Jimmy Carter photo

East St. Louis, Illinois Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents.

November 03, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning—good afternoon. Mayor Officer and all of you, are there any Democrats here?


THE PRESIDENT. Are you going to help us tomorrow?


THE PRESIDENT. Are we going to whip the Republicans?


THE PRESIDENT. It's a great pleasure for me to be here in East St. Louis to see the great strides forward that you're making under the leadership of your fine new mayor. He and I have formed a good partnership in looking down the road to the months and years ahead.

I know that all of you realize the basic differences between the Democrats and Republicans and how important it is to all of you, on election day, to get out and work for your own lives, for a better future for you and for your families and for people that you care about. In the past you've always noticed that when Republicans approach election day they start trying to talk and act like Democrats. But don't let them fool you, okay?

I want to remind you that every vote counts. You all remember in 1948, if just a few people had voted differently, Harry Truman would never have been President. And in 1960, when John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were running as President and Vice President, if only 28,000 people had voted differently in Texas and a few thousand in Illinois, then John Kennedy would never have been President, Lyndon Johnson, and the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act might never have taken place and Richard Nixon would have been President then. You, with your votes, can make a difference.

And think back on 1968, when we lost the opportunity to have a great President and we wound up with Richard Nixon. Hubert Humphrey would have been one of the greatest leaders that this Nation had ever seen, but because a few Democrats, like yourselves, didn't get out and work for him and vote for him on election day, the last Republican President to be elected in this Nation, Richard Nixon, took his place in the Oval Office. We do not want that to happen after tomorrow, right?

I need your help. I think all of you realize that all of the great strides forward in your own lives have been made under Democratic administrations over the opposition of Republicans. Social security was put into effect by Democrats, the Republicans called it socialism, communism. The minimum wage was started out 25 cents an hour, was put into effect by Democrats. The Republicans were against it. As you well know, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were put into effect by Democrats. The Republicans opposed it. As a matter of fact, my opponent, Governor Reagan, said when the Civil Rights Act was passed, that it was bad legislation.

We don't want to see the Oval Office taken over by a bad result that you learn about when you wake up Wednesday morning. The difference might very well be in the hands of those of you listening here to my voice in East St. Louis. So, in this last few hours, I'd like to ask you not only to vote yourselves, but to contact as many people as you possibly can. There's no one here that I can see who can't reach at least 100 people between now and tomorrow night when the polls close.

So, if you believe in a better future for our country, if you believe in a better future for your own lives, if you believe in a better future for the people in your family and for those that you care about and love, then I ask you to work hard this last few hours. Make sure we have a Democratic victory, have a better life in the future for East St. Louis and for our Nation that we love so much. Let's keep a Democrat in the White House; whip Ronald Reagan. You help me; we'll do it together.

Thank you very much. God bless you all. Work hard.

Note: The President spoke at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Missouri and Collinsville Avenues.

Jimmy Carter, East St. Louis, Illinois Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252187

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