New England Democratic Meeting

August 2, 1960


Boston, MA

At the outset of this meeting of Democratic Party leaders of New England, we should discard any trace of the false notion that Senator Kennedy is assured of victory in his native region merely because he is one of its sons.

The political truths of the last three presidential elections must guide our thinking. In 1956 the Republican presidential candidate swept New England, repeating his accomplishment of 1952…If the burden of overconfidence should rest anywhere, it should be on the shoulders of the opposition. Wisely, voters will not respond to residence, by itself, to reverse this trend.

The Democratic Party, rather, presents its case on a strong platform and strong candidates, on a proven record of past accomplishments, on the evidence that it alone has the vision and boldness to meet the challenge of leadership of the free world. The Democratic candidates for the presidency and vice presidency are men whose records of personal sacrifice and energy, decisiveness and experience, appeal to all citizens everywhere. And the American people this year will demand top quality in their leaders.

Democrats must campaign on the assumption the opposition will work hard. We must be more vigorous. We must provide the opportunity for each person who wants to take any active part in this most crucial election to assert himself on behalf of our mutual cause.

We must welcome to our ranks the disenchanted Republicans and resurgent Independents who have come to understand that a charming personality does not humanize or energize a stagnant political mechanism.

And we must stimulate the thousands of fellow citizens who fail to exercise their privilege to vote—the ultimate guarantee of a free society.

We will have to overcome the skillful propaganda of a Republican dynasty that piously repudiates Republicanism in action and adopts a blurred carbon copy of the platform Democrats have been advocating since the days of Wilson and Roosevelt.

We must unmask the Republican standard-bearer who can blithely ignore the failures of policy and action he has embraced for eight years. Our task will not be easy.

The Democratic Party has one great challenge—to inform the public of the truth. It is our greatest weapon. The people shall learn of the truth from us. And we have every confidence the best-informed citizens in the history of the United States will return a judgment in November that will be right.