PRES. RONALD REAGAN: And while our communication should always deal with current issues of importance, it must never stray far from our national commitment to the battle against discrimination and increase our knowledge of each other.
A few isolated groups in the backwater of American life still hold perverted notions of what America is all about. Recently in some places in the nation, there’s been a disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence. If I may, from the platform of this organization, known for its tolerance, I would like to address a few remarks to those groups who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice, to those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior.
In 1988, the late Ed Brown, then-executive director of the Voter Education Project, watched as the Democratic Party ignored blacks’ growing displeasure with Massachusetts Governor and Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. The party assumed blacks had little choice but to support Dukakis since the only alternative would be to defect and vote Republican—an option ostensibly more unattractive than an inattentive Dukakis campaign. The party was wrong: Black voter turnout rate plummeted by nearly 5 percent, the second largest decline for this bloc ever observed.