Monday, April 25, 2016

Contested Conventions

I have some personal knowledge of contested Conventions, the last being the Democratic Convention in the 1952 election year. This has to go down as the only advantage to my age. I grew up in a liberal democratic family. My parents were poor dirt farmers on a subsistence farm. When they referred to farm equipment horsepower, it was in reference to real horses. To them, the depression years were not kind, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a God.

Naturally, we sat transfixed in front of our first TV set, a black and white picture. You could cut the drama with a dull knife as the favorite, Estes Kefauver went down to defeat, losing to Adlai Stevenson.

*From Wikipedia:

The 1952 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1952 U.S. presidential election. These proved inconclusive and the 1952 Democratic National Convention held from July 21 to July 26, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, was forced to go multiballot.[1]

The expected candidate for the Democratic nomination was incumbent President Harry S. Truman. But Truman entered 1952 with his popularity plummeting, according to polls. The bloody and indecisive Korean War was dragging into its third year, Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist crusade was stirring public fears of an encroaching “Red Menace”, and the disclosure of widespread corruption among federal employees (including some high-level members of Truman's administration) left Truman at a low political ebb.

Truman's main opponent was populist Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, who had chaired a nationally televised investigation of organized crime in 1951 and was known as a crusader against crime and corruption. The Gallup poll of February 15 showed Truman's weakness: nationally Truman was the choice of only 36% of Democrats, compared with 21% for Kefauver. Among independent voters, however, Truman had only 18% while Kefauver led with 36%. In the New Hampshire primary Kefauver upset Truman, winning 19,800 votes to Truman's 15,927 and capturing all eight delegates. Kefauver graciously said that he did not consider his victory "a repudiation of Administration policies, but a desire...for new ideas and personalities." Stung by this setback, Truman soon announced that he would not seek re-election (however, Truman insisted in his memoirs that he had decided not to run for re-election well before his defeat by Kefauver).

 When President Harry S. Truman declined the Democratic renomination in 1952, the party had its first open convention since 1932. Negotiations over the various nominees, debates over delegate credentials, and fights over the party loyalty oath resulted in a six-day convention, the longest in post-World War II history. Although ten Democrats were nominated, convention delegates drafted a favorite son--Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois. President Truman not only endorsed Stevenson but flew to Chicago to ensure his nomination. Backroom negotiations at the Congress Hotel neutralized a "Stop Stevenson" movement, and his supporters clinched his nomination on the third ballot.

*End Wikipedia

Well, the Democrats of 1952 went down to defeat, since war hero, Dwight Eisenhower was elected president and werved 2 terms. But the Democrats survived, and so will the Republican Party. I survived my brain washing and became a Goldwater advocate followed by my involvement with Ronald Reagan in 1965.

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