Delegate: Platform Changes 'Almost an Endorsement of Religion'

Some Democratic delegates object to platform changes

Antonio Villaraigosa (AP)
September 5, 2012

Some Democratic delegates are unhappy with the party brass’s decision to include Jerusalem and God in the party platform.

The omissions caused an uproar among pro-Israel advocates and religious voters, leading party officials to amend the platform on Wednesday afternoon. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa approved the updates after three voice votes, despite what appeared to be a roughly even split of "ayes" and "nays." The measure required two-thirds approval to pass.

Travis Keeler, a 28-year-old Minnesota delegate, was among the nays, though he did not join in the sea of boos that followed Villaraigosa’s decision.

"The wording of this does not align with our party well … it was too specific and we’re a broad umbrella party," he said of the acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. "We’re for everybody of all faiths, not just one."

Fellow Minnesota delegate Katrina Wilder agreed that the party should have left the pro-Israeli policies out of the platform and should have given more recognition to the Palestinian government.

"If we’re going to help one country, we’ve got to help all countries," she said. "We can’t just pick one."

Keeler said that Villaraigosa unfairly adopted the amendments, claiming that there were not enough "aye" votes to fulfill the two-thirds majority required by convention rules.

"It wasn’t two-thirds, but it was probably more ayes than nays," he said. "It was close enough … that it should have been something different."

Keeler said the acknowledgment of Jerusalem and God will help President Obama in November.

"It’ll help I think … there are more people who wanted to see that that are going to be happy to see it [in the platform]," Keeler said.

He still objected to their inclusion as being outside of the values of the Democratic Party.

"This was almost an endorsement of religion," he said. "This kind of thing shouldn’t have happened and it’s unfortunate [that it did]."