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Rear Platform Remarks in Minnesota and Wisconsin

October 14, 1948

[1.] MANKATO, MINNESOTA (8:08 a.m.)

Good morning! I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this wonderful reception this early in the morning. It shows very conclusively that you are interested in the welfare of this great Republic of ours or you wouldn't come out to hear the facts. It proves to me that you people here in southern Minnesota are just as much concerned about the problems that the country has to face today as are the people everywhere else I visited.

You know, I warned the people of this country not to risk entrusting their destiny to recent converts to the principles of our foreign policy--I did that last night in St. Paul--converts who would seek to curry favor by putting on the mantle of such principles in order to further their own political ambitions. You want to watch that closely. They are coming across now with a "me too," because I smoked them out. I am telling the facts and the facts are things they can't stand. They don't want you to know the facts.

Mankato is a good example of the close dependence of farms on cities and cities on farms in this country. Farm prosperity makes for more business in the cities, just like that great city here, and more jobs in the great factories in your town. By the same token, when production and employment are high and workers are receiving good pay, the farmer is able to find a ready market for his products. Whatever helps the worker naturally helps the farmer, and whatever helps the farmer, in reverse, helps the worker.

Look at the farm prosperity here in Minnesota today. I am going to give you some figures that will startle you. Back in the last Republican depression year of 1932, the farmers' income in the whole State of Minnesota was less than $250 million. Last year the farmers of Minnesota made $1½ billion, six times what they made in 1932. Now, that was not by accident. The prosperity didn't just happen. It was carefully planned and carefully administered by the Democratic administrations of the last 16 years. And this Republican 80th Congress tried its best to tear up that program.

Study the situation--the Democratic plan which helped to develop the cooperatives through the Rural Electrification Act. We made loans to farmers cooperatives to bring electric power to the farms. Back in the Republican days only 1 Minnesota farm in 14 had electricity. Now, thanks to REA and the great work done by the farmers cooperatives since then, 6 out of every 10 Minnesota farms has electricity--and we're going to get those other 4 before we get through.

But in order to do that you've got to vote for yourselves. You've got to put somebody in the White House and somebody in the Congress that will look after your interests. You have got a good man running for Congress, running here in this district, and I hope you'll send Mr. Manwell back to the Congress to help to do these things I am talking about; and you must, by all means, send the man from Minneapolis, Mr. Humphrey, to the Senate in place of that liberal Mr. Ball who has been converted to reactionaryism since he has been in the Senate--and I'm sorry to have to say that.

No one here doubts that cooperatives are a good thing. They have been a tremendous boon to the farmer. They have improved the farmer's bargaining position in dealing with the huge corporations that farmers must sell to and buy from. Despite the immense benefits cooperatives have brought to the people of Minnesota and to the Midwestern States, the Republican Party in the last Congress, and every time they have had a chance, has fought them bitterly. For example, 9 out of every 10 Republicans voted against rural electrification last year. Three out of four Republicans in Congress voted against REA this year. Not quite so many of them voted against it this year because they had to go out and ask you for votes. The reason for Republican opposition is plain. Big business is opposed to cooperatives, and the big power companies are particularly opposed to rural electrification. You see, they don't get the rake-off when the farmers cooperatives run the electric power for the farmers, and that's true of all municipal plants.

You will find the big electric trusts, electric power trusts, fighting every municipal plant in the country. They try to surround them and choke them off.

Of course, the Democrats supported REA. The Democratic Party is always on the side of the people, just as you'll find the Republican Party always on the side of special interests. That has been the case ever since the Republican Party got power in Washington. The Republican Party will not admit in an election year that it is opposed to cooperatives. They put a weasel-word into the cooperatives plank of their platform when they said they would support--now listen; this is a direct quote from the Republican platform--"The principle of bona fide farmer-owned, farmer-operated cooperatives."

Now, the Democratic Party indulges in no such double-talk. We say flatly that we will encourage farm cooperatives, period.

Yet, only a third of the registered voters turned out to vote in 1946. The Republicans took over Congress as a result. The Republicans began their attack on cooperatives. They started an investigation of cooperatives in an effort to smear them. I know something about congressional investigations. I was chairman of that special committee that was formed to investigate the national defense program during the war, and I think I carried on more investigations than any other Senator in the history of the Senate over that 3-year period. And we didn't carry on smear investigations. We carried on investigations for the purpose of introducing legislation to cure ills of the country. You won't find that the case with these present-day investigating committees. They are trying to investigate us out of office. They are after Democrats--they are not after the welfare of the country.

Do you know how you can stop this attack on cooperatives? It's very easy. There's only one way. That is to come out and vote on November the 2d, and get your friends to come out and vote; and as I said all over the country, vote in your own interests, vote for yourselves. When you vote the Democratic ticket, you are not only voting for me and this good man who is running for the Senate in Minnesota, and the Congressman--you are voting for yourselves and your own interests.

You, the people, are the Government; and when you exercise your right to vote, you run the Government, and when you don't exercise your vote--as you didn't exercise it in 1946--you get such things as that 80th Congress, and you get just what you deserve when you do that because you shirked your duty.

Now, get up early on election day, go down to the polls, and vote for yourselves. And when you do that, you'll vote a straight Democratic ticket and you'll have the country in safe hands for another 4 years, and the President won't be obliged to be troubled by the housing problem--I can stay in the White House another 4 years.

[2.] WASECA, MINNESOTA (9:06 a.m.)

Good morning! It certainly is a pleasure to meet so many of you so early in the morning. It shows that you are interested in the welfare of this great Nation of ours or you wouldn't turn out to see the President and to hear what he has to say.

I have been on a crusade up and down this country, telling the people just exactly what the issues in the campaign are. You know, the Republicans won't discuss the issues. They can't afford to discuss the issues because they have been wrong on all of them. Therefore, I am going up and down the country and explaining to the people just exactly what the issues in this campaign are.

I spent some time in St. Paul last night explaining what the Republican Congress had done to the people and what they have not done for the people. They don't like to hear that because they have no comeback. They can't defend the action of the Republican Congress, which is a pattern of what we're going to get unless people take an interest in their own affairs and get out and vote for their own interests. Now, if you vote for your own interests here in this district you'll send Karl Rolvaag to the Congress, and you'll send Hubert Humphrey to the Senate, and then there will be people in the Congress with whom your President can work in the public interest, for your interest.

This 80th Congress had no interest except special privilege. They had more lobbies in Washington around this Congress than it has ever had before in the history of the country, and they spent more money than ever before in the history of the country. It is one of the most shameful sessions that this country has ever had. I name it the second worst Congress in the history of the United States. Of course, they don't like that. And that means not that all the men in that Congress were not the right sort of people. It means that the leadership, the Republicans who controlled that Congress, are the ones who stand for that Congress. There were a number of able men in that Congress who fought tooth-and-nail to prevent it from acting as the worst Congress in the history of the country, and those men are going to be reelected on their record. But I sincerely hope that you will not send any of that leadership back there, because if we have an 81st Congress as bad as the 80th the country will be in an awful fix.

The best way to remedy that situation is to get out early on election day and exercise your privilege in this country to run the Government. You are the Government when you exercise that privilege, and you run it by voting.

I am very happy and very glad to see so many young people out here because it shows that they are interested in the welfare of the country. You know, the country is going to be in the hands of these young people in the next generation, and if they understand just exactly what our Government stands for it will be safe for generations to come, and that's what I am working for.

I appreciate highly your coming out here, and I want you all on election day to get up early and go to the polls--and so as to be on the safe side and so as to vote in your own interest, just vote the Democratic ticket straight; and then the President won't have any housing problem--he'll still be in the White House another 4 years.

[3.] ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA (10:25 a.m.)

Thank you very much. I appreciate the warm welcome which the Mayor of this great city has extended to the Presidential party, and I appreciate the introduction of your candidate for Congress who I know will be the next Congressman from this district. You are going to elect Karl F. Rolvaag. He told me that I was going to get a good reception here, and he didn't mean it half as strong as it is. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means that Karl Rolvaag is going to be in the House of Representatives in the next Congress, and that you are going to send Hubert Humphrey to the Senate. If you send men like that to the Senate and House, there won't be any trouble getting along with the President because they believe in the same things I do.

Thousands and thousands of Americans, distinguished Americans and plain citizens, have come to this great city to recover their health. I am on a crusade across the country, to see that we don't have to send the Federal Government itself to Rochester to get it put back together after 4 years of Republican rule in Washington. I am here to tell you that if we have 4 more years like that, it will take all the clinics in the country to put it back together again.

I wish the whole Nation could have t