The Democratic Presidential Debates Must Address Poverty

The DNC and News Networks

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After five rounds of debate in the Democratic primary race, it’s way past time to have a discussion about one of the most pressing issues of our times: the epidemic levels of poverty in the United States. So far, the moderators have yet to ask a single question about poverty.

Please join us in calling on the Democratic National Committee and the News Networks hosting televised Democratic Party primary debates to prioritize questions on the crisis of poverty, housing, and hunger in the United States.

We must ensure that the concerns of the poorest Americans are being addressed. We need to hear the candidates' plans for alleviating and eliminating poverty in America.

Background:

Over 43 million people in this country – more than 1 in 8 Americans – live below the poverty line. Every night, over 500,000 people experiencing homelessness struggle to find a place to sleep on our nation’s streets.

Millions of impoverished and low-income families, including nearly 13 million children, suffer from a lack of housing and hunger, putting them at higher risk for health and developmental issues.

International observers, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, have expressed shock at seeing levels of extreme poverty in the United States – rivalling anywhere in the world – that should not exist in the richest nation on Earth.

Since the Great Depression, the Democratic Party has taken up the mission of fighting for the rights and causes of the poor and marginalized in our society. The Democratic Party platform affirms its commitment to combat poverty, and to use the powers, resources, and mechanisms of government to lift up communities that have been left out and left behind.

Many who identify with the Democrats do so because the Party has long stood for greater justice, equity and fairness in our economy and society.

The 2020 presidential election is one of the most important and pivotal moments in our nation’s history; a vote that will define the spirit and priorities of our nation for many years to come.

But as the Democratic Party debates what vision of America they will stand for, as an alternative to the callous hatred and bigotry of the Republicans and Trump, we have yet to hear the DNC engage our Democratic presidential candidates explicitly on the deepening crisis of poverty in the United States.

We have yet to hear the voices of our most vulnerable and impoverished communities on the national stage – voices that are integral to our democracy, and must be prioritized if the Democratic Party is to represent an inclusive vision of an America that works for all of us.

To: The DNC and News Networks
From: [Your Name]

We call on the Democratic National Committee and the News Networks hosting televised Democratic Party primary debates to prioritize questions on the crisis of poverty, housing, and hunger in the United States; and to ensure that the voices and concerns of the poorest Americans are being heard at this critically important moment for our democracy.