The other day I was accused by one of my opponents of running in the wrong primary. Pretty amazing. On one level, it is kind of funny.
I have fought for the Democratic party my whole career. I know what we stand for, who we stand with and what we believe. And it’s not just policies or issues. It’s in my bones. That’s not something everyone in this primary can say.
But at another level these kinds of attacks are a serious problem. They reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics. If someone doesn’t agree with you — it’s not just that you disagree — that person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker.
Some call it the “my way or the highway” approach to politics. But it’s worse than that. It’s condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view.
It’s representative of an elitism that working and middle class people do not share: “We know best; you know nothing”. “If you were only as smart as I am you would agree with me.”
This is no way to get anything done. This is no way to bring the country together. This is no way for this party to beat Donald Trump.
There are a lot of ways — a lot of progressive ways — to fix our health care system and to make our tax system fair and to address the challenge of climate change. I believe I have proposed the most progressive, transformational ideas in this campaign — and I can get them done.
My health care plan expands coverage, lowers costs, lowers drug costs, allows people to keep their private insurance and won’t raise taxes on the middle class. I think it’s the best plan. That doesn’t mean I think those who disagree with me are cowards or small thinkers. And it doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have some good ideas. I just think it’s a better way.
My tax plan will require the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share, eliminate the most egregious tax loopholes and change our tax structure to reward work and not just wealth. I think it’s the best plan. That doesn’t mean those who disagree with me are corrupt or cowards. And it doesn’t mean others don’t have good ideas. I just think I have a better way.
I learned a long time ago that if you question someone’s motivations rather than their judgment you get nowhere. It’s hard to get past go if you start off by saying the other person is in the pocket of special interests or is corrupt. To get anything big done in this country, we need to persuade, to compromise, to reach consensus. That’s the way a democracy works.
But since some have questioned whether I’m running in the wrong primary — let me answer that question.
I’m running in the Democratic primary as a proud Democrat.
I stand with the Democratic Party of Barack Obama — the party that fought for and passed the Affordable Care Act — an historic transformation of our health care system that took a generation to achieve. And I’m proud to say I was there when we passed it. I’m not walking away from ObamaCare — I want to build on it. Maybe others want to walk away from ObamaCare — I don’t. And I don’t believe the Democratic party should walk away from it either. I make no apologies for that.
I stand with the Democratic Party of Nancy Pelosi. Nancy is an historic figure — she will be remembered as one of the great Speakers in the history of this nation. She knows what it took to win back the majority in the House of Representatives. And she doesn’t want to put that majority at risk. She knows what it takes to get big things done. Nancy Pelosi believes we should build on the Affordable Care Act. There has never been a Speaker who was tougher, smarter, or had a bigger vision for this country than Nancy Pelosi.
So — let’s stop these kinds of attacks. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. Above all else, we must defeat Donald Trump.