Building a Stronger, Fairer Economy
Our economy was rigged against working families and the middle class long before the Trump administration. That is why Democrats commit to forging a new social and economic contract with the American people — a contract that invests in the people and promotes shared prosperity, not one that benefits only big corporations and the wealthiest few. One that affirms housing is a right and not a privilege, and which makes a commitment that no one will be homeless or go hungry in the richest country on earth. One that at last supports working families by securing equal pay for women and paid family leave for all. A new social and economic contract that at last grapples honestly with America’s long and ongoing history of racism and disenfranchisement, of segregation and discrimination, and invests instead in building equity and mobility for the people of color who have been left out and left behind for generations.
Democrats will fight to raise wages for working people and improve job quality and security, including by raising the federal minimum wage so it reaches $15 an hour by 2026. We know that strong American labor unions help increase wages and job standards for workers, which is why Democrats will prioritize repealing so-called “right to work” laws that undermine worker power. Democrats will reform the tax code to be more progressive and equitable, and reduce barriers for working families to benefit from targeted tax breaks. Our program of reform will provide immediate, marked relief for working families, including more generous, refundable tax credits to benefit low- and middle-income families, and easier and more equitable access to tax provisions that help working families build wealth, including by equalizing tax benefits for retirement contributions and providing more accessible tax breaks for homeownership.
Americans deserve an economy that works for everyone—not just for the wealthy and the well-connected. But our system has been rigged against the American people. Democrats believe that it is a moral and an economic imperative that we support working families by rebuilding the American middle class for the 21st century, making sure this time that everyone can make it and thrive, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, national origin, age, or ZIP code.
Achieving Universal, Affordable, Quality Healthcare
Democrats have fought to achieve universal health care for a century. We are proud to be the party of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Democrats will keep up the fight until all Americans can access secure, affordable, high-quality health insurance—because as Democrats, we fundamentally believe health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few.
We are going to at last build the health care system the American people have always deserved: one that finally provides universal health care coverage; reduces prescription drug prices, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs; reins in overall health care expenses; and tackles the deep-seated inequities in our health care system. We will build a health care system that is driven by the needs of patients and the people who care for them, instead of the profit motives of corporations. We will tackle entrenched racial disparities in health care, reduce prescription drug prices by standing up to big pharmaceutical companies, and make it easier to access mental health and substance use disorder treatment and long-term services and supports in metropolitan and rural areas alike.
To achieve that objective, we will give all Americans the choice to select a high-quality, affordable public option through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Private insurers need real competition to ensure they have incentive to provide affordable, quality coverage to every American. The public option will provide at least one plan choice without deductibles; will be administered by CMS, not private companies; and will cover all primary care without any co-payments and control costs for other treatments by negotiating prices with doctors and hospitals, just like Medicare does on behalf of older people.
Protecting Communities and Building Trust By Reforming Our Criminal Justice System
America is the land of the free, and yet more of our people are behind bars, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. Democrats believe we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom. Police brutality is a stain on the soul of our nation. It is unacceptable that millions of people in our country have good reason to fear they may lose their lives in a routine traffic stop, or while standing on a street corner, or while playing with a toy in a public park. We can and must do better for our communities.
It is past time to end the failed “War on Drugs,” which has imprisoned millions of Americans—disproportionately Black people and Latinos—and hasn’t been effective in reducing drug use. Substance use disorders are diseases, not crimes. Democrats believe no one should be in prison solely because they use drugs. Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level. All past criminal convictions for cannabis use should be automatically expunged. Poverty is not a crime, and it should not be treated as one. Democrats support eliminating the use of cash bail and believe no one should be imprisoned merely for failing to pay fines or fees. Equal justice under the law should not be contingent on the ability to pay for quality legal representation.
Above all, Democrats believe in redemption. We must deepen our commitment to helping those who have served their time re-enter society, earn a good living, and participate in our democracy as the full citizens they are. We support the automatic expungement of certain criminal records for those that have been fully acquitted, wrongfully convicted, or pardoned by the executive. The formerly incarcerated should not be blocked from exercising their voting rights or accessing public services. Continuing to punish a person after they have rejoined the community is both cruel and counterproductive.
Combatting the Climate Crisis and Pursuing Environmental Justice
Climate change is a global emergency. We have no time to waste in taking action to protect Americans’ lives and futures. The last four years have seen record-breaking storms, devastating wildfires, and historic floods. Urban and rural communities alike have suffered tens of billions of dollars in economic losses. Thousands of Americans have died. And President Trump callously and willfully denied the science that explains why so many are suffering.
Democrats believe there is a better way. We can and must build a thriving, equitable, and globally competitive clean energy economy that puts workers and communities first and leaves no one behind. Democrats will make investments to create millions of family-supporting and union jobs in clean energy generation, energy efficiency, clean transportation, advanced manufacturing, and sustainable agriculture across America. We agree with scientists and public health experts that the United States—and the world—must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050. To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035. We will dramatically expand solar and wind energy, including in rural areas, and turn American ingenuity into American jobs.
Every American has the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live without fear of exposure to toxic waste. And all Americans should benefit from the clean energy economy—especially those who have been left out and left behind for generations. Democrats will create an environmental justice fund to make historic investments aimed at eliminating legacy pollution, which disproportionately causes illness and premature death in communities of color, low-income communities, and Indigenous communities.
Restoring and Strengthening Our Democracy
Our government and our elections are supposed to reflect the interests of the American people, not only the wealthiest few and the biggest corporations. Democrats will fight to restore and protect Americans’ fundamental right to vote, including by aggressively pushing back against Republican governors, legislatures, and state officials who have disenfranchised people of color, young people, low-income people, and people with disabilities. And we will strictly enforce ethics laws and improve transparency across the federal government in order to rebuild trust with the American people, and will protect civil servants and whistleblowers from political retribution.
Democrats will strengthen our democracy by guaranteeing that every American’s vote is protected. We will make it a priority to pass legislation that restores and strengthens the Voting Rights Act, and ensure the Department of Justice challenges state laws that make it harder for Americans to vote. We will make voting easier and more accessible for all Americans by supporting automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, early voting, and universal vote-from-home and vote-by-mail options. Gerrymandering distorts our democracy, and Democrats will enact measures to end partisan gerrymandering in federal elections. Democrats believe Election Day should be a national holiday, in celebration of our democratic institutions and to make it easier for everyone to cast their ballot.
Democrats believe that the interests and the voices of the American people should determine our elections. Money is not speech, and corporations are not people. Democrats will fight to pass a Constitutional amendment that will go beyond merely overturning Citizens United and related decisions by eliminating all private financing from federal elections.
Creating a 21st Century Immigration System
Out of many, we are one. Our immigration system was broken long before President Trump came into office, and his departure alone won’t fix it. Immigrants are essential to our society and our economy. Immigrants make America stronger. Not only do immigrants support us—immigrants are us. Our families and our communities, our congregations and our schools, our businesses large and small have been built and sustained through the inclusion of immigrants. That’s why Democrats commit to building a 21st century immigration system that reflects our values, repairs past harms, heals our communities, rebuilds our economy, and renews our global leadership.
Democrats believe it is long past time to provide a roadmap to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers, caregivers, students, and children who are an essential part of our economy and of the fabric of our nation. We will reinstate, expand, and streamline protections for Dreamers and the parents of American citizen children to keep families together in the communities they have long called home. We will also eliminate unfair barriers to naturalization, reduce application backlogs, and make our immigration processes faster, more efficient, and less costly. Democrats believe family unity should be a guiding principle for our immigration policy. We will prioritize family reunification for children still separated from their families, and we will restore family reunification programs ended by the Trump Administration. Democrats will prioritize investments in more effective and cost-efficient community-based alternatives to detention. We will end for-profit detention centers and ensure that any facility where migrants are being detained is held to the highest standards of care and guarantees their safety and dignity.
A 21st century immigration system that honors our values is an essential prerequisite not just to recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but to strengthening our democracy and guaranteeing America’s long-term economic competitiveness. That’s why Democrats believe in improving and increasing opportunities for legal, permanent immigration.
Providing a World-Class Education in Every ZIP Code
Education is fundamental to the idea of America and to fulfilling our nation’s promise. It is the key to addressing the challenges before us—to growing our economy, maintaining American competitiveness on the world stage, and building a more just, equitable, civically engaged, and socially conscientious nation. As Democrats, we believe that education is a critical public good—not a commodity—and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every child, everywhere, is able to receive a world-class education that enables them to lead meaningful lives, no matter their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability status, language status, immigration or citizenship status, household income or ZIP code.
For too long, we have short-changed our children by underinvesting in our nation’s public schools and in our higher education system. Our public schools are bedrock community institutions, and yet our educators are underpaid, our classrooms are overstuffed, and our school buildings have been neglected, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Roughly six in 10 jobs require at least some education beyond high school, and yet the ever-rising cost of college tuition and fees leaves higher education out of reach—or saddles students with a lifetime of debt.
Democrats believe we can and must do better for our children, our educators, and our country. We are committed to making the investments our students and teachers need to build equity and safeguard humanity in our educational system and guarantee every child can receive a great education. We will reimagine our education system guided by the stakeholders and qualified, first-class, well-trained, passionate educators who know these issues best: young people, educators, parents, and community leaders.
Renewing American Leadership and Restoring the Soul of the Nation
Democrats believe that we can only be strong in the world when we are strong and united at home. We believe that a healthy democracy, just society, and inclusive economy are essential prerequisites for effective American leadership abroad. And we believe that the ultimate measure —and purpose—of our foreign policy is whether it protects and advances America’s security, prosperity and values—and delivers results for all Americans.
President Trump promised he would put “America First”—but Trump’s America stands alone. Under his leadership, America’s reputation and influence are in tatters. But closing the chapter on “America First” is just the beginning of the work ahead. We must meet the world as it is today, not as it was before President Trump’s destruction. That’s why we cannot simply aspire to restore American leadership. We must reinvent it for a new era.
Democrats will ensure that the reinvention of American leadership abroad prioritizes and accelerates our renewal at home. We will root a disciplined foreign policy in the needs and aspirations of the American middle class and the imperative of building a more dynamic, fair, and resilient society—the ultimate wellspring of our power.