Red and black text on white background . Red stars surrounding an image of a peanut with Jimmy Carter's teeth imposed on the image.
C 1976 J.L. Minton
In the wake of the Watergate scandal and Nixon's resignation, Jimmy Carter's Washington 'outsider' image caught the eye of disillusioned voters who were fed up with the politics 'as usual' mentality corroding Capital Hill. Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, a rather uncharismatic and aloof president, came out of the Republican primaries bloody and beaten, and nearly twenty points behind Carter in the polls. Much of this was due to the strength of west-coast conservative firebrand, Ronald Reagan.
Part of Carter's success in the 1976 election can be attributed to the effectiveness of his grassroots campaign. The "Peanut Brigade," a group of volunteers, friends, and other Carter supporters from Georgia, led his campaign to a string of victories throughout the primaries, including an important win over George Wallace, an arch-segregationist and former governor of Alabama. In the end, the election was close—Ford closed the lead Carter had once enjoyed in August, but the latter came out on top, becoming the 39th president of the United States. As historian Douglas Brinkley once observed, "It was the right message at the right time. And it didn't happen by accident. Carter created that message, knowing that that's what would win the day."