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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Presidential Losers #42: Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace

Hubert Humphrey
Alabama Governor, George Wallace split from the Democratic party and ran as an independent, appealing to any voters who still missed the good ol' days of racial segregation.  There turned out to be about ten million of them.

George Wallace
Humphrey had a hard time as LBJ's former veep, because the nation had turned on Johnson like milk left out on a radiator overnight.  The Great Society wasn't working out so great, and the Vietnam War was an enormous liability for Johnson, which is why he decided not to run.  Protesters around the nation chanted "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"  Which is kind of stupid because if the protesters wanted to know, they could just watch it on tv like anybody else.  

Nixon ran on a "law and order" campaign (which meant he wasn't going to put up with these damn protesters) appealing to the "silent majority" (which meant all the people willing to sit down and shut up).  Democrats said "law and order" was a code word for racism, but that's not fair.  The racism candidate was clearly George Wallace.  

Nixon proposed ending the draft, which he figured would quell the protests, since he thought it was mostly rich kids in the demonstrations.  Poor kids, he figured, wouldn't protest; being poor is a full-time job, and doesn't leave time for sit-ins.

Humphrey began denouncing the Vietnam War, and on Halloween got  a boost in the polls when Johnson announced an end to the bombing and a possible peace deal.  The deal fell through, and Johnson believed that Nixon had sabotaged the Paris peace talks by promising South Vietnam sweeter terms under a Republican administration.  This, however, is just raw paranoia on Johnson's part; to believe that, you might as well think Nixon would use the IRS to harass political enemies or spend campaign funds digging up dirt to discredit opponents.  

Political sage Foster Brooks credited Hubert's loss to poor timing; he happened to run at the same time as Richard Nixon.  If the election had been a day earlier or a day later, Hubert would have been in the White House.  

Result

Richard Nixon: 301
Hubert Humphrey: 191
George Wallace: 46

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