Ronald Reagan picture

Address to the Nation on the Congressional and Gubernatorial Elections

November 02, 1986

Since I have been President, I have spoken with you often from this office—on economic recovery, freedom, world peace, and many other subjects. Tonight I want to talk about one of the most important decisions you will ever make about your future and America's future. Tuesday you will exercise the greatest privilege you have as an American: your right to vote. I would like to take a few quiet moments to try to put it all in perspective, to reflect on what is at stake.

My message is one of hope and promise, but also one of choice and direction. Remember 6 years ago? We were told we had to learn to live with 12-percent inflation, 21-percent interest rates, and second-rate status in world respect. But together we proved our critics wrong. With your help and your vote, look how far we have come since 1980. Inflation is now less than 2 percent, interest rates have been cut by almost two-thirds. Together we have created nearly 11.7 million jobs and restored America's respect in the world. All of this happened because you refused to give up your dreams. In 1980 you voted for a new team of Republican leaders who shared your vision of a brighter future. And now we need your help again, because there is a challenge to all we have done and all we hope to do. The changes of the past 6 years were not an accident; we are bringing America back.

But now Democratic leaders who were in charge in 1980 want to be put back in charge again. And let me take a second here to point out I am talking about Democratic leaders. I know many of you are Democrats or maybe Independents. Well, I was a Democrat, but like millions of others I became dismayed with the liberal leadership that was completely out of step with the hard-working and patriotic men and women who make up the Democratic Party. I am talking about the same Democratic leaders who in 1980 had weakened our nation and nearly brought our economy to its knees, who raised your taxes and have announced plans to do so again, oppose our efforts to develop a system to protect us from attack by nuclear ballistic missiles.

We can protect the peace and reduce nuclear weapons if we stop those who would gut our defense and scrap our program of strategic defense that brought Mr. Gorbachev to the negotiating table. We must not be content to live in a world where our safety depends solely on the power to annihilate mankind. We can complete the economic recovery if we prevent the Democrats from raising your taxes and from rekindling inflation. That's the choice you will make on Tuesday. Will you choose to expand our economic recovery or to return to the stagnation of the seventies? Will you choose Republican leaders who protect the family budget or Democratic leaders who fatten the Federal budget? Will you choose to escape the prison of nuclear terror or to remain in a world where the only way to keep the peace is more and more nuclear weapons? And finally, will you choose Republican candidates who will build on all we have done or Democratic candidates who would return us to the failed policies of the past?

Let's not go back. Our choice must be to keep our nation strong, free, and full of hope. America is a great and generous nation. We are the beacon of liberty and freedom to all the world. Together you and I, with the help of the Republican team, can finish the job. We can realize the dreams our critics said were not possible. We proved them wrong in 1980, and I believe we can do so again. But I need your help. Please, vote. And, please, vote Republican, for you, your family, and for a better future. Together we can build on America's promise.

Note: The President's address was recorded on October 27 in the Oval Office at the White House and was broadcast at 10:55 p.m. on November 2 on nationwide radio and television.

Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on the Congressional and Gubernatorial Elections Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives