Speech source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960. Box 909, Folder: "Alben Barkley Democratic Club Banquet, [Baltimore?], Maryland, 14 May 1960"
I greet you at the beginning of a great Democratic march to victory -- a victory for a Democratic President -- a victory for a Democratic Congress – and a victory for the American people who -- after “eight gray years”, to use F.D.R.’s phrase -- need and demand the leadership of the Democratic Party. And I am confident that the State of Maryland is going to lead that march.
The signs of victory are everywhere. Just before the American Revolution Patrick Henry -- in his famous “liberty or death” speech -- exhorted his fellow Virginians to action by telling them that “the next wind from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field.” Today the people of Maryland are preparing to enter the political battlefield -- and today that same stirring wind of change is sweeping down over Maryland from the South as well as from the North. From New Hampshire, from Wisconsin, from West Virginia, from Massachusetts, from Pennsylvania, from Indiana, from Nebraska -- our Democratic brethren are already in the field -- we hear the growing protest of the American people against eight years of Republican drift and indecision and neglect -- we see record numbers of voters marching to the polls to vote for the Democratic candidates for President -- and we see the forces of the Democratic Party gaining strength at every level of government. In each of these states where primaries have been held the Democrats have broken all the records -- shattered all the traditions -- and shown beyond doubt that they are on the road to the White House in 1961.
In New Hampshire more Democratic votes were cast than ever before in the history of the state’s primary. In Wisconsin the Democratic vote more than doubled the Republican total. In Massachusetts it was nearly double. In Pennsylvania more Democrats took the trouble to write in a candidate’s name than ever before in history. In Nebraska more Democrats voted in the Presidential Primary than at any time since 1940 and F.D.R. In Indiana we broke the all-time record for a Democratic vote, reducing the Republicans to the lowest proportion they have ever had in that state. And in West Virginia, the Democrats went to the polls in record numbers.
I can tell you that any party which does that well in the Spring is going to pile up a tremendous victory in the fall. For these record, unprecedented votes in state after state, clearly show that the American people do not want four more years of Republican indifference and neglect -- that they do not want Mr. Nixon in the White House -- and they do want a return to the dynamic and creative leadership of the Democratic Party.