The Progressive Platform Project

Welcome to the Progressive Platform Project!

In the past few months, there have been a lot of discussions in the media and on the blogs about what a progressive is. Many, especially in the media, are of the opinion that a progressive is the same thing as a liberal. But is that really the case? Chris Matthews considers himself a liberal. The DLC folks consider themselves liberal. Most Democrats consider themselves liberal. But are those folks progressive?

Is a progressive the exact same thing as a liberal? If not, what is a progressive? And better yet, what does a progressive, in this day and age, stand for?

These last questions are ones that we will be answering over the course of the next several months while we draft our Progressive Platform.



This process is going to take a while, as we go slowly through each plank. This forming of a coherent platform will be dependent on your input in the comment section each week. I am hoping that there will be suggestions and robust discussions; there may even be some (civil) arguments. The end result of this little project of ours will be a Progressive Platform that we, as progressives, can use as a yardstick for supporting and endorsing candidates. We will use it here at Progressive Blue for the 2012 elections, and anyone is welcome to use it as they see fit.

In this inaugural post, we'll briefly explore platforms.

When many people think about platforms, the first thing they think of is party platforms. From Wikipedia:

A party platform, also known as a manifesto, is a list of the actions which a political party supports in order to appeal to the general public for the purpose of having said party's candidates voted into office. This often takes the form of a list of support for, or opposition to, controversial topics. Individual topics are often called planks of the platform.

Each major political party in the United States has drafted a platform since 1840. The American Presidency Project via the University of California, Santa Barbara has a great page with links to all of those platforms.

But platforms don't necessarily have to be directly affiliated with a party; they can also be movement manifestos. Again, from Wikipedia:

A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.

With this platform, we are not looking to purposefully create a new party; we simply would like to have a formal platform for progressives - something we can use as a yardstick to measure candidates and policies. Something between a party platform and a manifesto; it need not be particularly specific in individual policies, nor does it need to be overly broad. This platform can be however broad or specific as we all decide. I'm sure in the end, it will have some specific policy areas and some more broadly defined principles as well.

So this first week, we have some homework exploration to do. Check out the various party platforms to get an idea of what kinds of things go into a platform. Also, you can check out, which has a section titled "What We Stand For".

We will begin dealing with planks next week. What planks do you want to see addressed in the platform? In the multi-choice poll over in the original Progressive Platform Project diary, I have put a standard list of possible planks for our platform. Please vote for the planks you think should be the most important in our platform. Please limit your votes to 5 planks and  next week we will start coming up with the order in which we address each plank.

This is a Progressive Blue project. We welcome all suggestions in the comments below; however, in order to affect the official platform, commenters may want to provide their input in the Progressive Platform Project diary at Progressive Blue.

Tags: P3, Progressive Platform Project, progressive, platform, political platform, liberal, Politics (all tags)


1 Comment


Progressives want to progress aka change.


All the ways we are different from cavemen is from changes.  Thats good.

Almost all change is bad change.  Thats bad.


The second statement is something that everyone who has ever built something hard understands.  Its also something that people who have never done anything hard may not grasp.  Most of the ways you can change a jet airplane make it crash.  Sometimes very smart people can change something and it still makes the jet crash because they missed some small detail.  The reason England wasn't the main jet supplier after WWII was because they used square windows which fail after many flights and kill everyone.  But that wasn't obvious to anyone for a long time.  There is a reason all jet windows are round.


Its important for progressives to decide if their goal is long sustained change which may have to be more gradual in nature in order to avoid the bad change and therefore not be reversed.  If it isn't then they are chasing after change for personal gratification without considering all the consequences.  This leads to backlash and losing control.  Which is what Obama faces.


Progressives would be wise to outline what it is they want in abstract terms.  For example, I think progressives want to raise the living standards of the poor, make life better for minorities, remove risks of climate killing all life on earth etc.  Thats good.


But progressives need to understand that the pragmatics who don't actually care as much about those things are actually better positioned to deliver them.  That because instead of fighting the hard fights first the pragmatics win all the easy fights and win them in a way that is popular.  Bill Clinton did more for poor people by balancing the budget than Obama/Pelosi will do.  Had Bill Clinton not paid down the debt he paid down we may not be living in a democracy.  Had this recession occurred 2 years earlier under Bush it would have been much worse.


Let the heart set what the party values.  Thats a progressive heart and soul.


Let the brains deliver.  Thats the pragmatic DLC side that actually understands when historic shifts are occurring BEFORE they occur.  Pelosi thought she was going to hold the house days before the election.

by donkeykong 2010-11-14 05:45AM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads