Sanders gets say in Democratic platform

  • 24/05/2016
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks in East Los Angeles (Reuters)
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks in East Los Angeles (Reuters)

The US Democratic Party will give Bernie Sanders a prominent say in writing its platform this year, in a bid to ease tensions between Sanders' camp and party leaders.

Sanders is steadfast in his long-shot battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for the November presidential election.

The divisiveness among the Democrats stands in contrast to the Republicans, whose party leaders are slowly rallying behind Donald Trump, their presumptive nominee.

Sanders' tenacity is paying off: The senator from Vermont will name five members to the 15-member committee that writes the platform at the Democratic Party's national convention in late July in Philadelphia, while Clinton will get to name six.

The party said in a statement the split was based on the results of state votes to date "in an effort to make this the most representative and inclusive process in history".

Clinton has won 54 percent of the delegates, while Sanders has 46 percent.

The party's chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, will name the committee's final four members.

The Democratic Party's rules allow the chair to name all 15 members of the committee, suggesting that the party was making an effort to accommodate Sanders and his fervent supporters.

Sanders, responding in a statement, recalled some of his criticisms of Clinton, whom he suggests is vulnerable to influence by corporate donors to her campaign, which she denies.

"We believe that we will have the representation on the platform drafting committee to create a Democratic platform that reflects the views of millions of our supporters who want the party to address the needs of working families in this country and not just Wall Street, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry and other powerful special interests," Sanders said.

The Clinton campaign said it was pleased to see Sanders represented, describing the party as a "big tent".

Clinton now considers herself the de facto nominee and is increasingly turning her attention to attacking Trump when speaking at campaign events while suggesting Sanders supporters should rally to her side.

She told labor union members in Detroit that, if elected, she would embrace issues important to Sanders' supporters, including reform of campaign financing and reducing income inequality.

Trump, meanwhile, is steadily escalating his criticism of both Hillary and Bill Clinton's relationship with women, using rhetoric that has little precedent in US presidential politics.

On Monday (local time), Trump circulated a new online video that shows images of Bill Clinton, the former president, as voices of women play on the soundtrack saying he had assaulted them, before ending with the sound of his wife laughing.

Though none of the women are identified in the video, one of the voices is that of Juanita Broaddrick in an NBC interview from 1999 in which she accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978.

The Clintons' lawyer, David Kendall, said in 1999 that the accusation was false.