Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why The Dynamic Of 1972 Is The Wrong One For 2016 And Why 1968 Is The Right One

As I mentioned previously on here that 1968 is the real dynamic that this year's election mirrors, I realize that I forgot to add in how 1972's dynamic is absolutely wrong. There are a a couple of factors as to how that's the case and I'll describe them here.

First off, we need to understand that Bernie Sanders' campaign today does not mirror George McGovern's campaign in 1972, it mirrors Eugene McCarthy's in 1968. When McCarthy ran well to Lyndon Johnson's left on the issue of the Vietnam War, it gave him the propulsion necessary to bring him within striking distance of capturing The Democrats' nomination that year. What happened? The Democratic establishment in a swift, though reactive, move placed the incumbent Vice President at the time, Hubert Humphrey, on the top of the ticket which really infuriated and demoralized the Democratic base (Humphrey, as an important side-note, never campaigned for the nomination). Many felt that their vote had been robbed from them, and as such, either sat out the election, or voted for third parties. The Democrats would manage to pick up on their mistake 4 years later, but by the time they did, it was too late.

Which leads to the next point: how was it that George McGovern was so badly blown out in 1972? That's actually very simple, the Democrats caught the message of 1968 and campaigned on it 4 years after the fact, when it was no longer in people's minds. McGovern's platform was unable to gain any traction from the message no longer having any real relevance. The electorate was tired of liberal activism that year, and they saw Richard Nixon as having finally restored some sense of order following the chaos of the late 1960s. The prevailing wisdom at that time was that "Democrats can't govern," and that only the GOP could be entrusted to do so. That wisdom had a lot of traction up until about 2006 or so, when the electorate understood that the Republicans don't govern. That came on full display again in 2015-6.

That leads to the final point of saying that nominating Hillary Clinton is guaranteeing a lost opportunity. I know, that on paper, Hillary has an impressive resume that's worth considering, but that's not a good enough reason to give her the nomination. Hillary's judgment on several past decisions were off target (Iraq War, Libya, Syria no-fly zone, etc.), and resulted in people getting hurt or killed. Now, the problem with nominating Hillary, in my eyes, is that it will depress voter turnout in the general election, or worse, give us united government under the Republicans. If you think I'm off target, I'd suggest looking at polls on 270ToWin's website. In just about every election between 1968 and 2012 (with some notable exceptions like 1992 and 2008) we've a seen a continual drop in voter-turn out. With more and more people failing to turn out, it makes our democracy that much more susceptible to corrosive corruption by big-moneyed interests and hijacking by extreme voices. None of this is good for us, not at a pivotal moment such as this.

Keeping these points in mind, now you can see how comparing today's political dynamic to 1972 if we nominate Bernie is wrong, and how 1968 is actually the right comparison.

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