I am very glad to be here with all of you in Wyoming tonight.
Especially, here in Thermopolis — home of your former Governor, and my friend and colleague — Dave Freudenthal.
The people of Wyoming have elected some terrific Democratic Governors — like Mike Sullivan. A man who went on to fill the best Ambassadorship the United States has to offer.
Hopefully, one day very soon, Wyoming will elect another Democratic Governor and another woman as Governor as we rally around Mary Throne for Governor!
What will America come to mean for the little 3rd grade boy or girl in that classroom in Cody, Wyoming?
Will we be a strong, generous, compassionate nation that offers opportunity for all, or will we become something less?
And this year, Democrats in Wyoming have achieved some important victories!
You elected Lisa Anselmi-Dalton to the State Senate!
And you elected Mike Gierau and Debbie Bovee to the State House!
Every state is needed; every person is needed.
There are opportunities to pick up seats and win races here in Wyoming like we haven’t had in a long time — for State House, State Senate, county offices and school boards.
Let me share some good news with you from different states across our country.
True stories of Democratic resurgence.
Stephanie Hansen’s State Senate win in Delaware. Jim Lykam and Monica Kurth’s victories in the Senate and House of Iowa. Michael Brooks-Jimenez and Karen Gaddis in the Oklahoma Statehouse just last week.
What do they all have in common?
Each of these candidates won special elections to their Statehouses with margins that were 15 to 20 points higher than they would have been before Donald Trump!
Tonight — here in Wyoming — we are going to step-up to the reality of the work ahead of us.
And we are going to do so with the joy that comes from knowing we can change the future of our country for the better….
Why We Are Democrats
Riding down from Cody with your 2016 Congressional candidate, Ryan Greene, it was very apparent that you have all chosen to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Turn to your neighbor, tell them, “it’s good to be a Democrat in Wyoming…”
Why are we Democrats?
Because of the powerful beliefs that unite us:
Our belief in the dignity of every person.
Our belief in the Common Good we share.
Our understanding that we are all in this together; and “we must help each other if we are to succeed”
Our mission as Democrats?
To strengthen and grow our middle class — including our family owned businesses and our family farms.
To improve public safety and public education in every part of our country.
To expand opportunity — the opportunity to learn and to earn; the opportunity to enjoy the health of the people we love and need; and the health of the environment we need to more people — including future generations: our children and grandchildren.
Darkness Makes a Great Canvass
These first six months of the Trump Administration have been exhausting, haven’t they?
This Administration is malice tempered only by incompetence.
They have set the all-time speed record for the fastest appointment of a Special Prosecutor in Presidential history.
Every new day brings new revelations about their secret dealings with the Russians.
(I’m quite sure Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave. “Take down this wall” indeed.)
This isn’t a first family, it’s a crime family.
These guys aren’t modeling the Founding Fathers, they’re modeling “The Godfather”.
And it doesn’t stop with family.
Herbert Hoover once promised a “chicken in every pot.”
Donald Trump’s cabinet looks more like a fox in every henhouse.
His new federal Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos — bless her heart — who has never spent a day working in public education, seems hell-bent on defunding public education by spending taxpayer dollars on private charter schools.
As you well know, your own state legislature cut $35 million for the University of Wyoming last year. And earlier this year, they cut $34.5 million for K-12 education.
It seems “less education for all” has become a new plank in the Republican Party platform.
But fear not, Wyoming;
Darkness makes a great canvass.
There is a new well-spring of activism rising up all across our country.
Our job — in the days ahead — is not only to recruit and back good candidates up and down the ballot
But to speak to the goodness within our country,… to call that goodness forward…
If you ever have doubts about where our country is headed, talk to our young people under 30.
You will rarely find among them people who deny climate change, or want to bash new American immigrants,… or deny rights to gay couples or their kids…
All of that should confirm what you already sense in your heart — our best days are still ahead of us.
The United States of America
You and I are part of a living, self-creating mystery, called the United States of America.
But the promise at the heart of that mystery is actually a very real and concrete thing.
It is the promise that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should get ahead; you should be able to give your children a better life
The Truth of the American Dream
Thanks to the Democratic leadership of President Obama, our country created the longest stretch of consecutive monthly job growth since 1932!
That’s 82 months in a row of positive monthly job growth…
And yet, the number of white male suicides in our country has never been higher…
It is the economic, political, and spiritual question of our times.
The great, poet laureate of the American Dream, Bruce Springsteen, once asked: “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”
The truth is — Our jobs recovery has been uneven.
Uneven across the map of the United States, and uneven across the skills and education levels of our people.
There was no jobs recovery for those of us with a high school diploma or less.
Take-home pay for too many Americans continues to flat-line or decline.
When people feel their country no longer works for them, voting becomes merely an act of protest.
We have work to do.
The Politics of Fear
The core of Donald Trump’s political success to date is fear — the fear that, for so many of our families, the American Dream has become a lie.
— 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 have lesser and fewer opportunities than my father and mother gave me
— fear that the American Dream for my family has become a lie…
When fear becomes the driving national emotion, otherwise decent people can be duped by scapegoating and fascist appeals.
Whisper and shout.
That minority group, over there, is stealing your freedom and your job.
That religious group over there is a threat to your safety.
Immigrants are destroying your country.
Whisper and shout.
Implicitly, and sometimes not just implicitly, “we must make America white again…”
He uses all of that fear and loathing to create an illusion — a phony picture. A passing, temporary thing designed to fool and mislead.
It is peddled as truth, but, it is a lie.
You cannot create jobs by concentrating wealth in the hands of the few!
You cannot lift up the middle class by holding down wages!
Our diversity is our greatest strength!
And, you cannot increase the well-being of Americans by pushing 23 million people off of health care!
Our Economy is Not Money, It’s People
Unassailable Fact — Job creation under Democratic Presidents since 1947 has outpaced job creation under Republican Presidents by two and half times.
Because as Democrats, we understand our economy is not money, it is people — all of our people.
The more our workers earn, the more our workers spend, and the stronger our economy grows.
American capitalism can actually work pretty well so long as we keep people in the center of the equation!
Yes, the challenges are very real: Income inequality, declining wages, a shrinking middle class.
The rising costs of healthcare and college.
While some challenges are new, the question for us as Americans is always the same — will the world change us, or will we change our world?
Think of your parents and grandparents.
Picture their faces.
Their world had problems too.
But they understood a powerful truth these modern-day robber barons and serial bankruptcy artists never can — and it is this: the stronger we make our country, the more she can give back to us, to our children, to our grandchildren.
Actions Not Words
As Americans, we don’t cower in the face of change, we anticipate change and we make the future ours!
It’s about actions, not words.
Unlike the plutocrats and incompetents of the Trump Administration, we believe our government should actually work!
When I led my own state as Governor through a recession, we achieved the highest median income in the country, a faster rate of job growth than our neighbors to the north and south, and we made our schools the number one public schools in America for five years in a row.
We didn’t do it by disparaging our teachers, we did my supporting our teachers.
“To govern is to choose” — so said John Kennedy, so say we all!
Therefore, we must:
Create new jobs by tackling new challenges with new skills.
Make the minimum wage a living wage.
Improve public education, and make affordable college a gateway to opportunity, not a trap door to life-long debt.
Make it easier for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively for better pay — because that helps all of us!
Overtime pay for overtime work.
Comprehensive immigration reform so the cause of higher wages isn’t held down by an off-the-books economy.
We must expand – not cut – Social Security so all of our seniors can retire with dignity.
Equal pay for equal work for men and women — because when women succeed, America succeeds!
These are the choices that strengthen and grow our middle class.
These are the choices that make our country better.
These are the actions that create opportunity for all!
It’s not one thing — it is all of these things and more!
For all of the challenges we face, our country remains a very large and powerful idea — large enough, still, to carry the hopes and dreams that all of us have for our kids.
Our Enduring American Values
In 1788, Alexander Hamilton warned that one day our country would be saddled with a candidate who was, “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.
We have allowed our National Party to become weak.
But we can make it strong again.
We have lost more Governor’s offices, Statehouses, and local offices over the last eight years than any time in memory.
But it’s not how low you go, it’s how high you bounce!
There are 39 Governor’s races up in 2018 and 2019, and hundreds and hundreds of state legislative races as well.
To govern the United States again, we must first win back our States again!
So, don’t give up on your neighbors, Wyoming — or your family members, or your friends.
Share the truth with them. Keep inviting them back to the table of democracy.
If they voted for Trump and still aren’t disappointed, don’t give up on them! — they’ll be disappointed soon enough!
In 1869, when the then-Wyoming Territory approved its Constitution, Wyoming became the first government in the world to grant women equal voting rights.
Shortly thereafter, Esther Hobart Morris, the “Mother of Woman Suffrage” began serving as justice of the peace in South Pass City – the first woman in the United States to hold such a position.
Decades later, after the rest of the country caught up and ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, Wyoming, elected Nellie Tayloe Ross as America’s first woman Governor.
The movement of Wyoming is forward, not back.
And so it is with our country.
Opportunity for All.
There is a goodness within our country — we see it in the eyes of our children.
It is time to call that goodness forward.
God bless you.
God bless Wyoming.
And may God bless and protect the United States of America.