Honesty, Decency, Fairness and Democracy: a Platform

July 9, 2019

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 elections has begun to heat up.  We have two dozen (!) declared candidates and already a first round of debates.  The coverage of these candidates, including the coverage of that first debate, has focused on differences among them regarding their posture on issues of immigration, health care, college costs and debts and the like.

With others, I’m struck at the partitioned quality of media/public attention to the Democratic and Republican campaigns.  On the Democratic side, the focus is on fairly small policy differences among the candidates, and on (again) fairly small personal foibles and bobbles in their past.  On the Republican side, there is Trump with his exposed huge faults of character and honesty as well as the huge policy tilt towards the already entitled and wealthy.

I simply want to urge the Democrats to lift up four broad commitments that all of the declared candidates share and that set them/us apart from Trump and his enablers.  I urge them to do everything they can to lift up these four commitments and to regularly applaud their rivals for sharing the same four:  honesty, decency, fairness, democracy.

Honesty: to tell the truth, to be accountable to the facts, to be transparent and accessible.

Decency: to treat everyone with respect, to demean no one, to be observant of rights — human, civil and political, to insist that everyone’s life matters

Fairness: to work on behalf of seeing that every American has a genuine chance to make something of himself or herself, to work against unearned advantages or shortcuts.

Democracy: to see that every vote counts and as equally as possible, and that no voice gets extra, undeserved weight.

Honesty, decency, fairness, democracy: this is the platform.  Try to keep the focus on these commitments.  Yes, there are policy differences among the Democratic candidates, but they are tiny in the face of their common adherence to these four commitments and the Trumpists’ failure to honor these.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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