Post-election Statement

Shahid Buttar, Candidate, U.S. House, CA-12 (D)

This evening we’re excited to observe the progress we've made together down a long road to making our democracy real and winning power for the people. 

Together, through a pandemic and underneath an orange sky, we offered an alternative vision for the future, responding to the failures of the past. We’ve mounted one of the most prolific challenges to the bipartisan establishment in a generation. We’re the first Democrats ever to challenge the sitting Speaker of the House in a General Election over her entire 33- year career representing San Francisco in Congress. Even as underdogs, we’ve punched well above our weight.

We’ve fortunately gained the most support of any campaign to ever challenge Pelosi, raising over $1.5 million from over 30,000 supporters making average contributions under $22. And we’ve done that without accepting contributions from corporate PACs or a political party establishment.

I am especially grateful for the support of contributors constrained by their financial circumstances. Together, they enabled us to pay our staff and interns living wages, make more than 400,000 calls, send over 750,000 text messages, win 33,000 votes in the jungle primary this spring, and identify supporters in nearly every precinct across the district.

We’ve built a social media presence that reaches hundreds of thousands of supporters all over the country. Every day, we hear from voices who thank us for informing their perspective. My particular emphasis on civil liberties, human rights, and bipartisan executive branch corruption seems to fill a gaping chasm in the public conversation.

We’re grateful for the tremendous efforts of supporters who have joined our campaign from every state in the Union. Every action supporting us—every phone call, text message, introduction, donation, house party, social media post, dinner table conversation, or campaign sign placed in a window—has made a difference.

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Despite being outspent 15:1, and confronting a corporate media whiteout, our campaign has sprinted through the November election based on people power. Together, we Davids confronted a global Goliath—Washington’s bipartisan corporate establishment—and held it publicly accountable for its continuing failures.

Our campaign has shifted not only the public discourse, but also national policy. By serving as a lever amplifying the political force of organized labor and social movements, we’ve helped pave the way for future movement candidates from outside the political establishment. Together, we’ve also forced that establishment to concede several policies this year.

Measures we’ve championed since 2008 were included in the Justice in Policing Act, which the House leadership adopted after opposing them for years. We pressured the House into adopting the Protecting Right to Organize Act, the most significant transformation in labor rights in a generation. We also helped compel policy changes to save the U.S. Postal Service, pursue executive accountability, and assert congressional power to prevent a potential war with Iran.

These are in no way all the issues. 

We face a mounting global climate catastrophe that stands among the greatest challenges that our species has ever confronted, and that kills Californians every year. We see protesters brutalized in the streets by paramilitary forces suppressing dissent outside the legal limits on state power. We’ve watched enormous sums of money skew our political system, inviting bipartisan corporate corruption. We have a healthcare system that preys on the sick and creates threats to public health, in the middle of the biggest pandemic our country has faced in living memory.

These issues define a generational struggle going forward. Our commitment to defend the future will continue to build on the substantial progress we’ve made together.

I’m indebted to all the supporters who share my vision for this campaign and our country. I’m especially thankful for the time, talent, and tireless efforts of my colleagues on the campaign staff, particularly those who have stuck with us throughout the campaign.

Finally, last—but far from least—I'm grateful to my neighbors who believed in our campaign and voted for me to represent them in 2018, and again in 2020. 

As an immigrant without property or a family legacy taking on one of the most wealthy Members of Congress, I represent the walking antithesis of political privilege. The expanding reach of my voice reflects the growing power of a generation that demands change in Washington. 

I recognize the shoulders upon which we stand today, stretching back into colonial history around the planet. Seeing the many allies working here in the United States today to challenge that legacy—including Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, and Cornel West—redoubles my commitment to continue building the movement for whomever stands on our shoulders in the future.

It is the future that we ultimately aim to protect. We look towards it with excitement, encouraged today by the work we’ve done together.