In the draft for the 2016 platform of the Democratic Party, there is a break with the view of current presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The draft endorses abolishing the death penalty, which Clinton still supports.
The document was released on Friday afternoon by the Democratic National Committee, and it reads: “We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment. It has no place in the United States of America.” This position is unlike the 2012 one, in which the platform did not call for an end to the capital punishment, saying that “the death penalty must not be arbitrary.”
This view goes against what Hillary Clinton supports. No later than October she acknowledged that there are issues with the way the death penalty is used, but she also declared that it should not be altogether terminated.
“We have a lot of evidence now that the death penalty has been too frequently applied, and too often in a discriminatory way. So I think we have to take a hard look at it,” she said. She also added “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”
However, in March, she said she would “breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states, themselves, began to eliminate the death penalty.” Still, she considers it valuable right now on the federal level.
Citing the Oklahoma City bombing as an example, she declared: “Where I end up is this, and maybe it is distinction that is hard to support, but at this point, given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction for very limited purposes, I think that it can still be held in reserve for those.”
According to The Huffington Post, the Clinton campaign declared that she supports the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the man who is accused for shooting nine parishioners in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The platform released on Friday seems to be a compromise between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her competitor in the primary, who opposes capital punishment. One of Clinton’s campaign spokesperson said that the platform “represents diverse views across the democratic coalition”, even though in cases such as on the death penalty, the current nominee “has a slightly different position.”
Sanders was able to name five members to the 15-member Democratic National Committee, while Clinton chose six, and DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz chose four.
The committee approved the death penalty provision with only one abstention by a DNC appointee, and the draft of the platform will now go to the full 187-member committee for approval on July 8 and 9 in Orlando. Later on, it will be ratified on the floor of the convention in Philadelphia.