Who are we as Democrats?
We are people who believe in opportunity for everyone.
We believe in equal rights under the law, and the dignity of every person.
We are people who believe in education, health care, and a secure retirement for everyone.
And the party that fights for everyone must once again become the party that fights everywhere.
We need a fifty state strategy!
We need to recruit new candidates!
And we need to contest and win offices up and down the ballot again!
It’s called the Democratic National Committee for good reason!
Not merely the Democratic Congressional Committee.
Not the Democratic East Coast Committee;
Or the Democratic West Coast Committee.
It’s called, the Democratic National Committee!
— Indiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah —
We must be about the well-being of the whole Nation;
Not just a few pieces of it!
And that’s why I am so glad to be here with you in Utah tonight.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate some very important things that happened here this past election.
With your help, Democrats picked up two new state house seats in Salt Lake County – including Karen Kwan’s win in the 34th district – you all can see she’s going to be a tremendous Democratic voice in the state house.
The first Chinese-American elected to the Utah State Legislature.
With your help, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams was reelected — one of the up and coming new leaders to watch in our country.
With your help, Democrats swept the partisan offices in Summit County.
With your help, Utah Democrats had their best field operation in party history, and increased Democratic turnout by 10%.
Yes, the road ahead is long and tough, but this is where the comeback begins!
And this is where the resistance starts!
I know you are angry.
I know you are disappointed.
But don’t stop talking to your neighbors, don’t cut off conversation with those family members!
Share the truth with them – because even if they voted for Trump, they’ll be disappointed soon enough!
Martin Luther King — whose life we celebrate on Monday — once said: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
And so we shall!
I want to talk with you tonight about our Nation.
I want to talk with you tonight about our Party.
And I want to talk with you about the actions we must take — in the days at hand — to correct our national mistake….
Many years ago, Robert Kennedy said:
“Democracy is no easy form of government. Few nations have been able to sustain it. For it requires that we take the chances of freedom; that the liberating play of reason be brought to bear on events filled with passion; that dissent be allowed to make its appeal for acceptance; that [we] chance error in [our] search for the truth.”
I have come to believe that for every positive action in politics — and perhaps in the universe — there is a negative reaction.
For every light, there is a shadow.
And about this I have no doubt:
The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States was a very good thing!
Our country is a stronger, better nation for the leadership and accomplishments of President Obama.
President Obama lifted us from the depths of what was, quite nearly, a second great depression. Today, our economy has achieved a record 82 straight months in a row of private sector job growth!
Today, Americans don’t lose their insurance coverage because they get sick. Women don’t pay more for coverage because they’re women. Americans have the ability to get health coverage regardless of income or zip code. In short, Americans don’t lose their health insurance coverage because they have the gall to need it.
Today, 10 million students and their families have an easier time paying for college because the president doubled funding for Pell Grants.
Today, because of our President, we are less reliant on foreign oil than at any time in decades.
Much was accomplished, and yet, much work remains.
We had only just begun to see wages rise.
Many of us feel like we have been pulled from the football field of our recovery after only the first half.
The hard truth of our times is that we have allowed our Party to become weak.
Fascism succeeds only when public institutions are very weak.
At a National level, we relegated our Party to the status of a shell corporation for bad debt.
Or worse, a tool to stifle debate.
We have lost more Governor’s offices, Statehouses, and local offices over the last eight years than anytime in memory.
We have not acted like a National Party.
And it has cost our country dearly.
Now, the Republican Party is chomping at the bit to rollback progress…
What self-respecting legislative body holds a voting session at 1:10am to take away healthcare coverage from 30 million citizens?
Yet, that is what our new Republican Senate did this week.
They are in such a hurry to take health care coverage away from millions of Americans that they won’t even listen to members of their own party.
I say, you want to take away health care coverage from millions of Americans – then do it face to face. Go to the homes of Americans, and take the medicine out of their cabinets, snatch the glasses from their faces, steal the health from their lives.
And then explain how that makes American great.
Herbert Hoover – the Republican president who thought the best response to the Great Depression was to sit back and watch it happen – once ran on the slogan of a “chicken in every pot.”
With the cabinet he’s assembling, Donald Trump is promising us a fox for every henhouse.
His nominee for Labor Secretary hates the minimum wage so much, that his fast food chain was sanctioned BY the labor department for failing to pay it.
His nominee for Energy Secretary hates the Energy Department so much he called for its elimination when he could remember its name.
His nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency spent his time as Oklahoma attorney general suing the EPA to stop it from protecting anything; he even sued us in Maryland to try to prevent us from restoring the health of the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
And his nominee for Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson – has worked to protect and promote Russian interests.
The framers of our country’s Constitution foresaw so many of the challenges that our nation might face from within.
In 1788, Alexander Hamilton warned that one day our country would be saddled with a candidate who was, quote, “ambitious, avaricious, and desperate.”
One who would “possess” — for a time — the people’s “confidence more than” he deserved it.
“Withstand the temporary delusion” Hamilton said. Because one day, there will be “lasting monuments” built to honor those who had the courage to resist.
We don’t need a monument, we’ll carry on the fight because our nation needs us.
“Whatever is the more true comes out into the open,… and whatever is better is ultimately realized.”
And the truth we must tell our country is this:
Our economy isn’t money – our economy is people – all of our people.
The more American workers earn, the more they can spend, and the more our economy grows.
We will carry on the fight to make the minimum wage a living wage.
To make an affordable college degree a gateway to opportunity, not a trap door to a lifetime of debt.
To make it easier for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages — because that helps all of us!
For Overtime pay for overtime work.
Expanded Social Security.
And retirement with dignity.
These are the choices that will make wages rise again!
Equal pay for equal work for men and women — because when women succeed, America succeeds!
Like so many Americans, my own great grandparents were mostly immigrant people. Their first language was not English, but the hopes and dreams they had for their children and grandchildren were purely American.
They understood the stronger we make our country, the more she gives back to our children and grandchildren.
The same is true today.
Forcing 11 million of our neighbors to live and work in the shadows, might be a good for the short-term profits of Donald Trump’s hotels, but it’s not good for America’s economy and the cause of rising wages!
For the good of our nation and the good of our economy, we must never stop fighting for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
The America we love does not engage in torture!
The America we love does not build walls and for-profit prisons!
The America we love does not lock-up women and children in shameful Immigrant internment camps!
Because the defining symbol of our nation is not the barbed wire fence, it is the Statue of Liberty!
Americans don’t cower in the face of change, we make our own future.
Climate change is the greatest business and job-creating opportunity to come to the United States in a 100 Years.
If Federal efforts are sidelined for the next four years, then Cities like Salt Lake City, and States like California, Iowa, Maryland, and others must lead! Just like they have led for these last eight years!
This election means the loss — for a time — of American political leadership; but it does not mean the loss of leadership by Americans!
As the poet laureate of the American Dream, Bruce Springsteen, once wrote: “it is time to pick up the pieces and move forward.”
The root cause of America’s greatness is that we made ourselves “the land of opportunity” — where every person regardless of race, or class, or place can work hard and get ahead,
The root cause of Donald Trump’s political success is fear — the fear that it is no longer so.
— fear that my family and I are falling behind
— fear that I will earn less, and be worth less, in the days ahead
— fear that my children will lead lesser lives than I have.
The question is always whether we change our world, or whether it changes us…
When fear becomes the animating emotion of an electorate, otherwise decent people can become duped by scape-goating, and fascist appeals.
That minority group, over there, is stealing your greatness.
That religious group is a threat to your safety.
Immigrants are destroying our country.
Implicitly, “we must make America white again…”
It is an illusion — a temporary picture. It is peddled as truth, but it is only a lie…
The truth is: Our diversity is our greatest strength.
There is dignity in every person.
As the poet said: “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”
And our best days are still ahead of us.
I leave you with this final story.
Construction of the Salt Lake Temple began in 1853. But the building wasn’t finished until 1893 – a full generation later.
Literally, one generation laid the groundwork for the next one. They believed in what they were doing – and their work stands magnificently today because they never gave up and we must heed their example.
Now is not the time to accept hate, or religious bigotry.
Now is not the time for reconciliation.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer never reconciled with the Nazis. Bishop Romero never reconciled with the oligarchs of El Salvador. And Martin Luther King, Jr. never reconciled with the KKK.
Now is not the time to go silent in the face of injustice.
Now is not time to watch, idly as our nation suffers.
Now is not the time to surrender!
Now is the time to stand up!
Everything you do now lays the groundwork for what comes next.
Make no mistake about it.
This Democratic Party of ours will rise again – because we will never give up the fight.
What is resistance made of? It’s made of belief.
And this I believe with all my heart — our country is worth fighting for!
Our values are worth fighting for!
An American future for our grandchildren is worth fighting for!
Liberty, Justice, and Opportunity for All!
May God bless you.
God bless Utah.
And may God bless and protect the United States of America.