Mayor Pete Buttigieg
California Democratic Party State Convention
San Francisco, CA
June 1, 2019


Thank you. Thank you.  Hello California Democrats.  Buenas tardes y [inaud.]

Thank you for the opportunity to join you this afternoon.

I am not from around here, but I feel right at home every time I come to California. Not just because of the warm welcome, but because the spirit of this state is so much like the spirit of my campaign: new thinking, bold action, a focus on the future.

I’m running for president because of the seriousness of the moment that we’re living in. A moment of such consequence that I believe even now, we may well be underreacting.

And in a moment like that you need a different message and a different messenger.

So I’m here to say that there is no going back.

My hometown —an industrial city that found a new path to a better future—stands as living proof that there is no such thing as an honest politics that revolves around the word “again.”

It’s true for our country, and it’s true for our party. In these times, Democrats can no more keep a promise to take us back to the 2000s or 1990s than conservatives can keep a promise to take us back to the 1950s. We can only look forward.

If we want to defeat this president and lead the country in a new direction, we've got to be ready to transform our economy and our democracy into something new and better. Otherwise, take it from this Midwesterner, though he is deservedly unpopular, this president really could win again.

We're not going to let that happen, are we?

We better not.

But he wins if we look like defenders of the system. He wins if we look like more of the same. He wins if we look like Washington.

And so the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.

There is no back to normal. A president like this doesn’t even come within cheating distance of the Oval Office unless there is something deeply wrong with the old normal.

An economic “normal” that failed a working and middle class that powered America into a new era of growth... only to see the amazing wealth that we built go into the hands of a tiny few.

A political “normal” where an American majority in favor of things from immigration reforrm to common-sense gun law, sees its will frustrated by politicians who can't deliver.

Now a lot of people where I come from voted for this president with their eyes wide open, not because they think he's a good guy, but in order to send a message to burn the house down.

And the disruption we're living through is only accelerating. Artificial intelligence. A gig economy. The China challenge.

And countries are like individuals. We are at our worst when we are insecure. So we’d better come up with answers, and quick.

We’d better come up with something completely different.

And that's where I come in.

Why not a middle-class, Millennial mayor with a track record in the industrial Midwest?

Why not a mayor, at a time when we need Washington to look more like our best-run cities and towns, not the other way around?

And why not  someone who represents a new generation of leadership?

For my generation it is a matter of life and death whether we deal with climate change and school shootings and reduced life expectancy. We're taking the long view because we have to.

But in order to do that we have to build a campaign on our values: values like freedom, security, and democracy.

We are here to break the Republican monopoly on the language of freedom.

Who are they to speak of freedom while their actions remind us that you’re not free 
when your reproductive health decisions are made by male politicians instead of by you and your family?

We know that health care is freedom. Economic empowerment is freedom. We know that organized labor brings us greater freedom.

We know freedom comes from education, which is why we need a Secretary of Education who believes in public education.

We know 21st century security is also a value that can't be solved with 20th century means.
That there’s more to security than putting up a wall from sea to shining sea. It doesn't work that way.

We don't enjoy security if we fail to confront cyber challenges, election security threats and a rising tide of violent white nationalism that must be named and defeated.

We are not secure if the Second Amendment is allowed to become a death sentence for thousands of Americans because Washington can't deliver common sense gun reform.

We know how to deliver freedom and security provided we have a better democracy, maybe even a democracy where we pick our president by just counting up all the votes and giving it to the person who got the most.

These are our values.  [in Spanish]...valores. No...valores conservadores pero valores americanos.

And none of this is theoretical. Not to you and not to me.

I've spent too much time comforting the mothers of victims of violence. I've looked into the eyes of a child who lost his father to deportation. This morning I woke up next to my husband in a marriage that exists by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Politics doesn't matter because of who looks good on cable, it matters because of what it brings to our everyday lives. Will you join me in building a new politics of the every day?

Thank you for having me and thank you for what you doing for American values. I'll see you on the campaign trail. Thank you.

Ed. notes: Buttigieg argues that in choosing a nominee to face Trump, "the riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe."  The latter part of the speech is built on Buttigieg's core themes of freedom, security and democracy.

Harris  |  Booker  |  O'Rourke  |  Warren  ||  Gillibrand   |  Gabbard  |  Buttigieg  |  Swalwell  |   Klobuchar  |  Hickenlooper  |  Inslee  ||  Sanders  |  Castro  |  Delaney