A good progressive agenda for Democrats

Bernie Sanders keeps pushing the Democratic party towards a more progressive agenda. He has come out with a 10-point plan for the Democrats that, as he says, “reflects the needs of working Americans — centered on economic, political, social, racial and environmental justice.” He outlines them under the following headers:

  1. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and indexing it to median wage growth thereafter
  2. A path toward Medicare-for-all
  3. Bold action to combat climate change
  4. Fixing our broken criminal-justice system
  5. Comprehensive immigration reform
  6. Progressive tax reform
  7. A $1 trillion infrastructure plan
  8. Lowering the price of prescription drugs
  9. Making public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially reducing student debt
  10. Expanding Social Security.

These are popular issues but have been buried by the Republicans diverting attention to other issues. Once they take charge of the House of Representatives, this is what the Democrats should be introducing legislation on, thus changing the national conversation to issues that really matter and forcing the Republicans to go on the record on each issue.

So many of the new members ran and won on progressive platforms that getting them to sponsor such legislation should be easier now, even if the neoliberal corporate friendly Democratic leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are reluctant.


  1. johnson catman says

    Those are all good issues to focus on. But shouldn’t some type of gun legislation be among the top 10? JFC, there is a mass shooting every other day. Or are they afraid that any focus on gun regulation would doom them in 2020?

  2. says

    Bernie really needs to do something about racism as well. Because of the racialization of poverty, many of his proposals will be good for communities of color, but racists and sexists were a significant minority of Bernie Bros, and with nothing in the platform specifically rejecting those things he’s simply going to create a *new* situation that tolerates injustice -- probably in ways we can’t quite anticipate as yet.

    It’s not that I’m against his overt agenda. Most of it I like -- and the rest are things where I’m ignorant of specific details I would want to learn before taking a side one way or the other. I’m not consciously aware of any policy proposal of his that I truly could be said to oppose. But his embrace of the anti-Hillary crowd even at its most nakedly sexist was troubling, to say the least. Tactics matter. Who you welcome in your coalition matters. I’m not ready to support Bernie qua Bernie even if I’ll happily support all those proposals (at least in some form or other).

  3. Holms says

    There is also the issue of USA’s moronic election system, not only the electoral college, but also the inclusion of vast sums of money at every level. From this issue, all others arise, as virtually all of them are at least contributed to by monied interests.

  4. Mano Singham says

    Crip Dyke,

    Bernie is very much an old-style socialist who sees racism as essentially a tool to serve the interests of the capitalist class and that in a socialist system many of the drivers of racism (and other forms of discrimination) will go away. Many of his proposals (such as criminal justice reform) do deal with racism but indirectly. He is not entirely wrong in thinking this way but has not yet grasped that this is not enough and that he needs to understand the importance of addressing racism, sexism, and homophobia head-on and explicitly.

  5. polishsalami says

    I was going to make a ‘cue the “Raising the minimum wage is racist!” crowd’ joke, but it appears I have been beaten to the punch.

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