Texas delegation breakfast remarks

Philadelphia Marriott

July 27, 2016

Mayor Adler may deviate from his prepared remarks.

I come to you at a serious time. Donald Trump is leading in the polls. We’ve seen protests at this convention. And we have reason to believe that Russia is interfering in our election.

The stakes in this election could not be higher. And the atmosphere in which we are campaigning is humid with confusion, well nigh suffocating with fear, and hot with anger.

This is no time to levity. For mere jokes.

Which is a shame. Because I had some good ones.

It would be inappropriate, for example, to remark that the worst thing about Donald Trump is that he’s made me agree with Ted Cruz when he said “vote your conscience.”

See? This is not the time for these jokes. Reality is being stress-tested. 2016 is why the Mayan calendar ended in 2012.

I mean, did you know the Republican Party platform is now wholly comprised of internet comments and up-votes from Reddit? If Trump’s elected, Godwin’s law will become federal law. New regulations will be forwarded to you in all caps emails. These are not time for jokes!

Think about it: If Trump wins, we’ll look back on Rick Perry as the smart one, George W. Bush as the competent one, Ken Paxton as the honest one, and Sid Miller as the sensible one.

After all, we’re dealing with serious issues. The unemployment rate in Austin recently shot up 4 tenths of a percent.

True, it’s only 3.3%. And it’s a good bit lower than the Texas rate of 4.5% or the national rate of 4.9% — but things are getting a little, well, weird in Austin.

In the US, Donald Trump has become so unpopular that the meanest thing you can call him is Donald Trump. But in Austin, Donald Trump is actually quite popular. Not for any of his policy positions. We just like that he’s burnt orange.

But I have to quibble a little bit with our friend Donald. Austin is the best city in the country for small businesses, the second-best in the country for startups. We are the city where good ideas become real.

Sure, we’ve got our problems, and we’re working on them. But to steal a line from Michelle Obama’s speech — because that’s apparently what you do these days — don’t let anyone tell you that Austin, or Texas, or the United States of America isn’t great.

But to steal a line from Michelle Obama’s speech — because that’s apparently what you do these days — don’t let anyone tell you that Austin, or Texas, or the United States of America isn’t great.

Where we disagree is why we’re great. I can’t speak for the success that Democratic mayors are achieving in Dallas, in Houston, in San Antonio, and elsewhere in Texas.

But I think Austin succeeds not in spite of being weird — but because we’re weird. Doing the thing that gets you run out of town in other cities is what makes you beloved and successful in Austin.

So in Austin, we love who we want, vote for who we want, and never once care that we should say “whom.”

Heck, when we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we actually mean it when we say, “with liberty and justice forever” even if you want to run around town in a thong and high heels and nothing else and then run for Mayor of Austin. That’s freedom. Incidentally, for those of you not from Austin, that really happened. And it wasn’t me. It was Kirk Watson.

We say the Pledge of Allegiance, we actually mean it when we say, “with liberty and justice forever.”

Safe to say that our friend Donald doesn’t quite agree with us on these basic American values. My friends, Trump’s opposition to the freedoms necessary to keep Austin weird is a clear and present danger to one of Texas’ strongest economic engines.

And as much as I love you all, I have grave news. If Trump wins, Austin will build a wall. A big, beautiful wall all around Austin’s city limits. And we’ll make Round Rock pay for it.

Now, we face a choice: Hillary or Trump. I’m going to make a case for Hillary that doesn’t mention Trump. Even if Hillary were running against a generic Republican, there are some good, specific reasons I’d vote for her. Of course, she’s not running against a generic Republican. Jeb Bush lost in the primaries.

If you care about our cities, here are three reasons to vote for Hillary:

  1. Hillary wants to create an infrastructure bank to, among other things, fund projects to reduce traffic congestion and increase public transportation.
  2. Hillary will support good, proven workforce development programs with local community colleges. She knows we need to prepare the people of today for the jobs of tomorrow.
  3. Finally, Hillary will invest in computer science and STEM education and ensure access to capital for small businesses and start-ups, with a focus on minorities, women, and young entrepreneurs — including letting young entrepreneurs defer student loan payments.

There are a lot of other reasons, but as Mayor of a tech city with unequal opportunity, lousy traffic and not enough public transit, Hillary’s agenda is music to my ears.

As Mayor of a tech city with unequal opportunity, lousy traffic and not enough public transit, Hillary’s agenda is music to my ears.

And as impressive as I think Hillary is, I want to spend a couple minutes talking about the man we’re waiting to hear from. Let’s go back to Monday night, when Bernie Sanders showed us all why he was so successful. It’s popular to say that Bernie Sanders ran a heck of a campaign. That’s not the greatest thing to say to someone who just lost.

What Bernie Sanders did was actually more impressive. He expanded the American conversation. Now we discuss economic fairness in something deeper than poll-tested talking points. We no longer think of the economic struggles of young adults as unfortunate abstractions. Our political life is more honest now, more reflective of the lives many of us lead, than it was before. What we talk about when we talk about being Americans is more authentic now.

There has never been a conflict between loving this country and wanting to improve it. This is a conversation we’ve been having since we declared our independence. This year, Bernie Sanders continued this discussion. And we are all better for it.

And as I conclude, I would ask that you not applaud for these meager words and not for Bernie’s admirable efforts but his timeless results.

Bernie, from all of us, thank you.