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 democrats.org, 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.