July 25, 2016
When Bernie Sanders takes the podium tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, he will face a tough challenge. How can he rally the enthusiasm of his supporters for the Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, especially in the face of the news that broke over the weekend that the Democratic establishment had discussed how to thwart his efforts during the hard fought primary race?
He might take a page from Ronald Reagan.
In 1976, Reagan launched a primary challenge to Gerald Ford, who had risen to the presidency following Richard Nixon’s resignation. The party was split between supporting the incumbent — one who had not been elected to that position — and the popular California governor. Just as Sanders has been a voice of criticism from the left, Reagan was from the right. He criticzed Ford for being weak on foreign policy and deficit spending. The convention — held in Kansas City, Missouri — was heated, and when the ballot vote was taken, Reagan was just 59 votes behind Ford.
As described by the conservative publication The National Interest, Ford was “anxious to achieve unity,” and “generously invited Reagan to join him on the platform following his acceptance speech. Without notes or a teleprompter, he speculated how Americans 100 years from now would look back at this time.”
At the podium, Reagan called for unity:
This is our challenge; and this is why here in this hall tonight, better than we have ever done before, we have got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have ever been, but we carry the message they are waiting for.
We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory, Mr. President.
See below for Reagan’s full speech on the TV News Archive, where there are links to share it via social media or embed it online. To review the entire speech, follow this link.