Elizabeth Warren Convention Speech and Transcript
Senator from Massachusetts
Monday, July 25th, 2016
2016 Democratic National Convention
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Thank you, thank you!
Thank you Joe, and thank you Massachusetts for the great honor of serving as your senator. Thank you guys! What a night. Wow. Michelle Obama, Cory Booker. And we still have Bernie coming up. Bernie reminds us what Democrats fight for every day. Thank you, Bernie. Thank you.
Now we're here tonight because America faces a choice — the choice of a new president. On one side is a man who inherited a fortune from his father and kept it going by cheating people, by skipping out on debts. A man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone. A man who cares only for himself, every minute of every day. On the other side is one of the smartest, toughest, most tenacious people on this planet, a woman who fights for children, for women, for healthcare, for human rights — a woman who fights for all of us and is strong enough to win those fights. We're here today because our choice is Hillary Clinton. I'm with Hillary. I'm with Hillary. I'm with Hillary.
You know, for me, this choice is personal. It's about who are as people, it's about what kind of a country we want to be. I grew up in Oklahoma. My daddy ended up as a maintenance man and my mom worked a minimum wage job at Sears. My three brothers served in the military... Me? I got married at 19, graduated from a commuter college in Texas that cost $50 a semester. The way I see it, I'm a janitor's daughter who became a public school teacher, a professor, and a United States senator. America is truly a country of opportunity, truly. I am deeply grateful to that America. I believe in that America. But I'm worried. I'm worried that my story is locked in the past, worried that opportunity is slipping away for people who work hard and play to the rules. I mean look around — Americans bust their tails, some working two or three jobs, but wages stay flat... the costs are out of sight. Young people are getting crushed by student loans, working people are in debt... Even families who are okay today worry it could all fall apart tomorrow. This is not right. It is not.
And here's the thing. America isn't going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all-time highs... There is lots of wealth in America but it isn't trickling down to hard-working families like yours. Does anyone here have a problem with that? Well I do, too. People get it. The system is rigged. It's true. Now, so-called experts claim America's in trouble because both political parties in Washington refuse to compromise — gridlock. That is just flat wrong. Washington works great for those at the top. When giant companies wanted more tax loopholes, Washington got it done. When huge energy companies wanted to tear up the environment, Washington got it done... Try to do something, anything, for working people and you'll have a fight on your hand. Democrats have taken on those fights. That's what we do.
Democrats fought to get health insurance for more Americans. Democrats fought for a strong consumer agency so big banks can't cheat people. We fought, we won, and we improved the lives of millions of people. Thank you, Barack Obama. Yes, we won, but Republicans and lobbyists battled us every step of the way. Five years later, that consumer agency has returned $11 billion to families who were cheated. And Republicans? Republicans, they're still trying to kill it. Look, I'm not someone who thinks Republicans are always wrong and Democrats are always right. There's enough blame to go around. But there's a huge difference between people fighting for a level playing field and people fighting to keep the system rigged.
Look at Congress since the Republicans took over. Democrats proposed refinancing student loans and Republicans? They said no. Democrats proposed ending tax breaks for corporations that shipped jobs overseas, and Republicans said no. Democrats proposed raising the minimum wage and Republicans? They said no... This November, we're coming for you.
And where was Donald Trump? In all of these fights, not once did he lift a finger to help working people. And why would he? His whole life has been about taking advantage of that rigged system. Time after time, he preyed on working people, people in debt, people who had fallen on hard times... Donald Trump goes on and on and on about being a successful businessman but he filed business bankruptcy six times, always to protect his own money and stick the investors and contractors with the bill. Donald Trump hired plumbers and painters and construction workers to do hard labor for his businesses and then he told them to take only a fraction of what he owed... So what kind of a man acts like this? What kind of a man roots for an economic crash that caused millions of people their jobs, their homes, their life savings? What kind of a man cheats students, cheats investors, cheats workers? I'll tell you what kind of a man — a man who must never be president of the United States. Never. And we've got the leaders to make it happen: Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. They're going to make it happen.
Look. Donald Trump knows that the American people are angry — a fact so obvious he can see it from the top of the Trump Tower. So now, he's insisting that he and he alone can fix the rigged system. Last week, Donald Trump spoke for more than an hour on the biggest stage he's ever had. But other than talking about building a stupid wall — which will never get built — other than that wall, did you hear any actual ideas? Did you hear even one solid proposal from Trump for increasing incomes or improving your kids' educations or even creating even one good-paying job? Look, let's face it. Donald Trump has no real plans for jobs or for college kids or for seniors, no plans to make anything great for anyone except the rich guys like Donald Trump. Just look at his ideas. Donald Trump wants to get rid of the federal minimum wage... Donald Trump has a tax plan to give multimillionaires and billionaires like himself an average tax cut of $1.3 million a year. You know, you're struggling to put your kids through college and Trump thinks he needs a million-dollar tax break? ... The great Trump hot air machine will reveal all the answers. And for one low low price, he'll even throw in a goofy hat.
And here's the really ugly underside to his pitch. Trump thinks he can win votes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred. By turning neighbor against neighbor. By persuading you that the real problem in America is your fellow Americans – people who don’t look like you, or don’t talk like you, or don’t worship like you. He even picked a vice president famous for trying to make it legal to openly discriminate against gays and lesbians. That’s Donald Trump’s America. An America of fear and hate. An America where we all break apart. Whites against blacks and Latinos. Christians against Muslims and Jews. Straight against gay. Everyone against immigrants. Race, religion, heritage, gender — the more factions the better. But ask yourself this. When white workers in Ohio are pitted against black workers in North Carolina, or Latino workers in Florida — who really benefits?
Divide and conquer is an old story in America. Dr. Martin Luther King knew it. After his march from Selma to Montgomery, he spoke of how segregation was created to keep people divided. Instead of higher wages for workers, Dr. King described how poor whites in the South were fed Jim Crow, which told a poor white worker that, “no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.” Racial hatred was part of keeping the powerful on top.
When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street, oil companies can fight off clean energy, and giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas. When we turn on each other, rich guys like Trump can push through tax breaks for themselves... When we turn on each other, we can’t unite to fight back against a rigged system.
Well, I’ve got news for Donald Trump. The American people are not falling for it! We've seen this ugliness before and we're not going to be Donald Trump's hate-filled America. Not now, not ever. This is about our values, about our shared values with our candidates Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Let's talk about those values. We believe that no matter who you are, no matter where you're from, no matter who you love, equal means equal. Hillary will fight to make sure that discrimination has no place in America and we're with her.
We believe that no one, no one who works full time should live in poverty. Hillary will fight to raise the minimum wage, fair scheduling, paid family and medical leave, and we're with her. We believe every kid in America should have a chance for a great education without getting crushed by debt. Hillary will fight for refinancing student loans and debt-free college. We are with her. And we believe that after a lifetime of hard work, seniors should be able to retire with dignity. Hillary will fight to expand Social Security, strengthen Medicare, and protect our retirement accounts, and we're with her.
We believe that oil companies shouldn't call the shots in Washington, that science matters, that climate change is real. Hillary will fight to preserve this earth for our children and grandchildren and we're with her. We believe — and I can't believe that I have to say this in 2016 — in equal pay for equal work and a woman's right to control her body. Hillary will fight and we're with her. We believe we don't need weaker rules on Wall Street, we need stronger rules... Hillary will fight to hold big banks accountable and we're with her. And we believe that the United States should never, never sign trade deals that help giant corporations and leave workers in the dirt. Hillary will fight for American workers and we're with her.
Okay, and just one more. Just one more. We believe we must get big money out of politics and root out corruption. Hillary will fight to overturn Citizens United and return this government to the people! If you believe that America must work for all of us, not just for the rich and powerful, if you believe we must reject the politics of fear and rejection, if you believe we are stronger together, then let's work our hearts out to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States.
Leaders of Major Labor Groups, Lee Saunders (AFSCME President), Lily Eskelsen Garcia (National Education Association President), Mary Kay Henry (SEIU President), Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO President), Sean McGarvey (Building Trades President) and Randi Weingarten (American