anything on American Indians. Prevailing wage laws, universal health care, bilingual education, hazardous waste cleanup, and enforcing securities law — cut out. Meanwhile, consumer protection laws, reducing unintended pregnancies, special education, and “Smart Growth” remain. There’s no rhyme or reason to what got cut, and what survived.
Myth: Well, yes, but…
Truth: And what’s left is apparently very hard to differentiate from the Republican platform. At least, to do so more than 58% of the time according to current quiz results.
Myth: That quiz may be clever, but it’s not at all fair!
Truth: Rather than write the test differently, why not write the platform so such a test isn’t so easy to create? Progressive activists have trouble telling apart these 7 pairs of statements – and that took half an hour to create. If there’s a certain minimum of centrist, Republican-like language that must be in the party platform, it’s a well-kept secret.
Myth: Well, anyone who doesn’t support the draft platform, doesn’t support Deval Patrick!
Truth: Ah. Hence last night’s phone call from a town committee chair who was asking to “support Deval Patrick at this year’s convention”. Even when reminded twice that the Governor is not in any way on the ballot this weekend, the caller repeated the question. Supporting our best option for governor, Deval Patrick, doesn’t mean that this draft must be supported.
Deval Patrick won under the old platform. With it, Democrats can keep winning, and will.