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Sun May 29, 2016, 08:06 AM

Democracy Within the Democratic Party: Presidential Elections Part 3 of a Series.



Part 1 of this Series is at http://www.democraticunderground.com/127710632
Part 2 of this Series is at http://www.democraticunderground.com/127710635

By 1952, Truman's disapproval rating was 66%. Reasons cited include rising McCarthyism, corruption within Truman's administration and the "Korean Police Action," one of several "hot" wars of the "Cold" War Era. Although Truman's memoirs assert that he had decided not to run again well before the 1952 primaries began, Truman did enter the 1952 New Hampshire primary. The war-time incumbent lost all eight New Hampshire primary delegates to Senator Estes Kefauver. Not long afterward, Truman withdrew. (No flies on Harry!)

As his successor, Truman cannily sought General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower refused, later becoming the Republican nominee. Kefauver, a Southerner who had held hearings on organized crime, went on to win all but three primaries. Although Democratic primary voters had spoken clearly, Democratic Party bosses, including Truman, refused to support Kefauver because his investigations had revealed connections between Mafiosi and many big-city Democratic political organizations. Such was democracy in the Democratic Party in 1952.

The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held in Illinois. The Governor of Illinois was Adlai Stevenson II, scion of politicians, both maternal and paternal, who emerged as potential candidate. However, Stevenson waffled about running, to Truman's consternation. After a meeting with Joseph Arvey, the "boss" of the Illinois delegates, however, Stevenson decided to run.

Winning the nomination required Stevenson to defeat a field that included, among others, Minnesota Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, a civil rights advocate, and Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, a segregationist. (A decade later, Fulbright became mentor to a high schooler named William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, whom Fulbright later employed and introduced to James McDougal, of Whitewater notoriety. Such is the plaited plutocracy!)

Stevenson was then considered a moderate on civil rights. Mindful of the "Solid South," Truman and few other political insiders chose as Stevenson's running mate Senator John Sparkman, a conservative segregationist from Alabama. The Democratic National Convention complied. Stevenson lost to Eisenhower by a landslide, carrying only nine Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

In 1956, Stevenson battled Kefauver in primaries until Kefauver had to withdraw for lack of funds. Kefauver did, however, win the Vice Presidential nomination, beating out Senator John F. Kennedy. Stevenson also nabbed the nomination from Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and New York Governor Averell Harriman.

Against the incumbent, Stevenson did even worse than he had in 1952, winning only seven states, Missouri and six Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. No losing candidate had won Missouri since William Jennings Bryan in 1900. For his part, Eisenhower won Louisiana, the first Republican Presidential nominee so to do since Rutherford Hayes in 1876, during Reconstruction. In other words, the 1952 pick of the Party bosses took a "thumpin" in two consecutive Presidential elections.

Positing that Stevenson lost because Party bosses chose him, contrary to the wishes of Democratic primary voters, is very tempting. While that may have been a factor, other good reasons certainly existed. Eisenhower was a very recent, very famous war hero and former NATO commander. Additionally, he seemed much less of an elitist than did the erudite Stevenson, who was dubbed an "egghead." Also, Stevenson had divorced in 1949. Although several Presidents, including Jackson, had been married to divorcées when they ran for office, none had themselves been divorced. Although his divorce was not an overt issue in either 1952 or 1956, sources cite "a whispering campaign."

In the sixty years since 1956, the Democratic Party has not again nominated for President anyone who has been divorced or anyone who has lost a Presidential election. This seems to be a pattern for the modern Democratic Party: if a Democratic Presidential nominee loses the general election, the Party takes away "lessons" from the loss that may or may not have had anything to do with the loss and never again deviates from those "lessons."

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Reply Democracy Within the Democratic Party: Presidential Elections Part 3 of a Series. (Original post)
merrily May 2016 OP
LiberalArkie May 2016 #1
merrily May 2016 #2

Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:31 AM

1. K&R Very Good.. Thank you

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #1)

Sun May 29, 2016, 11:47 AM

2. You're most welcome.

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