And we are Democrats. The party that is not supposed to pander to the powerful and the privileged. That is our heritage and that heritage is the match — if we have the courage to light it — that will carry us to victory in November.
But we have to light it.
Tonight! Right here! Right now! We must find the courage to light it.
No more pretending in hopes we will get a few scraps off the big dollar table. No more playing doormat for big money and its party.
Because we are the party of the people!
Our good friend and Senator, George McGovern did not take us from literally nowhere to a majority by rolling over. He stood up and fought against big money agriculture, and that created a whole new generation of Democratic winners.
I am running because I believe that is what we have to do again.
People are furious out there. You can feel it!
They know their government has been taken over by big money and they are ready to “TAKE IT BACK!”
Taxes aren’t fair. Politicians are bought off. The big boys get ALL the opportunities because they have rigged the game.
In Pierre and Washington both!
Their anger is exactly the same tinder McGovern lit by standing up to big money power.
That is why I have driven farther than around the world this past year – 25,000 miles and counting.
Because we have got to light that match.
And the only way we can do it is by showing the people of this state we are not standard issue politicians — that we have not been bought off.
We stand with them still and always will.
And that is not an easy sell. How could it be when people have watched 30 plus years of government of, by and increasingly for, only the wealthy and the powerful?
The default belief out there is that all politicians are the same. Regardless of party they all play the same game.
Talk pretty in public. Pander hard in private. Rake in the bucks, buy your office, then call the guys with the bucks and ask them what they want you to do.
So how do we break that vicious cycle of money buying the power to create privilege.
There is only one way. Work harder and talk straighter.
Show the people you believe what you say by saying it to them in person.
And tell it to them straight.
On every single important issue “big money’s” big footprint is on their neck and we have to show them how.
This is not about a bunch of complicated programs, it is about making it understandable, and crystal clear, the way big money tries to rig the game on issue after issue…so they win — and we lose.
And if there is one program above any other that exposes the pandering to the big money that endangers our democracy — it is EB-5.
That’s right EB-5. Not EB-5 the scandal. EB-5 the program — the whole big coast to coast Federal program that has rocked our state and insulted our common sense.
Now I have no idea whether my opponent mismanaged or profited from — or did anything at all right or wrong where South Dakota’s EB-5 program was involved. That’s for the investigators to determine based on the facts.
My problem with Mike Rounds, my fundamental disagreement with him and his EB-5 program, is over the sale of US residency. I think it is wrong. He argues it is right and said so last April. I want to get rid of it. He wants to expand it.
Well, Mike, I absolutely disagree with you on that.
Because the sale of US residency to the highest bidder goes against the grain of the good old South Dakota common sense you like to talk about.
It is money buying privilege gone wild — big money foreigners buying the privilege of US residency by handing over a half million dollars to Americans and cutting to the front of the immigration line.
That is not economic development. Our South Dakota businesses can compete just fine without taking what amounts to little more than legalized bribes from rich foreigners.
EB-5 may be the purest example of government in the employ of big money. But it is far from the only example we can use to show the public why we — and they must take our government back.
Our students pay ten times more to borrow money than a bank does. Why? Because the bank donates ten times more money to politicians than they do.
62,000 hard working South Dakotans earn a minimum wage that is a disgrace. Why? Because the billionaires pay the politicians to keep that wage disgraceful so they can keep their own wage in the millions.
Foreign uranium miners and oilmen threaten our land and our health and — rewrite our laws for their own profit. Why? Because their huge political contributions buy them the muscle to do it.
48,000 South Dakotans are denied health care through Medicaid. Why? Because big money Tea Party PACS don’t like it, and Republican politicians are in their hip pockets.
American corporations hide 2.1 trillion dollars offshore to avoid paying taxes. Why? Because that is how ‘big money” politicians get elected.
If we have the courage to tell those truths we have a chance. Nobody is going to be giving us 9 million dollars to tell the truth on TV, though. We have to go right to the people out there and do it ourselves.
And I have got to tell you, when you do that — you just absolutely know we have a chance to win.
For over a year now, I have been given a great gift by the people of this state. In every town I have been given a gift I never expected to receive – the gift of hope.
I’ve seen the quiet strength that built our state and it has given me strength.
I’ve been humbled by the humility of men and women far stronger than I – just trying to make ends meet.
I’ve been made wiser by their wisdom and more caring by their caring for one another.
South Dakota is a hopeful and a caring state. When politicians in the employ of big money seek to neuter us by turning us, one against the other, they may temporarily succeed, but they insult our sensibilities.
We Democrats truly are South Dakota, because the politics of hate and division are not South Dakota values AND they certainly do not represent the South Dakota common sense approach we need to meet the challenges ahead.
We need not pander in fear of power and money because the voters who will judge us — do not.
What we need to show them is that we really are different.
We need to tap into their hope and draw our courage and strength from them.
They, after all, are the ones who vote. And there are 100 of them for every one big money donor.
That is our hope. Show them the courage to truly be the party of the people. George McGovern’s Party. Jim Abourezk’s Party. Dick Kneip’s Party. Tom Daschle’s Party. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Party –and Tim Johnson’s Party.
That is who we are. The party that fights against the power of privilege. The party of equal opportunity for all.
Because we Democrats believe that unearned privilege is wrong.
It is discrimination against all the rest of us.
And be it discrimination based on race, or gender, or religion, or age, or sexual orientation, or anything else…including not having a million dollars to donate to politicians, our Democratic Party is against it.
That is why we truly are South Dakota. A party and a state united in hope. Built on the honesty and the hard work of ordinary folks.
That is what we stand for and what I am honored to represent as your candidate for the United States Senate.