Monday, November 16, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
The Struggle Continues
Thank you and congratulations.
Because of your efforts, we have won the most important election in the modern history of our country.
As I've said many times, this election was not just about Biden vs. Trump and what their views on the issues were. It went much deeper than that. This was an election about whether we end pathological lying in the White House and retain democracy and the rule of law in our country, and thank God, we have done that.
In the days and weeks to come I'm sure that everyone in the world is going to be taking credit for Biden's victory, and the media and the pundits will have their views. But let me just say this.
In my view, multi-racial, multi-generational progressive grassroots organizations all across this country played an extraordinary role in helping to make this victory possible. We made phone calls, we texted, we registered voters, we did virtual rallies, we distributed literature and we knocked on doors when possible. Knowing the importance of this election we did everything that we could, and more.
Together, we built widespread support for Biden among young people, people of color and the working class. In my view, Biden's success would not have been possible without those extraordinary efforts.
And I just want to thank you all for what you did.
One of the areas where the progressive movement had real success was getting more and more young people into the voting booth and into the political process. The latest estimates that I have seen show that over 53% of young people ages 18 to 29 voted, which not only eclipses 2016's turnout rate, but would be the highest youth turnout rate in American history. And those young people voted overwhelmingly for Biden and other Democrats.
In battlegrounds like Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia young voters very strongly supported Biden and other Democrats. In Georgia, for example, 90% of young black voters and 62% of young white voters chose Biden over Trump. And that made all the difference not only in winning that state for Biden, but forcing two Republican senators into runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. One of the candidates in that runoff election is Reverend Raphael Warnock, whom we strongly supported.
Further, the strong economic agenda that the progressive movement fought for helped bring out low-income working people to vote for Biden. National exit polls show that voters with an annual family income under $50,000 voted against Trump by a 15-point margin.
Needless to say, my campaign staff and I were deeply involved in this campaign. Over the last few months we hosted more than 20 virtual rallies, viewed by millions of people, in battleground states as well as special events with young people, rural voters, the Latino community and the Muslim community.
Starting in October, we re-launched some of our very effective organizing work to reach out directly to voters in key battleground states. A dedicated group of staff and volunteers had one-on-one conversations with voters to get them the information they needed to cast their votes in this election. Further, we ended up sending 4.6 million texts across 14 states thanks to the efforts of more than 800 texting volunteers who helped mobilize our movement in support of 75 down-ballot candidates and propositions.
We also played an active role in supporting down-ballot progressive candidates, because we understand that real change comes from the bottom on up. In total, we endorsed more than 200 candidates running for local and state positions. Of those races that have been called, two-thirds of our endorsed candidates won.
It is also worth mentioning that many progressive ballot initiatives passed across the country. In Florida, voters chose to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. Colorado voters passed an initiative to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave. The people of Arizona voted to increase taxes on those making over $250,000 to increase funding for public education.
But now, as we celebrate our victories, we understand that our struggle is not over. It has just begun. We have accomplished step one by defeating Trump. Much more needs to be done.
Not only do we have to win the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia coming up in January so that we can have Democratic control over the U.S. Senate, but we're going to have to do everything possible to make sure that Congress and the new president move rapidly and aggressively to address the enormous crises facing our country.
In the next several months I will present to the Senate an agenda that I would like to see passed in the first 100 days of the new Congress. This is an agenda that, among many other proposals, will include a strong COVID-19 relief package that protects the unemployed and small businesses.
It is an agenda that will end starvation wages in America, make it easier for workers to join unions and provide equal pay for equal work.
It is an agenda that will create millions of good-paying jobs as we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
It is an agenda that makes health care a human right as we move toward a Medicare for All single-payer system, and an agenda that substantially lowers the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs in this country.
It is an agenda that will make it possible for all working class young people to gain a college education without going into debt, and will radically improve our dysfunctional childcare system.
It is an agenda that will create millions of good-paying jobs as we lead the world in combating climate change and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel.
It is an agenda that demands that the wealthy and powerful start paying their fair share of taxes.
It is an agenda that will take on the systemic racism that prevails throughout our country and our broken and racist criminal justice system.
It is an agenda that will lead to comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship for the undocumented.
Sisters and brothers, we have come a long way in the last five years. But the truth is that we still have an incredible amount of work ahead of us, and the path forward will not be easy.
Let us continue going forward together. Let us continue our struggle to transform this country and create a government based on the principles of justice.
Thank you for all you've done, and will do, for our movement.