It goes without saying that as we fight to end all forms of discrimination, as we fight to bring more and more women into the political process, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans… All of that is enormously important, and count me in as somebody who wants to see that happen. But it is not good enough for somebody to say, “Hey, I’m a Latina, vote for me.” That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country and is going to take on big money interests.
Now one of the problems, one of the struggles that we’re going to have, right now—lay on the table of the Democratic Party—is it’s not good enough to me to say, “Okay, well, we’ve got X number of African-Americans over here, we’ve got Y number of Latinos, we have Z number of women. We are a diverse party, a diverse nation.” Not good enough. We need that diversity, that goes without saying. That is accepted. Right now, we’ve made some progress getting women into politics; I think we’ve got twenty women in the Senate now. We need fifty women in the Senate. We need more African Americans. But, but, here is my point, and this is where there is going to be division within the Democratic Party. It is not good enough for someone to say, “I’m a woman. Vote for me!” No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.
In other words, one of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond “identity politics.” I think it’s a step forward in America if you have an African-American head or CEO of some major corporation. But do you know what? If that guy is going to be shipping jobs out of this country and exploiting his workers, doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot if he’s black or white or Latino.
And I know some people may not agree with me, but that is the fight that we’re going to have right now within the Democratic Party. The working class of this country is being decimated. That’s why Donald Trump won. And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down, that young people in many parts of this country have a very limited future, that life expectancy for many workers is going down. People can’t afford healthcare, can’t afford their medicine, can’t afford to send their kids to college. We need candidates—black and white and Latino and gay and male—we need all that. But we need all of those candidates and public officials to have the guts to stand up to the oligarchy. That is the fight of today.