Presidential Campaign and Candidates


Alan Cranston for President 1984 Campaign Brochure

Alan Cranston for President 1984 Campaign Brochure



Alan Cranston: a Political Biography

What is it about Alan Cranston that makes him uniquely qualified to be President of the United States?  The answer is, the same qualities of intelligence and perseverance that drove him to become…

The most successful vote-getter in California political history.

The organizer who decades ago rebuilt the California democratic party which had collapsed.

The successful businessman who proved his administrative and executive ability as Controller of the nation's largest state.

The aggressive journalist who, at age 24, exposed Adolf Hitler's true intentions and was sued by Hitler.

First among the Senate's 46 Democrats in a poll of Capitol Hill reporters to determine the "ten best" Senators.

Alan Cranston's qualities of leadership and maturity have earned him the respect of peers and press alike.  His record in the Senate and as Controller of California is one of progress, vision, skill, patience and creative problem-solving.

Alan Cranston is the senior U.S. Senator from California.  First elected to the senate in 1968, he is currently serving his third term and has served since 1977 as the Democratic Whip in the U.S. Senate, a post to which he brought his reasoned, effective leadership.  He has been elected to this highly influential post four consecutive times without opposition, the first time in 50 years this has happened.

A fair but outspoken critic of President Reagan, Senator Cranston outpolled Ronald Reagan in California in the 1980 election by more than 200,000 votes. Alan Cranston received the greatest number of votes ever cast for a Senate candidate in any State and any time in history.  His vote-getting appeal in the nation's largest state is particularly notable because California has not voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1948, with the exception of the Johnson landslide.  California represents nearly 20 percent of the Democratic convention delegates needed for the nomination.

Because of his stature, integrity, hard work and intellectual depth,  Alan Cranston has helped bring direction and focus to the Senate.  The respect he engenders allows him to lead the leaders.  He brings people together, always broadening the potential meeting ground of opposing points of view.  He is trusted in the Senate, as he was when he was State Controller of California.  Trust is essential for leadership.  Trust is what America needs most to achieve an arms reduction agreement with the Soviet Union. 

Alan Cranston's vision and leadership are products of his intelligence and energy, not the result of his environment or fate. 

Born in Palo Alto, California in 1914, Alan Cranston grew up in the Los Altos countryside with his sister, now Eleanor Fowle, his mother, Carol, and his father, William, who, working from a bicycle, built a solid real estate business. 

From his comparatively good life, emerged a man of thought and conviction.  He sees what is right and he does it.  As a Stanford University student, conversant in German.  Alan went to Germany to see for himself what Adolf Hitler was all about.  He traveled extensively: listening, asking questions.  He saw the repression, the fear, the hate of Hitler's Germany before most Americans knew about it.  He read Mein Kampf in the original, and was outraged when he returned home to discover that the American edition had been doctored dramatically. 

So, Alan Cranston took it upon himself to set the record straight.  He translated the original version, added anti-Nazi explanatory notes and published it. The Cranston version quickly sold more than 500,000 copies before publication was halted by Hitler's agents who sued Cranston for copyright violations. 

A foreign correspondent for International News Service from 1936-1939, Alan reported firsthand on the Fascist occupation of Ethiopia.  He continued as a journalist when he returned home: served in an executive post in the Office of War Information during the first part of World War II; declined a government deferment and enlisted in the Army in 1944. 

After the war, he took charge of the family and real estate business and wrote The Killing of the Peace," a book about the failure of international diplomacy which was cited by the New York Times as "one of the ten best books" of 1945. 

Greatly concerned about a destructive force of "The Bomb," Alan was invited to participate in the celebrated "Dublin Conference" in Dublin, New Hampshire, immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The conference deliberated the impact of the nuclear bomb on the future of the race and the planet.  Allen was appointed chairman and charged with furthering the cause of peace and ending the threat of nuclear war.  He began the crusade against the arms race in 1945.  He continues the fight today. 

He began his political career as a founder of the California Democratic Council, a grassroots and volunteer group that emphasized effective organization and the principles of social and economic justice.  From this base, in 1958, he made his first try for elective office, a statewide race for Controller.  His victory made him the first Democrat in 72 years to hold this post, in which he established a record of fiscal and managerial excellence. 

He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968, defeating a loyal lieutenant of then-Governor Reagan.  Expected to gravitate naturally to the articulate, but often powerless, liberal wing of the senate.  Alan Cranston surprised observers by displaying an unusual talent for maintaining good relations with conservatives and for striking compromises.

In 1974 and 1980, he established his vote getting credentials with stunning victories.  The influential Political Almanac says of Alan Cranston: "he shows the enthusiasm one expects from a young liberal idealist and the physical energy one expects from a man who holds the world 100-yard dash record for his age group."


Women's Rights

Alan Cranston fought for the rights of women long before it was popular to do so.  As a co-sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, he played a major role in securing the ERA time extension in 1978. 

Senator Cranston is responsible for the appointment of the first four women Federal District judges (including a black ) in the history of California, and for the appointment of California's first woman U.S. Attorney.

A consistent supporter of women's right to choice, Senator Cranston authored legislation to provide greater federal support for family planning. 

Senator Cranston also:

Authored legislation to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence;

Is one of the key supporters of day care programs;

Authored legislation to help disabled homemakers;

Worked to prohibit employment discrimination against pregnant women and authored an amendment to Medicaid mandating prenatal coverage of low income pregnant women;

Is the Senate sponsor of the Social Security Equity Act to end economic discrimination in the Social Security System:


Civil Rights

Alan Cranston has been a Senate leader in securing the enactment and passage of strong laws to ensure that all citizens - regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, language or national origin - have the opportunity to participate fully in our nation's economic, social and political processes.  Alan Cranston believes that discrimination has no place in a democratic society founded on the ideals of the quality and individual freedom. 


People Policy

Children - Senator Cranston: authored the Opportunities for Adoption Act, facilitating adoption of hard to place children. 

Worked for passage of the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 1974 and authored the 1978 extension of the program. 

Authored in the Senate the Adoption Assistance Child Welfare Act of 1980 and authored the Headstart Program Extension in 1978. 

Received the "Child Advocate of the Year Award" in 1979 from the Child Welfare League of America. 

Senior citizens - Senator Cranston as a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Aging:

Sponsored amendments to the Older Americans Act and was involved actively in the development of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. 

Co-authored the Research on Aging Act of 1974, which established the National Institute on Aging, the major federal focal point for research related to the aging process. 

Handicapped - Senator Cranston: Is the leading Senate advocate - and, during the Reagan administration, protector - of programs to help handicapped citizens and opened the mainstream of society to them.

Was the chief author of the "civil rights charter" for handicapped persons - the law prohibiting discrimination against handicapped citizens and programs where federal funds are used.

Throughout the seventies, wrote many laws strengthening the civil rights of disabled Americans and expanding education, rehabilitation services and federal employment opportunities for them.

Veterans - Senator Cranston: Is the leading Senate advocate for effective programs to meet the nation's responsibilities to those who defended it and to the survivors of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. No one has done more in the past fourteen years to ensure that government fulfills those obligations fully, honorably and with compassion.

Legal Services for the Poor - Senator Cranston: Co-sponsored the 1974 Act creating the Legal Services Corporation, providing legal assistance to the poor. Senator Cranston also co-sponsored legislation extending appropriations for this program in 1977.  He is a prime protector of the Legal Services Program in the Senate against the assaults made upon it by President Reagan.

Welfare Reform - Senator Cranston: Is a longtime supporter of the current income tax credit, designed to assist low income, working families.

Co-sponsored legislation establishing targeted jobs tax credits, encouraging employers to hire welfare recipients.

Gay Rights - Senator Cranston: Is a longtime advocate of equal protection and non-discrimination for gay and lesbian Americans.

Emergency Medical Services - Senator Cranston: And it is the use of paramedics for extended treatment in emergency care.

Authored emergency medical services act which improved emergency care throughout the country and made emergency services available to remote and under-serviced areas.


The Environment

A healthy environment is essential to the continuance of life. Yet, modern industry poses environmental complications.  Senator Cranston has demonstrated the strong commitment and creative leadership necessary to have both a healthy environment and a healthy economy.

Air - The clean air act, which Senator Cranston co-sponsored, must be extended and strengthened. Executive control must be exerted over hazardous pollutants and radioactive emissions, beginning with the places where Americans work. The international problem of acid rain needs tough, immediate action by the United States.

Soil - We lose farmland to industrial development at a dangerous rates.  We lose 26 square miles of topsoil to erosion every day. Conversion of scarce agricultural land should be limited through a sound national land use policy, including tax incentives for maintaining productive farmland and federal programs for protection of topsoil.

Water - By the year 2000, worldwide demand for fresh water will double. Careful planning on a national and international level, proper management of water resources, improvement in water quality standards and conservation are vital.

Food - The world is running out of food.  As the leading producer of food, the United States should share with lesser developed nations techniques for increasing crop yields. Hunger and malnutrition are global problems that demand compassionate, generous U.S. Aid, unilaterally and through world organizations.

Public Land and Recreation - Senator Cranston is personally responsible for the establishment of more protected wilderness areas than anyone in government.  Programs to preserve public lands are critical for recreational enjoyment and to protect ecological balance. Our national parks system is a national treasure, and it must be preserved, protected, and expanded.


Nuclear Arms Reduction

Between the United States and the Soviet Union, there are more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. That's four tons of TNT for every man, woman and child on the planet. Senator Alan Cranston is running for President to stop the arms race.

He began this fight in 1945 and has become a leader in the movement to end the possibility of nuclear war. Senator Cranston was the leading advocate of SALT ratification in the U.S. Senate co-sponsored the Nuclear Freeze Resolution. His record on arms reduction is long-standing, unwavering and unequaled.

Alan Cranston believes the single most important job of the next President is to deliver to the American people a fair, verifiable nuclear arms freeze agreement with the Soviet Union along with successful negotiations for arms reduction. That's why he advocates direct, face-to-face negotiations with the Soviet leader. He believes it is the personal responsibility of the President of the United States.  Ending the arms race is not a detail to leave to staff.

The North American Defense Command reported 151 computer false alarms in one 18-month period.  There are more than 100,000 Americans with direct authorized access to nuclear weapons. In 1977 alone, 1,219 had to be relieved of their duty because of mental disorders, 1,365 for drug abuse, 256 for alcoholism. No one is perfect. That is just the point.

"The aim must be the total abolition of nuclear weapons. Our nation and our world will never be safe until those weapons are banished from the face of the earth." Senator Alan Cranston Iowa State Democratic Convention June 20, 1982


Real Economic Solutions

Senator Cranston believes:

Jobs - America must have a creative national strategy to end unemployment and make our economy grow so that it can provide new jobs. Ending the arms race will enable us to focus our scientific and entrepreneurial talents on modernizing American industry. The wasteful diversion of money to gold-plated, over-priced weapons systems from necessities like education and research and development is mortgaging the future of our economy.

We must revitalize our nation's infrastructure that provides the transportation, water and energy that are so vital to commerce. We must lower interest rates to permit industry and homeowners to borrow money to build new plants and homes.

Industrial Modernization - A system for long-term financing must be developed for those sectors of the economy which have the capacity to grow, to provide job and profit opportunities.  Government must encourage industry to modernize and, if necessary, provide breathing space from unfair foreign competition while modernization is taking place. We must face reality and set in motion a process for rechanneling the capacities of those industries and those workers.

Education - We cannot expect our economy to improve while we cut education funding nearly in half; while schools across the country are closing and others are reducing hours of instruction.

The new growth industries demand workers skilled in technology but all our schools are not preparing students for this future. We have half the number of science and math teachers we need; half of our high school graduates have no science or math beyond the tenth grade. Two-thirds of our school districts allow graduation with no more than one science or math course.

Creative Management - We must encourage the development of creative methods - like profit sharing opportunities, stock options, bonuses for productivity, and a voice in the decision-making process - to reward the working men and women who produce the bounties of life in our society.

Our attitudes about work must change. The distance between managers and workers must lessen.  The President should work to forge a new partnership of business and labor, not wedge the government between them.

The Federal Reserve - the Federal Reserve Board, which sets monetary policy, must be revamped to bring its policies into line with the fiscal policies set by a President.


Foreign Policy

International Human Rights - Senator Cranston authored the 1975 legislation which curbed U.S. aid to dictators who violate fundamental human rights.  As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Cranston led the successful effort to block Ernest Lefever's appointment to the nation's top human rights post. He is a leader in the efforts to secure immigration rights for Soviet Jews.

Israel - A deeply committed supporter of Israel, Senator Cranston equates the security of Israel with our national interest.  He believes our sacred commitment to Israel are inviolate: we have unseverable, emotional, historic, ideological and spiritual ties. 

Senator Cranston led the fight in Congress against the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia and he opposed the 1978 "package sale" arms to the Middle East.  In a true act of friendship, Senator Cranston communicated his anguish to Prime Minister Begin's cause by the massacre of hundreds of men, women and children in the camps of Beirut.  He believes it would be against Israel's best interest if her friends were unquestioning.

Senator Cranston is committed to the Camp David peace process.

Environmental Foreign Policy - The quality of our environment is no less a matter of national security than armaments. The United States should take the lead in establishing international policies sensitive to the environment.  Foreign Aid should be contingent upon such considerations.

International Politics - Senator Cranston's many initiatives in foreign policy include: efforts to achieve a home recognition of the People's Republic of China; opposing American involvement in El Salvador; and playing a leading role in securing passage of the Panama Canal Treaties which enabled us to protect our interests in Panama without resort to force.

Alan Cranston has traveled the world extensively, both as a foreign correspondent and as a Senator.  He has established personal relationships with leaders throughout the world.


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