Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Important Political Conventions

With elections and national conventions on our mind, Smithsonian Magazine ran an article last month about four presidential convictions that they see as particularly important.
The four they covered were:

1.) 1912 Republican

  • In this one TR and Taft went head to head and ended up splitting the Republican Party and giving the election to Wilson.

2.) 1948 Democratic

  • This was the nomination of Truman for reelection when the Democrats didn’t think they could win. What was important here was that civil rights were tied to the Democratic Party even though it meant losing many white Southerners.

3.) 1964 Republican

  • This discusses the nomination of Goldwater, who would lose in a major way to Lyndon Johnson.

4.) 1968 Democratic

  • This convention was actually violent and hugely disappointing for many:
    From whatever political perspective—party regulars, irregulars or reformers—they all shared an abiding pessimism over their prospects against a Republican Party that had coalesced behind Richard M. Nixon. They gave voice to their various frustrations in the International Amphitheatre during bitter, often profane, floor fights over antiwar resolutions. The eventual nomination of Humphrey, perceived heir to Johnson's war policies, compounded the sense of betrayal among those who opposed the war. The bosses, not the people who voted in the primaries, had won.

There is another online tidbit to go with this story as well, a list of “conventional” facts. Here are a few:

  • The first convention was in 1831 by the Anti-Masonic Party
  • The first convention broadcast on TV was in 1940 – it was the Republican.
  • The longest convention was 17 days in 1924 – it was Democratic.
  • The city that has had the most conventions is Chicago – 11 Democratic and 14 Republican.

1 comment:

Geoff Elliott said...

I'm surprised that they left out the 1860 Republican convention, when Lincoln shockingly beat out William Seward and Salmon Chase, his main political rivals within the party. This momentous decision by the convention directly led to the seccession of the southern states, thus precipitating the Civil War.