James Earl Carter Jr is a former Democratic president from 1977-1981. Americans elected Carter in 1976 after they got sick of Republicans again. After all, Republican President Gerald Ford had pardoned Republican Presidential crook Richard Nixon, one of the best examples of cronyism in American history. Carter's Vice President was Walter Mondale, one of the few Vice Presidents to actually do anything as Vice President.
"The best way I know for anyone in a position of leadership to earn the trust of our people is very simple: be trustworthy."- Jimmy Carter declaring his candidacy
Carter's opponent was incumbent President Gerald Ford, who ascended to the presidency after the resignation of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Ford hadn't been elected Vice President either, having been appointed Vice President under the 25th Amendment after Spiro Agnew resigned admit allegations of corruption during his time as Governor of Maryland in the 1960s.
After Ford pardoned Nixon, his approval rating plummeted, which gave Carter hope he could defeat Ford. The biggest problem facing Carter was the fact he was a dark horse candidate; nobody knew who he was. To connect with voters, he portrayed himself as someone outside of the corrupt political establishment. Carter had confidence in himself, especially the very devout Baptist felt this was God's plan for him.
Shortly before leaving office as Governor of Georgia, Carter announced he was running for President on December 12, 1974. He declared "It is time to restore confidence in government" in his speech in Washington DC.
Facing the Democratic Establishment
"Several of the news people have asked me tonight is if this is sign of a New South. Tonight is not only a sign of a new south. It's a sign of a New America."- Carter comments on his Florida victory, March 9, 1976
But Jimmy Carter would soon discover that like President Ford facing off against challenger Ronald Reagan, he was going to have to fight for his party's nomination. At minimum, he faced Washington Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Indiana Senator Birch Bayh and even infamous segregationist George Wallace was running.
The January 1976 Iowa caucus was the chance for Carter to make a name for himself and forge himself a path to become the frontrunner. Carter's early campaign, and focus on grass-roots organizing in the earliest primaries, championing himself as a Populist outsider was revolutionary at the time. He campaigned seven days a week, talking to people and handing out green pamphlets and brochures only aided by one man, Greg Schneiders. Carter spent so much money on his campaign he couldn't afford a Holiday Inn (mind you before the giant inflation of the coming decades) and had to stay in friend's homes. His campaign message was restoring integrity and honesty to the government. After Watergate, this message fit perfectly with Democratic voters.
After a year of campaigning, Carter went from some nobody Governor from Georgia to the man to beat in the Democratic primaries. After winning the Iowa caucus in January, Carter won a crucial victory in the New Hampshire primary in February. Commenting on his victory, he said "And I think what we've done here in New Hampshire today will a very good projection of how the New England people feel about me. If I could just move Carter's army to Florida..." before he was cut off by a thunderous applause.
The Carter Campaign moved to the Sunshine State in March. Because this was a Deep Southern state, and one of the founding members of the Confederacy, he had an uphill battle. He had to defeat his rival, former Alabama governor and known segregationist George Wallace. Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 about eleven years before, racism was still a problem in the deep south. And even though Wallace had been paralyzed from the waist down by an assassination attempt in 1972, he still had some support from knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing racists. The sad truth about the Democratic Party of old is Wallace embodied a part of the Party that had resisted civil rights for over a hundred years.
Carter was the polar opposite of Wallace. He had a deep commitment to civil rights. He once said "the time for racial discrimination is over." Carter got support from prominent black civil rights leaders such as Georgia Congressman Andrew Young. With Young campaigning for him, Carter defeated Wallace and gained 70% of the black vote.
But like many politicians both before, then and now, Carter's comments would get him in trouble. While campaigning in Indianapolis, Carter was asked about a statement he had made in a recent interview. In an interview, he stated, "I see nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained." While Carter meant he didn't want to force integration on neighborhoods, black voters saw the words 'ethnic purity' and connected it to 'ethnic cleansing', fascism and even Nazism. The black community was outraged. Carter doubled down with a statement on April 6.
"If you have an old established neighborhood, which is predominately a particular ethnic group, I'm not in favor of the federal government arbitrarily moving people from ethnic group into that neighborhood."
Carter was trying to appeal to both black voters and the middle class conservative white voters, mostly in the northeast and midwest. The stubborn-headed Carter didn't believe what he said was fascist or racist and didn't want hear it. He refused to apologize. Several civil rights leaders retracted their endorsement of Carter. The black mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, whom the Atlanta airport is half-named after, said "I thought I knew Jimmy Carter. Maybe he's just the same old Georgia cracker as we knew."
Carter was persuaded to finally apologize, but his campaign was still losing support. In desperation, Campaign chairman Greg Schneiders called Congressman Andrew Young to help them. Young called a powerful ally: Dr. Martin Luther King Senior, the civil rights leader and father of the late Martin Luther King Jr. Daddy King, as he was called, was a huge figure in Georgia black politics just as much as his great son was. In downtown Atlanta, Daddy King attended a Carter rally to speak on Carter's behalf. The Reverend reminded everybody that Carter said a wrong statement, but nobody was perfect.
"I want to find that man who has lived so perfect that he has never made a mistake. I have a forgiving heart. So Governor, I'm with you all the way. This boy is one of ours. Let's make him our president."- Daddy King endorses Jimmy Carter
More likely than not, Daddy King saved Jimmy Carter's candidacy.
While Carter seemed unstoppable, the Democratic party elite, the big wealthy business interests, were determined to stop this populist outsider from securing the nomination. They launched a campaign called ABC, "Anybody But Carter". These people including Idaho Senator Frank Church and former California Secretary of State Jerry Brown. But nobody could stop him. Jimmy Carter won 17 primaries and beat Brown by 4 million votes.
The Democratic National Convention was held in New York City from July 12-15, 1976. There Carter accepted the Democratic nomination for President. He chose Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale for his running mate.
"I've spoken a lot of times this year about love. But love must be aggressively translated into simple justifce "- Jimmy Cater starts the general election
With both Carter and President Ford's nomination, the race was on.
Defeating A President
By September, with the election just six weeks away, Ford's chances of serving a full four years wasn't looking so good. His Democratic rival Jimmy Carter was 33 points ahead of him at that point. Carter was pretty confident.
Akwardly, Carter bombed during the first debate with President Ford. He dropped a few points after that.
The second debate was on October 6 and was about foreign policy. This was President Ford's chance to press his advantage. Ford was the president with 24 years of experience with congress and had met with many foreign leaders. Max Frankell of the New York Times asked about the fate of the nations under the Communist empire. Ford was supposed to say he recognized the independence of eastern European nations. Instead, Ford straight up denied that the Soviet Union dominated Eastern Europe, despite the Soviet Union controlling Eastern Europe through the Warsaw Pact. While Ford meant the United States didn't recognize the Soviet's stranglehold of Eastern Europe, it looked like he was denying reality. Carter easily won the first debate.
By October 13, President Ford trailed Carter by 6 points. But by the eve of the election, November 1, Ford was ahead by one point. On election night, Carter, his family and Daddy King gathered in Atlanta to watch the election results. It was around 3 am when Mississippi was declared for Carter. The victory put Carter over the edge to win the election.
Ford lost to Carter in a close race. Ford got 240 votes to Carter's 297 votes. Carter got 50.1% of the popular vote to Ford's 48%. Because President Ford had lost his voice from campaigning, First Lady Betsy Ford delivered the President's concession speech.
Carter flew to his hometown of Plains, Georgia to deliver his victory speech. "I came all the way through -- through 22 months, and I didn't get choked up until I-- " and Carter got choked up at that moment, which caused the audience to applaud.
200 years after America was founded, Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States on January 20, 1977.
By 1980, Carter's administration wasn't looking so good. Despite accomplishments including a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, Americans apparently still wanted an Aggressive Saber-rattling president. Because America had lost Vietnam, conservative Baby Boomer Americans wanted to feel like a big shot Imperialist Bully for some ungodly reason.
In 1980, the Iran hostage crisis was in full swing. The Shah of Iran had been overthrown by extremist Shia theocrats. In November 1979, the US Embassy was seized by Iranian students. More than 60 American diplomatic staff members were being held hostage. Americans felt helpless and that their country was losing its power as the Global Superpower. The Iranians had risen up after Carter angered them after allowing the unpopular dictator Shah into the country to seek medical treatment.
Carter wasn't as popular back in the States either. There was a 21% interest rate on loans, 13% inflation, 7% unemployment and little growth. The gas crisis led to people lining the streets for gasoline, which often led to violence. Confidence in Jimmy Carter was low to say the lest.
Carter vs Kennedy
Those in the Democratic Party didn't like that Carter was a fiscal conservative. Some said if Carter had a quarter, he would squeeze it until the eagle choked. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party felt that Carter had abandoned liberalism. Democrats started to turn towards liberal Ted Kennedy to unseat the centrist Carter. The differences between Carter and Kennedy were vast. Carter saw Kennedy as a spoiled entitled playboy. The younger brother of the late President John F. Kennedy saw Carter as a hick who was in over his head.
On November 7, 1979, Senator Ted Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, challenging Carter.
Carter's strategy to defeat Kennedy was to not campaign at all. It was called the "Rose Garden Strategy", in which he sought to portray himself as an experienced leader focused on securing the release of hostages in Tehran instead of campaigning. Carter's message was a vote for him was a vote to free the hostages and standing up to the Iranian Ayatollah. After this, Democratic voters rallied behind President Carter.
After 100 days, the hostage crisis had gone nowhere. The Iranians were threatening to hold the Americans hostage indefinitely. President Carter was accused of being weak on defense and not having a forceful response. This gave a a boost to Senator Kennedy's campaign by March, 1980, winning the New York and Connecticut primaries.
Carter was considering a military operation to free the hostages. Operation Eagle Claw was launched on April 24, 1980. Unfortunately, everything went wrong. 3 of the 8 helicopters had to turn back because of malfunctions. Carter had to abort the mission. But a helicopter crashed, killing 8 Americans. After Eagle Claw's failure, there was this increasing air of gloom.
Despite this, Carter was still ahead of Ted Kennedy almost 2-to-1. Carter invited Kennedy to the White House, expecting him to drop out. Kennedy refused, saying, "I welcome the opportunity to tell the President I have every intention of continuing this campaign as a candidate." Kennedy tried once last attempt to secure the nomination by trying to tear up the rule book. The rules bound delegates to the candidate for whom they were elected in the primaries. Kennedy wanted to change the rules and gives the delegates the chance to vote for another candidate, even if they were committed to Carter.
On August 13, 1980, Carter maintained his delegate led and won renomination. The day before, Kennedy made his concession speech. "Someday, long after the signs come down and the crowds stop cheering, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith," he said. "For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
On August 14, 1980, Carter took the stage, but he wasn't on his game. He went to give praise to former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had died two years earlier. But he messed up the name. "We're the party of a great man who could've been one of the greatest Presidents in history: Hubert Horatio Hornblower—Humphrey!". Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Napoleonic Wars–era Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels and stories by C. S. Forester. When he was done, the balloons that usually fall on the stage didn't quit fall properly. Not just that, but Senator Kennedy was expected to rejoin the Convention that night, but a traffic jam slowed him down.
While they waited for Kennedy, the Carter campaign did everything they could to keep the convention going. When Kennedy finally arrived, Carter expected the two to raise their hands together in a symbol of unity. But instead, Kennedy simply shook his hands. This showed that Kennedy was bitter about the defeat and his support base didn't unite behind Carter.
Carter vs Reagan
While the primaries was a challenge, Carter thought beating Reagan was going to be easy. Reagan had to prove he wasn't some stupid old actor running for President. Reagan fumbled at first by making stuff up. "I'm happy that to be here and he's opening his campaign down in the city that gave birth to and is the apparent body of the Ku Klux Klan." The KKK was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, not Tuscumbia, Alabama. This also turned some Southerners against Reagan. He also blamed trees and vegetation for pollution. His campaign also went to California and a hung a sign on a tree that said "Chop Me Down Before I kill again".
Carter took advantage of Reagan's statements. "He wants to cut down all the trees in the United States. He said that's where pollution comes from."
Carter and Reagan were to have a debate one week before the election of 1980. Carter was confident in his own intelligence. A briefing book was prepared with foreign/domestic questions and lines of attack against Reagan. Three sets of volumes were made, one for Carter's review, one of Mondale's review and another for back up. The back up was stolen by Paul Corbin and gave it to Bill Casey, the Chairman of the Reagan campaign. Corbin was fiercely loyal to Kennedy family. He had hoped Reagan would defeat Carter and then Ted Kennedy would defeat Reagan in 1984. The Reagan campaign gaining this information gave them an enormous advantage.
On October 28, 1980, the debate was held in Cleveland, Ohio. Reagan's most notable moments include using the phrase "There you go again" and asking whether or not Americans were better off than they were four years ago. One of the questions was about ending the nuclear arms race. Despite his advisers all telling him not to do so, Carter said:
"I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weaponry – and the control of nuclear arms."
He pressed on. "Governor Reagan, as a matter of fact, began his political career campaigning around this nation against Medicare. [...] Social Security benefits should not be taxed and that there would be no peremptory change in the standards by which Social Security payments are made to retired people."
Reagan simply responded with "Oh, there you go again." Reagan also asked viewers whether or not Americans were better off than they were four years ago. Ironically, Reagan portrayed himself as Change vs Carter's Status Quo.
Two days before the election, the Iranians parliament offered to release the hostages with conditions. The Iranians demanded non-interference in Iran's affairs, the American government unfreeze $8 billion Iranian assets, the return of the deposed Shah's wealth and immunity from prosecution for the hostage crisis. For some reason, Carter refused to take the offer. His advisers advised him to attack Iran's for the deal. But Carter refused to "Play politics with this".
Unfortunately, Reagan won the election.
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, having previously served as Governor of Georgia and serving in the Navy during WWII. He did OK as President, meaning he only got to serve one term before being defeated by Ronald Reagan. There are strong suspicions about a conspiracy to keep the American hostages in Iran to ensure that Carter was sabotaged and then Reagan could go ahead and begin a new era of far-right politics.  Despite this, he secured the release of the hostages after losing the election, even though it provided no political gain to him. Among his other accomplishments are the creation of the Department of Energy, Camp David Accords (preventing war with Panama with the Panama Canal treaties), environmental protection reforms, the SALT-II treaty, and the establishment of diplomatic relations with China. Despite this nearly flawless record, he was defeated for reelection by some elitist rich ***hole who destroyed the middle class. Had he been reelected, he likely would've been one of the best presidents in United States History.
He grew some peanuts before he was president. Now he works for Habitat for Humanity, which rocks.
Carter also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He is a liberal Christian who is actually a Southern Baptist as well and teaches Sunday School. He's quite religious and even delivered the 2018 Commencement Speech at Liberty University, but he sees no need to force everyone else to follow his beliefs, unlike the religious right. Even if he is very literal or says he is, he seems way too humble to believe that God would be narrow-minded like the far right.
As of March 21, 2019, he is the oldest living President . He and Bill Clinton are the last living former Presidents to have defeated an incumbent President, with Biden being added to the list in 2020.
Pros & Cons
- Progressive President
- Campaigned for a national health care system (lost election before he could do so)
- Divested from his business by selling his peanut farm.
- Not one shot was fired by the military during his term.
- Post-Presidency, Jimmy Carter has worked on humanitarian issues and combating diseases in Africa.
- Sought diplomacy over military aggression.
- Gave the Panama Canal to Panama
- Pardoned draft dodgers
- Is an true Christian of peace, compassion and love.
- Supports gay marriage now (better late than never)
- Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt
- Created Departments of Energy and Education.
- National energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology
- SALT II Treaties.
- First president to have been a Submariner in the Navy.
- Gave $3 billion in arms to the Shah of Iran, who committed horrible crimes against his subjects.
- Ended détente with the Soviet Union
- Imposed grain embargo against the Soviet Union.
- Iran Hostage Crisis
- Presided over an economic recession
- Jimmy Carter is the first President from Georgia.
- Before being President, he was a peanut farmer. During the 1976 election, Carter sold his farm. He did this because most presidents, even George W. Bush, knew it was the right thing to divest themselves of all business holdings if they were so honored as to become president. Apparently, a certain someone didn't get that memo.
- While Carter was in the Navy during World War II, he was a midshipman at Naval Academy, did not graduate until 1946, and did not see combat. He is the first President to have served aboard a submarine during his naval career.
- Jimmy Carter resigned his Naval Officer's Commission in 1953, after the death of his father, to return to his family's farm.
- John Hinckley Jr almost shot Carter during the 1980 election. He approached Carter and came close to shooting him but lost his nerve and left. A year later, he shot Reagan. Probably had some of that liquid courage.
- Jimmy Carter named most trusted U.S. politician in new poll
- Commencement | Registrar | Liberty University (We're still sure Trump will speak at the Baccalaureate)
- Carter to speak at Liberty University despite feuding with founder
- Good thing we're not like that anymore, right? *Nervous laughter* Ah [bleep]
- October Surprise: The First Stolen Election
- Jimmy Carter: America Is an ‘Oligarchy’
- Jimmy Carter Becomes Oldest Living President - NBC News
- https://jacobinmag.com/2020/1/ronald-reagan-october-surprise-carter-iran-hostage-crisis-conspiracy https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/2/11/america-held-hostage/