Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1978

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Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: November 3, 1978

Sacramento, California
Remarks at a "Get Out the Vote" Rally.
November 3, 1978

Are the Democrats going to win next Tuesday? [Applause] Are you going to help? [Applause] Right on.
Senator Cranston, Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Merv Dymaily, the great congressional delegation, Speaker Leo McCarthy, my friends in Sacramento, California, and all those who observe this tremendous demonstration of what it means to have a democratic society where each human being—their influence, their voice, their vote—can make a difference in the future of our Nation:

I would like to say first of all how proud I am to be in Sacramento, where for 26 years you have been blessed with one of the greatest Members of Congress who ever served—my friend, John Moss. It’s a sad day for us to see him step down.

Also, I hate very much to surrender to Sacramento one of the greatest Congresswomen I’ve ever known, a strong, dynamic, forceful person, who will be your next attorney general—Yvonne Burke.

California needs an attorney general who’s tough, competent, concerned about crime control, who will work with the United States Attorney General to control crime in your State. It’ll be a great pleasure to have her as a partner with us, controlling crime and protecting the lives of people here.

I want to say, too, that I come here to add my own voice of admiration and support and confidence in one of our Nation’s greatest Governors; one who’s brought a breath of fresh air to the political scene of the United States; a man who’s been able, through his leadership, to reinspire California; who inherited some difficult problems, but who’sworked to solve them, and who’ll be solving those problems in California for the next 4 years—my friend and your Governor, Jerry Brown, who will win a tremendous victory next Tuesday.

More than any other political figure I know, Jerry Brown is sensitive to the will of the people of his State. He recognized the mandate given to him last June, and he’s followed that mandate, not only with enthusiasm and commitment but with effectiveness. He’s been able to cut State spending $3 billion. He’s been able to cut State taxes $1 billion. He’s been able to return to local government, to hold down property taxes $4 billion. This is just a start. He’s the kind of man that can lead you to even greater life in a greater State in the future, and I’m very proud to be here on his behalf.

We have a good partnership between the Federal and the State Governments. And also there’s a great partnership that exists in the Jerry Brown-Merv Dymally team. He inherited a tremendous unemployment rate in California when he became Governor. But with Merv Dymally’s help, there’s been a great emphasis on restoring the economic soundness of the life of California.

There have been 1 million new jobs available for Californians with the Brown-Dymally team. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Personal income is at an all-time high. New industries are moving in California as they’ve never done before. You’ve got more foreign investments here than any State in the entire Nation.

And we need to keep this team intact for a better economic life, brighter prospects, jobs, lower taxes, lower property taxes, more savings, tougher State government. So, I hope you’ll support with all your enthusiasm—you, your friends, your relatives, anyone you can influence, by helping to vote—a great victory for Jerry Brown, Merv Dymally next Tuesday.

We’re also trying to do a good job in Washington. You’ve got a great leader, who’s recognized by his own peers in the United States Senate as the Democratic whip, working with Bob Byrd. Your great Alan Cranston is a man on whom I depend to help me both with domestic affairs and also foreign affairs.

You have a great congressional team: Phil Burton, who’s a tough in-fighter, who believes in saving money, who has great influence with his fellow Members of Congress; Norman Mineta, an expert on urban affairs; Bizz Johnson, who is responsible for assuring that the airline industry will be deregulated—lower fares, more passengers, higher profits in the future; Jim Corman, who’s heading up the entire Democratic effort throughout the country this year to elect Congress Members for the next session; John Burton; Pete Stark; Ed Roybal, who’s trying to emphasize a much greater influence, through votes, by Spanish-speaking Americans all over our Nation. We are rapidly growing, very important constituency in our country. So far, the voter turnout among Americans who speak Spanish has not been high enough. It’s a great hope of the future. And I want to encourage an increased participation in politics, particularly Democratic politics, by those whose ancestors were from Latin America, who speak Spanish, and who are enlightened, strong, representing the principles and ideals of a Democratic Party. Jerry Patterson—and I particularly want you to help Dennis Kazarian, Norma Bork, and in this area, I’m especially pleased to be here on behalf of Vic Fazio and Bob Matsui, who I’m sure you are going to send to the Congress in January.

Now I want to say a word about myself. I’ve come here as President of our entirecountry, Democrats and Republicans. In 1960 in the United States, two-thirds of the American people went to the polls to elect John Kennedy President and to vote for the Democratic ticket. Two-thirds voted. The projections for Monday, unless people are inspired to run their own affairs, are that two-thirds of the American people will not vote.

It’s very important that you go to the polls and cast your ballot. It’s not enough to come to a rally or even to work for a candidate during a long, tedious, trying, difficult campaign. Every time we have three people who do not vote, two of them ordinarily are Democrats. And when you have polled the opinion of all voters and then poll the ones who are most likely to vote, the Democratic lead in almost every election is cut in half.

It’s important for us to project our own voice, our own influence, to assess our Nation’s needs, and to help resolve difficult problems.

It’s not easy being an incumbent in these days. But I think we’ve brought a new light, not only to California, under Jerry Brown’s leadership, but to our Nation as well.

I’d like for you to think back just 2 or 3 years, at the situation as it was before we had a Democratic administration in Washington. Our Nation was discouraged. People had lost confidence in our Government. We were involved in a war in Vietnam. We had the Watergate scandals, when top people in our Government were being sent to prison. The CIA revelations showed that important elements of the American Government were violating the law and getting away with it.

When I became President, 10 million Americans could not find a full-time job. The unemployment rate was 8 percent.

Every time the United Nations General Assembly met in New York in the fall, we were all embarrassed, because our great Nation, which we love, became the butt of every joke .and the target of every attack by two-thirds of the nations on Earth.

We had lost our spirit. We were not identified as one that was trying to search for peace throughout the world. We were attaching ourselves to disreputable administrations in other countries in order to pursue doubtful political goals. We had lost touch with the idealism that made our Nation great.

We’ve tried to turn that around. We’ve cut the unemployment rate by 25 percent. We’ve added 6 1/2 million net jobs. We’re trying to get inflation under the control. If you’ll help me, we’ll succeed.

We’ve now gotten the dollar back into a strong position. We’ve raised the banner of human rights. We’ve made sure that we’re meeting the services of our people. We’ve cut taxes $28 billion. We’re trying to bring some order out of chaos in the civil service system. We’re letting the people who do a good job be rewarded, letting managers manage. We’ve cut the deficit almost 50 percent already. So, these kind of things on the domestic scene are the results of a good Democratic team.

I’d like to mention, as well, that we have the strongest nation on Earth. We’re the strongest politically; we’re the strongest economically; we’re the strongest militarily.

We do have the strongest defense, and we’re going to stay that way. But we use our defense strength not to abuse others, not to impose our will on smaller nations, but to work for peace—peace for ourselves and peace for others. Since I’ve been in the White House—and I hope as long as I’m there—there has never been an American in uniform who shed blood in a foreign country in conflict. And if you’ll help me, we’ll maintain that peaceful record.

We’ve raised the banner of human rights. And as long as I’m in the White House, our Nation will always be identified as the Nation that will insist and fight for basic human rights, not only in our own country but throughout the world.

We’re searching for peace, as well, to remove the threat of atomic destruction. We’re negotiating every day with the Soviet Union to have a SALT agreement, and I hope before too many weeks goes by, we will be successful. The Congress has passed a nonproliferation bill that prevents nations who don’t have atomic explosives from ever having them in the future.

We are also searching for peace in southern Africa, to have majority rule, one person-one vote, an end to apartheid.

In Cyprus we’re trying to bring the Greek- and the Turk-Cypriots into understanding, to bring peace to that troubled region.

And in the Mideast, I’ve been negotiating, as you know, with President Sadat, Prime Minister Begin. And if you’ll stick with me and give me your voice, we’ll bring peace to the Mideast in the next few weeks.

Let me summarize what I want to say in just a few words. First of all, this is your country, ours or your governments at the Federal, State, and local level. Your voice cannot be heard unless you’re willing to vote and to get other people to participate in the democratic processes.

It’s always a mistake to take for granted a political victory. Some of the Democratic candidates are far ahead in the public opinion polls. I’ve seen, in the last few days of a campaign, those apparent victories turn into disappointment and defeat. Other Democratic candidates have very close races, because their opponents can outspend them with an almost unlimited political campaign chest.

We are trying, as a Democratic team, to meet the needs of our people, to strengthen the income of American farm families—which has increased already 25 percent—to increase farm exports, to have predictable government policies. We’re trying to bring peace to ourselves and to the world, maintain a strong defense, put our people back to work, cut down inflation, stabilize the dollar, have a strong economy. These are the kind of things that benefit all those who live in this Nation. And above all, we’re trying to have a government that’s honest, decent, trustworthy, admired by other people in the world, known as one that protects human rights and protects peace, of which the American people can be truly proud.

It’s important that you keep this Democratic team together. It’s important that you participate Tuesday by giving us your vote and your support. And I ask you to do so, to make the greatest nation on Earth even greater in the future with a strong Democratic team and you being part of it.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you all.

I also want to ask everybody to vote against Proposition 6.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:20 p.m. at the K Street Mall. In his opening remarks, he referred to Leo T. McCarthy, speaker of the California State Assembly.

Proposition 6 is an initiative statute on the California ballot which would prohibit the employment of homosexuals in the State school system.

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Chicago: Jimmy Carter, "Sacramento, California Remarks at a Get Out the Vote Rally.," Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1978 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1978 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2303 1947–1948. Original Sources, accessed August 17, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC78XGMSDCVUWRY.

MLA: Carter, Jimmy. "Sacramento, California Remarks at a "Get Out the Vote" Rally." Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1978, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1978 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2303, pp. 1947–1948. Original Sources. 17 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC78XGMSDCVUWRY.

Harvard: Carter, J, 'Sacramento, California Remarks at a "Get Out the Vote" Rally.' in Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1978. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1978 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2303, pp.1947–1948. Original Sources, retrieved 17 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC78XGMSDCVUWRY.