Letter to Representative Frank Thompson, Jr. on Issues Important in the 1976 Presidential Campaign
THE WHITE HOUSE
February 10, 1977
Hon. Frank Thompson,
Chairman, Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
To Frank Thompson: The overriding issue in the 1976 Presidential campaign was the restoration of faith in our government.
A series of miscalculations and mistakes and improprieties on the part of our leaders had dangerously weakened that faith. President Ford had done much to restore it, but the job was by no means complete.
Our people were sick at heart, and wanted new leadership that could heal us, and give us once again a government of which we could feel proud.
I felt this need all over our country as I campaigned. People wanted a government worthy of them—as competent and compassionate as they knew themselves to be.
The second great issue was the economy. Loss of jobs and loss of purchasing power due to inflation were very much on the minds of our people. So was the related issue of our tax system, which untold numbers of Americans saw as a system that spared the rich and punished the average man.
The confused structure of our government troubled many voters. They wanted the jumble straightened out by reorganization, in order to reduce waste and duplication. They wanted a government arranged logically, so that it could deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Americans were concerned about the lack of a national energy policy— a lack that left us victims of the weather and foreign interests.
We were concerned, too, about the unfairness many of us sensed in the country's health care and welfare systems. Both contained waste and sometimes fraud; both often seemed unfair and discriminatory. Both needed rebuilding.
Over and over again, also, I met with concern over our falling away from morality in the conduct of our foreign affairs. The people were sick of diplomacy carried out in secret, often with questionable allies. They wanted a return to the days when our nation offered moral leadership to the world.
These were not the only issues troubling the nation. But I sensed that these were the main ones. They were the ones I stressed, and I believe that they were the ones which most contributed to the outcome of the election.
Jimmy Carter, Letter to Representative Frank Thompson, Jr. on Issues Important in the 1976 Presidential Campaign Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347601