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Democrats gathering in Charlotte may have initially neglected to mention God in their platform. They didn’t forget to include the devil. The document namedrops Mitt Romney 22 times. His demonic sponsors—the “rich,” the “wealthy,” the “millionaires,” and the “billionaires”—also get 22 mentions. When you don’t have anything to run on, run down the opposition.
Democrats grasp what they stand against. Knowing, or at least letting everyone else know, what they support is more complicated. The point of an election is to attract votes, after all, not scare them away.
Take President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The muted mentions of ObamaCare in the document suggest that the Charlotte party goers understand that America doesn’t care for the legislation the way Obama does. So the platform declares that “Democrats stand willing to work with anyone to improve the law where necessary.” They concede, “No law is perfect.” Can anyone imagine Franklin Roosevelt shying away from the New Deal, Lyndon Johnson censoring mentions of Great Society, or Ronald Reagan running from his tax cuts in such a cowardly fashion? The centerpiece of Obama’s legislative program is not the centerpiece of his reelection platform.
Elsewhere, the platform advertises the out-of-this-world alienation. America just isn’t interested in the ideas with which Democrats are obsessed. Reiterating support for the ancient Equal Rights Amendment—Why not bimetallism or the single tax?—making an obligatory condemnation of African warlord Joseph Kony, and including language on LGBT youth seems the rote stuff of nonbinding student senate resolutions, not of a national political party outlining what policies it realistically seeks to pursue. What stirs the passions at the convention is at the periphery outside of it.
The platform boasts that Obama’s “State Department is funding a program that finances gay rights organizations to combat discrimination, violence, and other abuses.” It reaffirms the party’s support for DC statehood—and the two extra Democratic Senators that will come with it. The platform holds, “The American citizens who live in Washington, DC, like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their government respected without congressional interference.”
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