Friday, February 8, 2008

Dragging it out

Now that former Massachusetts Governor Willard Mitt Romney has withdrawn his candidacy, it pretty much looks like Arizona Senator John Sidney McCain III will be the Republican Party nominee for President.

On the Democratic side, though, Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton are battling it out.

Some say that if the Democratic race drags on, it'll weaken the party's eventual candidate.

Others say that it will strengthen the eventual nominee.

I'm banking on the former.

Heck, I'm pulling for it.

Let the Democrats drag it out. It'll cause Obama or Clinton to be weaker against the GOP nominee.



I believe that we can learn from history.

Now, limiting this to elections I remember, here's why I say history shows it'll benefit the GOP for the Dems to drag it out.

First election I remember was 1964. Although I was too young to vote, I was pulling for Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

But, in the run-up to November, the Democrats rallied around President Lyndon Johnson. The Republicans, however, were split between Goldwater and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

The knock-down-drag-out weakened the GOP, and LBJ won in a landslide.

In 1968, Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey was battling New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, when Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles in June.

The long battle ended with Humphrey winning the nomination, but continuing to be challenged by Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, who ran as a 3rd party candidate.

Republican nominee, former Vice-President Richard M. Nixon won the GOP nomination fairly easily over Michigan Governor George W. Romney and California Governor Ronald Reagan.

And, in November, Nixon won.

In 1972, the GOP was solidly behind Nixon.

The Democrats, though, battled into the convention.

Humphrey received more votes in the primaries than any other Democrat, but South Dakota Senator George McGovern had more delegates.

And, again, a bullet impacted the party when Wallace's campaign was cut short when he was shot in Maryland in May.

The hard-fought campaign took its toll on McGovern and the Democrats, who were overwhelmed in November by Nixon and the Republicans.

1976 had former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter wrapping things up surprisingly easy.

But, on the GOP side, President Gerald R. Ford went into the convention leading in delegates, but still not enough to secure the nomination. He barely beat Reagan on the first ballot, then lost to Carter in November.

1980 saw Reagan wrap up the GOP nomination over former CIA Director George Bush in fairly short order.

The Democrats, though, battled to the convention. Massachusetts Senator (and former Oldsmobile driver) Edward M. Kennedy battled Carter all the way to the convention.

After prevailing in a nasty convention, Carter was sent packing in November as Reagan swept into the Presidency.

1984 saw Reagan wrap it up quickly as the only serious Republican candidate.

But, after the final Democratic primary of the year, former Vice-President Walter F. Mondale had a lead, but not a majority of the delegates. The battle with Colorado Senator Gary Hart took its toll.

Of course, Reagan won big in November.

1988 was again an easy primary season for the GOP. Vice President Bush wrapped it up soon after "Super Tuesday," beating Kansas Senator Bob Dole.

But, on the Democrats' side, preacher and professional trouble-maker Jesse Jackson battled Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis up to the convention.

Dukakis won, of course, but was beaten by Bush in November.

1992 had Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton wrapping up the Democratic nomination in April.

Bush was challenged by former speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan. Though Bush wrapped the nomination up fairly early, Buchanan's continued attacks weakened the President, and Clinton won in November, although without a majority of the popular vote.

1996 had Clinton renominated easily, but Dole fighting for the GOP nomination, challenged primarily by Buchanan and publisher Steve Forbes.

Clinton won in November, again without a majority of the popular vote.

2000 had Vice President Al Gore facing a challenge from former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. Not much of a challenge, though, as Gore was nominated easily.

Texas Governor George W. Bush held off McCain, and took the GOP nomination easily.

With both parties picking nominees early on, the race in November was one of the closest in history, with Bush narrowly picking up enough electoral votes to win the Presidency.

In 2004, Bush, unlike his father, had an easy time being renominated.

On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry faced tough challenges from North Carolina Senator John Edwards before wrapping up the nomination in mid-March.

Bush, of course, won in November.

There you have it.

In my lifetime -- at least, while I was old enough to remember -- the party who had the hardest campaign in picking a nominee was the losing party in November.

Here's hoping that holds true again this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy