I believe that America is yearning for two things: better outcomes and a better way. Better outcomes in our citizens lives and a better way of achieving them.
Having delivered health care to 99% of Massachusetts residents, nation leading student achievement and energy efficiency, responsible budgets, and the highest bond rating in Massachusetts history, I believed and still believe we had a strong case to make for being able to deliver better outcomes. And having shown through legislative initiatives, economic recovery, natural and man-made disasters, and a terrorist attack that we can lead by asking people to turn to each other instead of on each other, I thought we had a pretty good case for a better way as well.
But the vote in New Hampshire last night was not enough for us to create the practical wind at the campaign's back to go on to the next round of voting. So I have decided to suspend the campaign, effective immediately.
I am not suspending my commitment to help, and neither should you. We are facing the most consequential election of our lifetime. Our democracy itself, let alone our civic commitments to equality, opportunity and fair play, are at risk.
Americans are hurting. Having to hold two or three low wage jobs to survive, trying to keep up with tuition, the rent or a mortgage, and health care premiums, doubting whether the schools in your neighborhood will prepare your kids for life and work -- these are the challenges too many Americans face. In the midst of such economic anxiety and social unease, some will divide us for political gain. Others will use this moment to unite us. Both paths are, historically speaking, American. Only one is patriotic. I choose patriotism. And so should you.
Patriotism demands, now more than ever, that we reject false choices. Despite our righteous anger, Democrats don't have to hate Republicans to be good Democrats. We don't have to hate business to fight for social justice or to hate police to believe black lives matter. In that same spirit, we don't have to hate moderation to be a good progressive. I say that because, unlike most other candidates, I have actually delivered progressive results using a moderate approach. Leaving room in our plans and our hearts for people who may not agree with us on everything is the only way to make lasting change. I don't fit in an ideological box and most people I meet don't either. We cannot, and will not, defeat Donald Trump by relying exclusively on old labels, poll-tested messages and cable news hits. We must meet people where they are and ask them to do the same for us.
I could see last night in the faces of many of our supporters that this setback is hard. But let's keep our perspective. Hard is choosing between paying the heat or the rent in the same month. Hard is not knowing if you'll be able to afford the prescription drugs that keep you alive. Hard is serving your country in the military and not being able to live off the streets when you come home. Hard is being called the N word by fellow citizens leaving and inspired by a rally for the President of the United States. Hard is trying to vote when your own government doesn't believe you should have a say. Hard is wondering whether you or your family will be deported from the only country you've really ever known, to which you've paid taxes or for which you've worn the uniform, because you once sought refuge from violence or despair. Hard is facing a cancer diagnosis, especially if you don't think you're covered. These and similar questions can only be answered by deciding the character of the country. That's what's at stake right now. I've never been afraid of doing what's hard -- only of missing the opportunity to do what's right.
Doing what's right and fighting for justice are my life's work. That work doesn't end here because it didn't start here. On the South Side of Chicago, where I grew up, people have felt for generations the urgency so many of us feel now. We have a unique opportunity to use our shared pain redemptively to bring the country together. No one can stand on the sidelines at a time like this. I, for one, will not. Failing to engage risks losing a lot more than an election next November.
So, I am grateful to you for your support and will likely call upon you again, because "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" when you and I and others make that work our own.
Ever forward! Ever thankful!