Last night, we exceeded all of the pundits expectations, keeping Andrew Cuomo at barely 60% of the vote, and won 24 New York counties outright. In three months, with no money for TV or even mailers, we punctured the illusion that Andrew Cuomo is a popular incumbent Democrat.
Tim and I want to thank the teachers and parents, the fracktivists, the immigrant rights activists, the public employees, and all New Yorkers who shared our vision.
You have been heard.
You were part of a people-led, inspirational campaign, waged against all odds against an establishment prince. And by doing so, you empowered countless others to see possibilities where they might only have seen obstacles.
We are going to take a few days off, but we are not done. This campaign demonstrated the rise of a new force in our politics, the rise of fearless 21st century Democrats who believe in #AllofUs, and are willing to fight for it.
To fight, we need to shed our fear. When the Moreland scandal broke, the silence among Democratic elected officials was striking, but not surprising. Albany is in the grips of politics of fear.
I think what we've shown here is that its alright to speak up. Democrats don't need to be scared anymore. When the Governor is pushing tax cuts for the wealthy or trying to cut education, the Mayor and other leaders ought to stand up and call him out. It can't just be the advocacy groups --- elected officials have a duty to criticize the de facto leader of the Party when that leader is no longer advancing our values.
We ran to win, but this campaign was also about speaking truth to power. Our state hasn't seen more truth delivered to power since the outbreak of the Occupy movement three years ago. Listening to you, it's clear that we've broken the logjam. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds now that so many have found their voice.
Consider the wins we've achieved since we started, three months ago:
- Two days ago, for the first time ever--in a campaign stop--Governor Cuomo talked about income inequality and why it is a critical issue.
- Because of this campaign, Andrew Cuomo has promised to back Democrats for the State Senate, and pass a comprehensive public campaign finance system. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
- Andrew Cuomo was boasting in campaign literature that he had increased school funding.
- Yesterday, at the polling booth, after years of silence, Andrew Cuomo promised to visit a Pennsylvania fracking site. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
- We made cable mergers and monopolization a campaign issue.
- Because of our campaign, Governor Cuomo is now actively campaigning on the Dream Act and has said he will put his full weight behind it. This commitment would not have happened without our campaign.
- We held the line that we will not compromise on a woman’s right to choose. Governor Cuomo has followed our lead and committed to actually fight to win the full 10 point plan. We can continue to use our voices to hold him to that promise.
- We took an unequivocal stance in support of marijuana decriminalization. In response to our campaign, Governor Cuomo has committed that he too will support marijuana decriminalization.
Some people have asked me why I decided to run, and when I made that decision. It happened when we saw that no public campaign financing was passed in Albany. "They" said no one would care about it, but in the face of what just happened, I want all incumbents to understand there is a big electoral cost to refusing to push for publicly funded elections.
I know I will not rest until we ban fracking, fully commit to renewables, end common core and fully commit to full public funding of schools, end anti-immigrant fear and commit to New York state citizenship, and end tax giveaways to the rich and fully commit to a more equal, open democracy and economy. I won't be satisfied until we start breaking up the new monopolies that are choking our economy and democracy.
We have seen through this campaign that the political system does respond to pressure. We have seen that when you raise the issues, when you speak truth to power, when you rely on honest and grass roots democracy, the system moves. These must be our principles going forward. We have a come a long way in this campaign, we did not make it to the top of the mountain, but together we all see the bright light that guides our vision. As I said at the WFP convention, quoting Maya Angelou: "We must confess that we are the possible."
The possibilities are just opening up.
Again -- thank you.