- REUTERS/Mike Blake
Sen. Bernie Sanders will get a major voice in shaping the Democratic Party’s platform at its summer convention.
The Democratic National Committee announced on Monday that it would allocate on a proportional basis the majority of its chairs to the party’s platform drafting committee.
Monday’s announcement, based on the current primary popular-vote totals, granted six committee members to Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Sanders picked six committee members, while DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will select four.
Sanders’ representation at the table could ultimately convince the party to adopt a number of campaign ideas that the senator has championed. Possibilities include a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage or a more strict stance on environmental regulations.
A DNC statement released on Monday noted that the delegation process was designed to make it “inclusive,” pointing out that party rules allow Wasserman Schultz to dictate who is allowed to shape the party platform.
We are delighted to bring together this talented group of Democrats. These individuals represent some of the best progressive thinking from across the nation. I am confident that the members of this committee will engage Americans in a substantive dialogue of ideas and solutions that will inform our Party Platform.
Despite his ongoing tensions with Wasserman Schultz, Sanders quickly praised the decision and promised that his committee members would help push a progressive agenda.
He said in a statement:
We believe that we will have the representation on the platform drafting committee to create a Democratic platform that reflects the views of millions of our supporters who want the party to address the needs of working families in this country and not just Wall Street, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry and other powerful special interests.
Sanders’ appointments include prominent academic Dr. Cornel West, pro-Palestinian activist James Zogby, congressional ally Rep. Keith Ellison, environmental activist Bill McKibben, and Native American rights activist Deborah Parker.
Though Clinton maintains a virtually insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, so-called superdelegates, and popular votes, Sanders reiterated over the weekend that he would continue to stay in the primary until the convention.
The announcement comes as some Democrats are concerned that Sanders’ apparent commitment to stay in the race is perpetuating a divide that could hurt Clinton in a general-election matchup with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.