Page 3 of 3With the election of Harry Truman, Democrats began the fight to bring down the final barriers of race and gender. Truman integrated the military and oversaw the reconstruction of Europe by establishing the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Truman's leadership paved the way for civil rights leaders who followed.
In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy challenged an optimistic nation to build on its great history. Kennedy proclaimed a New Frontier and dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Lyndon Johnson followed Kennedy's lead and worked to pass the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Kennedy and Johnson worked together to end the practice of segregation in many southern states. Following Kennedy's assassination, Johnson declared a War on Poverty and formed a series of Great Society programs, including the creation of Medicare — ensuring that older Americans would receive quality health care.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected president, helping to restore the nation's trust in government following the Watergate scandal. Among other things, Carter negotiated the historic Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel.
In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States. President Clinton ran on the promise of a New Covenant for America's forgotten working families. After twelve years of Republican presidents, America faced record budget deficits, high unemployment, and increasing crime. President Clinton's policies put people first and resulted in the longest period of economic expansion in peacetime history. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 — passed by both the House and Senate without a single Republican vote — put America on the road to fiscal responsibility and led to the end of perennial budget deficits. Having inherited a $290 billion deficit in 1992, President Clinton's last budget was over $200 billion in surplus. The Clinton/Gore Administration was responsible for reducing unemployment to its lowest level in decades and reducing crime to its lowest levels in a generation. In 1996, President Clinton became the first Democratic president reelected since Roosevelt in 1936. In 1998, Democrats became the first party controlling the White House to gain seats in Congress during the sixth year of a president's term since 1822.
In the 2000 elections, Democrats netted 4 additional Senate seats, one additional House seat, and one additional gubernatorial seat. Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote for President by more than 500,000 votes. In 2001, Democrats regained control of the Senate under Majority Leader Tom Daschle, while Democrats swept to victory in races all across the country, including races for Virginia Governor and Lt. Governor, New Jersey Governor, and 39 out of 42 major mayoral races including Los Angeles and Houston.
While we have accomplished a great deal — as a nation and a Party, we must continue to move forward in the 21st Century. We must work to incorporate all Americans into the fabric of our nation. The history of our next hundred years can be seen in the gorgeous mosaic of America, from the wheat fields of Nebraska to the barrios of New York City, from the mountains of Colorado to the rocky coast of Maine. The Democratic Party is America's last, best hope to bridge the divisions of class, race, region, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth — the principles of strength, inclusion and opportunity. The Democratic Party is ready to take advantage of the opportunities we have and meet the challenges we face.