Bernie Sanders finally endorsed Hillary Clinton today. Why did it take so long? Because he had work to do.
Check out this Vox rundown on all the ways Bernie Sanders' delegates pulled the Democratic Party in a less milquetoast, more firmly progressive direction late last week. This one jumps out:
Marijuana legalization: The committee also agreed to include a "reasoned pathway to future legalization" of marijuana on the party platform. (The 2012 platform calls for a reduction in racial disparities in drug sentencing but does not mention marijuana.)
Delegates from Clinton’s campaign largely opposed the marijuana legalization language, and it carried by just one vote. (Clinton’s campaign has opposed the legalization of marijuana.)
Legalizing marijuana is a no-fucking-brainer (Washington and Colorado have already done so and not fallen into the abyss). Clinton's opposition is frustrating—another reminder of how she sometimes seems trapped in 90s-era politics, another way of sapping enthusiasm for her candidacy and her party among youth, people of color, and all the independent-minded potheads out there. Amusingly, it's only because of a fuckup that the Clinton camp let marijuana legalization through. NBC News reports:
Sanders allies won an accidental victory when the committee approved—by a single vote—a plank to include a "reasoned pathway for future legalization" of marijuana. (Clinton supports medical marijuana and rescheduling the drug, but not legalization.)
Several delegates had apparently misplaced the devices they used to vote. But after much discussion, Clinton delegates allowed the vote to stand—a move that earned one of the loudest cheers of the entire meeting.
Oh and, in case you were wondering (attention Dan Savage/Matt Baume), here's NBC again:
Again: There are plenty of things to beef with Sanders and his supporters about. But their approach to changing the party platform is not one of them. They have made the Democratic Party more left, more populist, and much stronger, though it still has a ways to go. Trump, true to form, is all over those vulnerabilities (the TPP free trade pact, the influence of lobbyists and Wall Street—the ones where Clinton's platform delegates got their way) on Twitter this morning.
While many questioned his decision to stay in the primary race long after losing the nomination, none of the progress of his ideas on the platform would have happened if he had dropped out.
Party platforms are unenforceable message documents that are generally ignored almost as quickly as they're written. Democrats have not had a contested platform process since 1988 or one fought in the open like this since 1980.
While critics scoffed at the attention to a platform this year, both campaigns, along with President Obama's administration, clearly thought it was important enough to take seriously.