America’s Democratic Party now has an undisputed candidate for President and a platform upon which most progressive Americans — and, more specifically, progressive Americans of Color — can agree.


Elijah Cummings

In primary elections and caucuses across this nation, Democratic voters gave Secretary Hillary Clinton their majority approval, while also giving Senator Bernie Sanders and his key issues a very substantial level of support.

For those of us who were honored to serve on the Democratic Party’s Platform Drafting Committee, we understood that far too many Americans are struggling to achieve the basic necessities of life. During this challenging time in our country’s history, our recommitment to progressive, constructive change is a practical, as well as a moral, necessity.

Along with Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders and their tens of millions of supporters, we also recognized that the process of charting a more progressive and democratic course for our nation must be inclusive, representative and transparent.

This is why our Democratic coalition undertook the inspired and unprecedented step of opening up the Platform Drafting Committee’s process and deliberations.

Our watchwords were empowerment, inclusion, transparency, and an unwavering focus upon what the late Senator Paul Wellstone termed “the issues that are at the center of everyday Americans’ lives.”

I am proud of the vision for our nation and her people that my colleagues and I, as well as the full Democratic Platform Committee, have achieved: the most progressive Democratic Platform in American history.

America’s voters can reach their own judgment about the extent to which we have succeeded by considering the Democratic Party’s 2016 Platform, as well as the process that we followed, on the Internet at

When you take a few moments to consider our future, I hope that you will test our Platform against your own aspirations and challenges in life — as well as your own evaluation of the best course for our country.

Ask yourselves, as we have done:  “Will these commitments move us forward toward becoming an America that truly offers “liberty and justice for all?”

I am convinced that they do — and as you make your own determination, please be assured of this solemn pledge.

President Hillary Clinton, a Democratic United States Senate and a far more Democratic House of Representatives will do everything within our power to achieve expanded opportunity, greater inclusion and more pervasive equity for every American.

In future columns, I will have more to share about my respect for Secretary Clinton and my heartfelt conviction that she is the best person to build upon the progressive foundation that President Obama has created.

Yet, as we have been painfully reminded during the last six years, even one of the best Presidents in our history can be blocked, far too often, by a recalcitrant Republican Congress. The Republican’s failure to give President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court an up-or-down vote is only the latest example of this obstacle to the progressive action that the American people need and deserve.

The reality that one-third of the Senate and the entire membership of the House of Representatives are also up for election this year gives heightened importance to Election Day 2016.   The control of all three branches of our federal government and the direction of our country are at stake.

The Republicans’ undeniable track record of reaction and obstruction will only become more egregious if they maintain their majorities in the Congress — and there are very good reasons to conclude that the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee, if elected, would present a clear and present danger to America and the world.

Yet, revulsion and fear alone are seldom enough to win a national election. A positive, meaningful and realistic vision for the future is required.

Our continuing objective must be to achieve the “higher ground” that all Americans, whatever their political inclinations, can honestly conclude are the actions that our future requires.

Who the candidates are is an important consideration for voters on Election Day. Equally important, if not more so, is what the candidates have committed to accomplishing once they have gained the voters’ trust and approval.

As America’s citizens review our Democratic Platform this year, I believe that they will conclude that ours is the most progressive commitment to the American people in our history, rivalling and even surpassing President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Our pledge is to work with the American People to create a far more equitable opportunity society — a society that lives up to our highest aspirations rather than degenerating into hostility, division and fear.

The convictions expressed in our Platform about the future that we intend to build for our society are the same pledges to the American people that are written in our hearts.

Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.


Congressman Elijah Cummings

Special to the AFRO