No shortage of speculation on how the Black vote was going to influence the Presidential election in 1976. Ten years after the height of the Civil Rights struggle, and a shift of Southern White voters from Democrat to Republican in recent years. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan was making inroads to these disenfranchised voters – but that was another story, and the status of the Republican Party and the nomination and election of President Ford was of foremost concern.
But in 1976 there were still questions and speculation on where the racial divide was going. With the conclusion of the Democratic Convention a week earlier, and the selection of Walter Mondale as Jimmy Carter’s running mate, it was wondered if the Southern vote could be held on just Jimmy Carter’s popularity alone.
As Congressman from Georgia, Andrew Young was enthusiastically enlisted by the Carter camp to help swing Southern voters, particularly Blacks, into the fold. As the first Black Congressman since reconstruction to hold that office, heading into a second term, Carter needed Young’s support – and Young gave a Seconding speech in support of Carter at the Convention only a week earlier.
However, Young was apprehensive about the inner-circle of the Carter camp. There were figures whom Young referred to as “good old Georgia crackers” and that many in the Carter camp Young characterized as extremely conservative, a position he didn’t share, and this made him nervous. That said, Young commented that it was to Carter’s credit that he had such a breadth of opinions and political views within his circle – and that he had hoped Carter would maintain that far-reaching policy and include Young in the policy and decision making process.
So shortly after the Democratic Convention, Andrew Young appeared on Meet The Press to discuss this and other pressing issues ahead for the Carter Presidential bid.
Here is that episode of Meet The Press from July 18, 1976.