It is a moving scene and a distressing one. Enduring the harsh winds and bitter cold of a blizzard, the protesters encamped at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline are standing strong, chanting “water is life” in the Lakota Sioux language, and demanding the preservation of their lands and the precious natural resources located there.

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The pipeline clearly never underwent an appropriate review in consultation with nearby residents and the tribal leaders who raised serious concerns about the pipeline’s location. It has the potential to cause devastating, longterm environmental damage, not least of all to Lake Oahe, a major source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Tribe. The construction would cut through ancestral burial grounds. And the harsh treatment of peaceful protesters near the construction site by private security contractors and law enforcement officials, who used tear gas, pepper spray, attack dogs, and even water hoses in sub-freezing temperatures, caused unnecessary pain and suffering while violating free speech and First Amendment rights of our fellow Americans. …

There’s no last word in politics, just the next word. Two weeks ago, the American people spoke the next word.

While we Democrats worked our hearts out, we fell short of winning the White House. Yet the results of this election show that our voices are needed now, more than ever.

We must never forget that, for the sixth time in the last seven presidential elections, our nominee won the popular vote. As of this writing, our candidate is ahead in the vote count by nearly 2 million votes. …

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Millions of Americans woke up on Wednesday morning with heavy hearts.

This has been a long and bruising presidential election. And through it all, Hillary Clinton never wavered from her belief that we are stronger together. That we must choose hope over fear. A belief in unity over division.

Those beliefs are hallmarks of this party. A party of the people. They will continue to define us as we look toward the vital work ahead as we come together as Democrats.

But right now, I want simply to say thank you.

Your energy, your passion, your devotion — you poured it all into this election. Tuesday night may not have gone the way we wanted it to, but the results were ultimately as close as they were because you did your part, talked to your friends and neighbors, cast your ballot, and made your voice heard. And because of that, we still won some important victories. We’ll have four new Democratic women in the Senate, including our first Latina senator, and we tore down a Senate color barrier that has stood in California since its founding. …

There’s a joyful noise in Utah, Democrats. I heard it myself this week in Salt Lake City, where the DNC’s Forward Together Bus Tour rolled in to hear from voters in one of this election’s many new swing states.

As our staff have traveled the country, driving voters to the polls, getting them registered, and hearing their stories, one eternal truth has become very, very clear — we all come to this party from different backgrounds and with different experiences, but our values are the same, and we express those values with our votes.

A student in Georgia who wanted to know why she hadn’t heard Donald Trump talk about student loan debt. An immigrant who wants her daughter to grow up in a country that sees her worth. A man from Indian Country who knows how hard his people have fought for the right to vote. A retired steelworker and WWII vet whose service should be respected. A campaign volunteer who wants to see her state turn blue. …

When Donald Trump suggested at the final presidential debate this year that he may not accept the results of the election, he took the first step down a dangerous path. I’ve worked on and advised dozens of Democratic campaigns, and I’ve been involved in every presidential election since 1976. I know what it’s like to lose a presidential campaign (or two or three). But in each of those elections, the peaceful transfer of power has been a sacred and unassailable certainty, with the losing candidate accepting the result and conceding — even in the closest presidential election in modern history.

When I joined Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, I became the first African American woman to manage a presidential campaign. I left a good job and took a pay cut. I sacrificed. I endured death threats. …

I grew up in the segregated South, where if you had the wrong skin color and tried to register to vote or cast a ballot, you might be forced to pass a literacy test, pay a poll tax or even face the threat of physical violence.

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But 51 years ago today President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

Suddenly, our federal government began protecting the rights of all citizens to vote. Suddenly, millions of formerly disenfranchised voters had a voice. And slowly, the face of politics and power in the United States began to change. Southern office holders, state legislatures and congressional delegations became more representative, more responsive. …


Donna Brazile

Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee

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