It was the summer of 1960 and the GOP were holding their national convention in Chicago. Rather than watch on TV, I decided to take the 16 mile train ride downtown to see the action in person. The Loop was crowded and on Michigan Avenue I saw Nelson Rockefeller get out of a car and walk into a hotel. That was my first sighting of a politician in the flesh. Not very impressive since he was so short and I was a block away.
Later that fall, I was on campus at the University of Illinois in Urbana. While crossing the quadrangle, I noticed a small crowd of about one hundred people grouped in front of a speaker on a low platform. Moving closer drawn by curiosity, I saw that it was Nixon’s running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., who had been the US Ambassador to the UN. I did not stop to listen because I was too young to vote and I was not interested in politics at that time.
I decided to become politically active in mid-2004. The first campaign event that I attended thereafter was on February 18, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Barack Obama. I have attended several other political events with live candidates since. I find that one can learn much more by attending events than one can learn from the minmal coverage given by the media.
Ben Ghazi is the son of reputed crime boss John Ghazi. Makes as much sense as the GOP attempts to smear Hillary Clinton with the death of four Americans in Libya. The Right has prepared a Benghazi movie which is scheduled for release two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. I predict that the GOP efforts are going to backfire. Tearing down Hillary will allow the Democrats to nominate an even stronger candidate for 2016, Jim Webb.
Using the same technique that destroyed ACORN, creative video editors on the Right have produced three videos, so far, intended to defund Planned Parenthood. I just received an email from the great climate change denier James Inhofe. Some acknowledge that the videos are denied by Planned Parenthood and its supporters, but then the talking heads on the Right go ahead and denounce Planned Parenthood as if there is no question about the truth and accuracy of the videos. They have not the decency to label them alleged as they must label murderers as alleged until proved guilty.
As long as Donald Trump threatens to run as a third-party candidate, the media will use 1992 as an example of a three-party race when Ross Perot was a candidate along with Bill Clinton and George HW Bush. I think that the three-party race of 1912 would be a better example. William Howard Taft was the GOP president and Teddy Roosevelt wanted the nomination. When he didn’t get it, he ran as an independent and finished second. Wilson placed first. The results were as follows:
Wilson 6,294,284 41.83%
Teddy R. 4,120,609 27.39%
Taft 3,487,937 23.18%
One can look at the results and say that a united GOP would have won. Perhaps so, but there is another way to look at it. Wilson was a progressive Democrat and Teddy a progressive Republican. Adding their totals together, assuming the voters wanted a progressive, produces a landslide for the progressive platform. In 1912, the voters preferred Wilson to Teddy. Another progressive, Eugene Debs, received almost 6% of the vote, making a progressive total of nearly 75%.
In 2016, the likely contest will between Mitt and Jim Webb. In 2016, any Democrat will defeat any Republican. If Trump stays in the race, he will take votes away from Mitt who might even finish third in a three-way race.