5 min readJan 5, 2020


Untitled, Oil on Panel, 23.5" x 31.5", Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

My proposed language for inclusion in the Democratic Platform 2020 below is taken, almost verbatim, from sections of a single source document, the Republican Platform 2016. They won’t be using it.

In addition to the many very positive principles Democrats support, some of which are identified below, the DNC Platform Committee might consider adding specific items Democrats are against. Those might include science denial, family separation, caging children, human rights violations, crimes against humanity, war crimes, assassinations, damaging and destroying alliances including NATO, placating tyrants and despots, violations of the Emoluments Clause, obstruction of justice in all its forms, obstruction of Congress in all its forms, abuse of executive power, bribery and extortion of foreign governments for personal political gain, inviting foreign interference in United States elections, an executive who is not subject to meaningful oversight, government attacks on the media, use of the DOJ to target personal and political enemies, using the DOJ to target media organizations that do not report in ways that please the executive, an executive who is not accountable to the Article I and III Branches, opacity . . . .

“Our Constitution is in crisis. . . . The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen. The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional ‘recess’ appointments to Senate-confirmed positions [and designated appointees as ‘acting’ in order to prevent Senate and constitutional oversight], . . . and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas. He has changed what John Adams called ‘a government of laws and not of men’ into just the opposite.”

“[Republicans] in Congress have enabled, supported, and defended each of these breaches. They have applauded the President’s efforts to do an end-run around Congress and stymied [Democratic] efforts to restrain executive lawlessness. . . .”

“Our most urgent task as a Party is to restore the American people’s faith in their government by electing a president who will enforce duly enacted laws, honor constitutional limits on executive authority, and return credibility to the Oval Office. We need a [Democratic] president who will end abuses of power . . . by the White House itself. Safeguarding our liberties requires a president who will respect the Constitution’s separation of powers . . . . Americans also deserve a president who will speak for our nation’s history and values . . . .”

“The rule of law is the foundation of our Republic. . . . We believe in the constitutional checks and balances . . . .”

“[W]e recommit ourselves, as individuals and as a party, to the rule of law and the pursuit of justice. The conduct of the Department of Justice has included refusal to enforce laws, stonewalling congressional committees, destroying evidence . . . and defying . . . citation[s] for contempt. . . . A new administration must ensure the immediate dismissal and, where appropriate, prosecution of any Department officials who have violated their oath of office. The next president must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself. Additionally, the next president must not sow seeds of division and distrust between the police and the people they have sworn to serve and protect. The [Democratic] Party [is the] party of law and order.”

“For the people of Russia, we affirm our respect and our determination to maintain a friendship beyond the reach of those who wish to divide us. We have common imperatives: Ending terrorism, combating nuclear proliferation, promoting trade, and more. We also have a common problem: The continuing erosion of personal liberty and fundamental rights under the current officials in the Kremlin. Repressive at home and reckless abroad, their policies imperil the nations which regained their self-determination upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine, Georgia, or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate constitutional measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination. . . .”

“We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate [and timely] assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning. All our adversaries heard the message in the Administration’s cutbacks: America is weaker and retreating. Concomitantly, we honor, support, and thank all law enforcement, first responders, and emergency personnel for their service.”

“We are also the party of the Constitution, the greatest political document ever written. It is the solemn compact built upon principles of the Declaration that enshrines our God-given individual rights and ensures that all Americans stand equal before the law, defines the purposes and limits of government, and is the blueprint for ordered liberty that makes the United States the world’s freest and most prosperous nation. We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental principles: . . . separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, [sexual orientation or identity], or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination. . . . [W]e must continue to foster solutions to America’s difficult challenges when it comes to race relations today. . . .”

More to come.

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to and

**Richard J Van Wagoner is my father. His list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in and are hers




Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.