, California
Moscone Center
July 16th - 19th 1984

Democratic Convention Schedule of Speakers


Monday, July 25, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 1
Tuesday, July 26, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 2
Wednesday, July 27, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 3
Thursday, July 28, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 4
  List of all Speakers with videos and transcripts

Convention Chairperson:
Martha Layne Collins of Kentucky
Presidential Nominee:
Walter Mondale of Minnesota
Vice Presidential Nominee:
Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York
 


San Francisco, California was the host for the 39th Democratic Convention, which was held from July 16 - July 19 1984. The 3,933 party delegates flocked to the Moscone Centre in Howard Street. The convention held the distinction of being the first one chaired by a woman, in the shape of the Governor of Kentucky, Martha Layne Collins.

The convention was a welcomed respite by almost everyone after a particularly difficult primary that ended two weeks earlier. Strong challenges by both Jesse Jackson, a firebrand civil rights activist, and former Colorado Senator, Gary Hart saw eventual winner, the former vice president, Walter Mondale securing his victory in the last round of primaries.

There was another twist awaiting the candidates at the convention as the revamped voting structure, courtesy of the reforms initiated by the Hunt Commission two years earlier, saw the creation of a new group of voters called the super-delegates. Consisting of elected officials and state level leaders, the super-delegates were accorded 14% of the delegates count, and could very well have rendered Mondale's primaries victory irrelevant. However, the super-delegates threw their collective support behind Mondale that saw him ultimately clinching the Democratic Party nomination with ease.

The final delegate count of the candidates was:

Walter Mondale - 2,191 (56.41%)
Gary Hart - 1,201 (30.92%)
Jesse Jackson - 466 (12.00%)
Thomas Eagleton - 18 (0.46%)
George McGovern - 4 (0.10%)
John Glenn - 2 (0.05%)
Joe Biden - 1 (0.03%)
Martha Kirkland - 1 (0.03%)

In another groundbreaking move, Mondale chose yet another woman as his running mate. Geraldine Ferraro, a New York Representative, became the first woman and Italian-American to run for the United States vice presidency.

The climax of the event however was the speech given by Mario Cuomo, the Governor of New York, on the convention's opening day itself. The highlight of his stirring delivery was "Tale of Two Cities" segment,

"In fact, Mr. President (Reagan), this is a nation -- Mr. President you ought to know that this nation is more a "Tale of Two Cities" than it is just a "Shining City on a Hill. Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places; maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds; maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President, if you stopped in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn't afford to use. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President. But I'm afraid not."

The thunderous applause at the end of Cuomo's speech set the mood for the next three days, raising the hopes of the attendees. Senior party officials and delegates started to believe that they stood a fighting chance against Reagan in the looming Presidential election.

On the final day of the convention, the party released their platform that was tailor made to fit into Mondale's own position, in hope that it would mask the damage caused during the fractionated primaries. It detailed their plans to tackle the growing budget deficit, paying special attention to the military spending that has skyrocketed under the Republicans. The Democrats also planned to reschedule personal taxes and reduce the spiraling health care cost in favor of middle-class Americans, while continuing their support of a woman's right to choose with regards to abortion.

However, it all came to naught as 1984 was Reagan at the peak of his popularity, and in the resulting presidential election, he handed Mondale the Democrat's biggest ever lost, consigning them to only 13 out of the 538 electoral votes on offer.






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