Walter Mondale, a liberal Democrat who served as US Vice President under Jimmy Carter before losing his own White House candidacy to Ronald Reagan in 1984, has died aged 93.
Mondale, originally from southern Minnesota, launched his political career in 1960 as attorney general of his home state, then four years later as a US senator, before becoming one of the party’s leading figures. Democrat in the mid to late 20th century. .
During his career, Mondale has been credited with reinvigorating and adding importance to the role of the Vice President in American politics, and for tapping Geraldine Ferraro as vice president in 1984: the first time a woman was nominated for the role of a major party. Mondale, who was known as “Fritz”, also made a stint in American diplomacy, as ambassador to Japan during Bill Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s.
“During our administration, Fritz used his political skills and personal integrity to transform the vice presidency into a dynamic and political force that had never been seen before and that still exists today,” Carter said in a press release Monday evening. “He was an invaluable partner and an excellent servant to the people of Minnesota, the United States and the world,” added the former president.
From the start of his political career, Mondale has been an advocate for causes, including the need for a stronger social safety net, fair housing laws and civil rights.
“There are a lot of bad consequences that flow from segregation. Children don’t do as well. We live separately. We don’t learn from each other. We are all Americans. And yet we separate on the basis of race. And I think it has to stop, ”he told National Public Radio in 2018.
But Mondale was also known for the frankness with which he was ready to discuss the challenges the United States faces. Most memorable, during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, he warned he was ready to raise taxes to improve the country’s fiscal position.
“Let’s tell the truth,” he said. “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did. “Mondale lost the 1984 election in a landslide, winning only Minnesota and the District of Columbia. He later noticed that during that run, Reagan” was selling “Morning in America” and I was selling a root canal ”.
Mondale played a pivotal role in some of the Carter administration’s most significant achievements, including the 1978 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt. But the energy crisis plaguing the US economy and the confrontation with hostages in Iran have undermined the administration’s foreign policy credentials, and Mondale and Carter have been unable to secure a second term in the face of the rise of conservative sentiment and Reagan’s major challenge.
Later in life Mondale ran for another candidacy in 2002, when he sought a Senate seat following a plane crash that killed Paul Wellstone, the Democratic senator from Minnesota. But the former vice president was narrowly beaten by Republican Norm Coleman, putting an end to his dreams of a political comeback.
In recent days, Mondale has written a brief farewell message to his staff, highlighting his impending reunion with his late wife and daughter, who died before him.
“Well, my time has come. I can’t wait to join Joan and Eleanor, ”Mondale wrote. “Together we have achieved so much and I know you will keep up the good fight. Joe [Biden] in the White House certainly helps.