Turmoil on the Democrat Platform

While the signature event of the Democratic National Convention, the official nomination of Barack Obama for another term as President, was not in doubt, a significant sideshow emerged for the party.  The Democrat platform, the statement of principles for the party, earlier this week was found to have scrubbed out references both to God and to Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel. The publicizing of this change from previous platforms led to a stir in the press and on the Convention floor.  While Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Tuesday dismissed questions about this change as “harping on a trifle,” leaders of the Democrat Party, reportedly including President Obama, quickly swooped in on Wednesday to fix what Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) called a "technical error."

The restoration of the references to God and Jerusalem was not without difficulty or controversy on the Convention floor. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided over a voice vote among Democrat delegates required to change the platform language to include the references; however, he needed to hold the voice vote three times as the “nays” were very loud among the delegates. On the third try, rather than call for a roll call vote, Mayor Villaraigosa declared the new language to be passed by the necessary two-thirds of the voices. Boos were audible.

The Democrat platform has also stirred controversy by formally embracing gay marriage. Notably, voters in North Carolina, the host state of the Convention, most recently upheld the traditional definition of marriage this spring.

  • Find out more here (including video of the floor fight), here, and here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: September 7, 2012