CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSEMENTS
The California Democratic Party should not endorse any candidates who accept contributions from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, or PACs, corporations, corporate PACs, real estate interests, the for-profit health insurance industry, for-profit colleges, or police associations.
Party endorsements should be reserved for candidates who are committed to a vision for a bold, progressive Democratic party that fights for: housing, healthcare, and education as human rights; racial justice and reimagining public safety; a Green New Deal for California; and protecting and empowering workers.
Establishment of a single-payer healthcare system should remain the official priority of the California Democratic Party. Efforts to include competing proposals have been warded off in the past. Single-payer is capable of addressing historic inequities within the provision of care while other policy proposals would allow structural deficiencies to continue into the future. As the pandemic has had a disproportionate burden on racial/ethnic minority groups, our Platform should recognize the only system capable of truly eliminating disparities.
GREEN NEW DEAL
The “Green New Deal” reminds us that FDR’s New Deal put people to work as part of the CCC or the WPA. We not only believe in a Green New Deal for California, but we believe the Democratic Party of the most populous state in the country should lead the charge alongside other states to put pressure on our federal government to enact a Green New Deal on a national scale.
We need to re-gear technology for an economy that is not based on fossil fuels. We must adopt the policies of carbon neutrality, a just transition, and a total ban on fracking, as well as the equitable prioritization of indigenous land, racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods, and working-class communities.
As a government, California must not subsidize or incentivize resource extractive industries. Oil and natural gas extraction and refining should not receive tax reduction or benefit from any form of government funding. In addition, the fossil fuel industry should not be permitted to influence policy. The California Democratic Party should not accept donations from fossil fuel or related industries, or PACs that are indirectly funded by those industries. Individual candidates that accept donations from fossil fuel industries, and vote in favor of policies that benefit those industries should NOT be endorsed by the California Democratic Party.
As a slate, we are united in our position that our society must be built on servicing the needs of the many over the few and that we must always put people over profits. Growing economic inequality and policies that favor the wealthy are not simply unjust, they can also be a form of violence. Without access to decent jobs, housing, and healthcare, people may struggle to put food on the table or succumb to preventable illnesses. Our slate believes in advocating for elected officials and policies that lift up working people rather than the wealthy.
The California Democratic Party must move forward on legislation that includes a wealth tax, UBI pilot programs, and closing the commercial loophole of Proposition 13.
We are also very concerned that the rent burden of California’s cities is the highest in the nation. We will fight for the right of tenants to organize and win protections. We will champion the creation of land trusts and cooperative housing that can provide long-term renters with equity and stability in their housing. We will champion municipalities undertaking building projects and acquiring existing properties to become social housing. Social housing is proven to be a long-term moderating force on the cost of living.
RACIAL JUSTICE & REIMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY
People of color are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. And even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the total US population, they comprise well over half of all prisoners. We must change this by de-militarizing our police forces, banning for-profit prisons, turning back from the War on Drugs, eliminating mandatory minimums, and increasing our investment in programs that help individuals recover from substance abuse and mental health problems.
Though police funding is primarily the jurisdiction of city and county officials who have historically been elected in non-partisan races across California, we believe the California Democratic Party must adopt a platform that aims to correct and redress the harms created by the criminal justice system. The majority of candidates in local elections throughout much of our state are Democrats, and the party endorsement can go a long way in ensuring a winning campaign. The state party platform must give guidance to down-ballot candidates on what reimagining public safety and reducing harm in their communities should look like in the twenty-first century.
We believe in fighting for candidates who will support restorative justice, repeal racist drug policies, demilitarize our police forces, shift resources away from law enforcement towards social services, and end for-profit prisons.
CITIZENS UNITED & CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Citizens United is the root of many of our political problems. It has allowed untold amounts of unaccountable money from powerful interests to influence elections at the local, state, and national level. It must be overturned so that candidates who refuse to take corporate or special interest money no longer continue to be susceptible to being outspent by dark money PACs and Independent Expenditures. We would also support a constitutional amendment safeguarding the power of Congress and states to regulate money in elections.
Without substantial reform of our campaign finance system, the results of our elections will often favor the interests of the powerful and wealthy. For this reason, we feel that creating a publicly financed and transparent campaign finance system should be among our top priorities in making our democracy work for the people, rather than the powerful. Levelling the playing field so that candidates who rely on small dollar donations have a better chance at winning their elections will create a government that is more representative and responsive to the needs of working families.
We firmly believe in, and stand with, our public schools; by consequence, we oppose charter schools and school voucher programs. Charter schools pull desperately needed resources away from public schools, create a system of inequity, and erode the role of the teachers unions critical to the quality of our education system.
TUITION-FREE HIGHER EDUCATION
We believe that education is a fundamental right and that the federal government should not make a profit on student loans. As a matter of equity, wealth should never be a barrier that limits a student’s opportunity to pursue a higher education. Tuition-free public colleges and universities would make higher education accessible to many Americans who never thought they could go to college simply because of the cost, and we support them entirely.
Student loan forgiveness should also be considered as a stimulus program for our economy. Given the extreme financial and economic hardships faced during this pandemic, those with student debt should have fewer barriers to qualify for loan forgiveness.
IMMIGRATION & ABOLISHING ICE
We support DACA, a pathway to citizenship, and abolishing ICE. Undocumented immigrants are our neighbors, friends, parents, coworkers, and loved ones. We must fight to create a clear and consice path to citizenship that does not penalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants that have lived in the shadows, maintain programs like DACA and repair the increased damage that fear-mongering in the last four years has done to further vilify immigrant communities. However, this is only the beginning. We must also work to increase awareness about the fact that U.S. foreign policy has often played a role in creating the very conditions of poverty, gang violence, and national debt that have driven immigrants in underdeveloped nations to seek opportunity and/or asylum in the U.S. Additionally, we must make sure that programs like DACA do not exclude people due to financial inability and ineligibility because of technicalities like falling one or two years away from the migration cutoff dates. We must ensure that each of our undocumented immigrants not only receives a path to comprehensive citizenship but one that Americans widely understand as necessary, beneficial and reparative of the damage we have caused in underdeveloped nations.
DEPORTATION & DETENTION
We support a party platform that includes abolishing private prisons, full asylum for anyone seeking refuge, and a moratorium on incarcerations of undocumented immigrants.
Immigrants have been abused by an inhumane detention and deportation system that has perpetuated numerous injustices. The Department of Homeland security receives $49.8 billion a year in discretionary funding. Approximately $12 billion of this goes to fund detention centers and ICE, both of which have terrorized our families and communities and have shown no significant value in protecting Americans. Moreover, ICE often behaves as an unaccountable police force with unregulated power, and its abolition is far overdue.
We need to dismantle the profit-driven private prisons that profit off of mass detentions. California must not permit Federal for-profit detention centers to operate within our jurisdiction, and California must not allocate government spending to any for-profit carceral entity.
We must protect all asylum-seekers through the creation of clear and compassionate immigration laws. Asylum seekers and economic refugees must receive assistance in their own language. Unaccompanied minors must have fiduciary representatives that act to protect the child’s interests. Our immigration services must be completely funded, to offer true due process for immigrants and refugees, so as not to leave their fate in the hands of immigration judges that often spend less than five minutes on each case.
A woman’s right to choose is fundamental, as is access to reproductive healthcare. A woman’s right to an abortion is constitutional. California should proactively seek legislation at the state and federal level that remove any barriers to a woman's reproductive rights.
The Affordable Care Act identified Essential Health Benefits, which ensure that Health Plans cover care that patients need. Reproductive healthcare was not included in the list of 10 EHBs. This right must be codified in legislation.
Religious based employers, such as a Catholic hospital, cannot reduce health insurance benefits. If an employer is unwilling to administer a program that provides birth control or access to abortion services, the employee must be given access to a health plan independent of the employer.
We are all 100% committed to a $15 minimum wage and would support increases above this as well.
We believe ALL people are entitled to equal pay for equal work. There is absolutely no excuse for a gender-based wage gap.
Women on average earn 82¢ for every dollar earned by a man. For indigenous women and women of color, the ratio is lower. To achieve gender pay equity, we need strong employment laws: protection for maternity leave, holding lower-paying employers liable, and eliminating gender bias in the workplace, among others. Private and public employers should be incentivized to promote women to executive positions. In addition, giving women greater access to small business loans, vocational education, and childcare help increase women’s income and earning capacity. We must continue to advocate for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution to guarantee legal gender equality.
Some of us are LGBTQIA+, and the rest are fervent allies. Everyone – regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, or immigration status – deserves the same rights to a living wage, housing, healthcare, and to exist without fear of being themselves.
We believe Native Americans should have the autonomy to govern their own affairs, and the U.S. should also take an active role in extending assistance and support to Native communities when that assistance and support is desired.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, the disastrous impacts of policies that leave working people, the poor, and the middle class on the hook for the failings of powerful financial institutions have never been more apparent. The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has made this issue even more acute. Everyday Americans have been asked time and time again to bail out banks and large corporations that have reaped huge benefits, often at the expense of working people, who have received little to nothing in return. “Too big to fail” must never again be used to drive policy.
California should provide incentives for investments that increase social welfare, and disincentivize practices that deter capital investment in communities in need.
YOUTH JOBS PROGRAMS
Job programs are a tried and true method of creating opportunities for those who have none. We believe in increased funding for trade programs and technical schools. Partnering young people with labor unions for trade mentorship programs is a way to facilitate skills training for good-paying union jobs, and a career in the trades has long been a path to long-term employment and healthcare.
The United States should never enter trade deals that put the interests of large multinational corporations ahead of those of working families. We agree that the negative effects of these trade deals must be reversed to the greatest extent possible, and we would demand that the California Democratic Party consider the costs and benefits of any new, proposed trade deals, first and foremost, by the measure of whether they would improve the lives of working-class Americans. Often, these deals can end up taking away jobs from qualified workers who then may find themselves unemployed entirely or working in positions at lower wages than they previously received.
In addition, we must close the loopholes that allow corporations to evade paying taxes. It is unacceptable for American corporations (both domestic and multinational) to commit labor abuses. We must impose substantial sanctions on a civil and criminal basis for corporations that violate labor laws. In addition, steps must be taken to ensure that the trade agreements America enters into account for the impact that American corporations have on the country(ies) in which they are conducting business. We believe in prioritizing worker safety, unionization of employees, and accountability for employers.
We believe infrastructure spending could be the ticket out of the current economic crisis while simultaneously serving as a smart investment in the very structures through which our economy functions.
Investing in our infrastructure builds wealth in communities; however, any infrastructure must be added in tandem and cooperation with the communities it affects and designed to mitigate any environmental impact. Communities that are suffering the most financial hardship should be prioritized for infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure is a way to stimulate the economy, provide good union paying jobs, and create opportunities for government entities to partner with minority-owned businesses. Our emphasis should be on building back better through infrastructure that provides clean energy jobs and technology needed for a twenty-first-century economy.
A budget is a statement of values as much as it is a structural framework. We need to increase domestic social spending and decrease defense spending.
The U.S.’s recent unilateral military actions have sown chaos wherever they have been undertaken and have often resulted in the loss of countless innocent civilians’ lives around the world. We will actively work to support candidates who favor diplomacy over military intervention and who believe violence should only be undertaken when no other choice is available after exhausting all other options.
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT
We support a two-state solution and diplomatic efforts to strike a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. The interests of both Israelis and Palestinians must be taken into account in informing the U.S.’s approach, and the U.S. must take a more active role in withdrawing support for actions by any party that make the prospect of peace more remote.
Social Security must be expanded so that every American can retire with dignity, and we also believe the age for eligibility for Social Security retirement should be lowered.
Congress must ensure the solvency of the investments that fund Social Security, and review the adequacy of benefits, especially for those with intermittent or low-wage work histories, who are often women and minorities. In particular, care work must be considered essential employment, and retirement benefits guaranteed.
Americans should retain access to the full range of Social Security benefits without any cuts, deductions, or prohibition to these earned benefits. Disability benefits under SSI are one of the most important forms of income for those Americans who are unable to work due to a disability. Social Security on a needs basis provides an important safety net for people with reduced or no income.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
We support fully funding the VA and increasing its services to include economic and job development.