The American Presidental Election Of 1972, Nixon And Mc Govern

2790 words - 11 pages

The Presidential election of 1972 had two strong candidates,President Richard Nixon and George McGovern. There were many issueswhich had a great deal of importance to the election. The Vietnam war andthe stability of the economy at the time were two main factors. The electionended in one the largest political scandals in U.S. history, being the Watergatebreak-in, and cover-up, by President Richard Nixon.The Democratic party had a large selection of candidates from whichto choose for the primary elections of 1972. There were many well knowncandidates who entered the race for the nomination. The leading contenderswere Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, Senator George McGovern of SouthDakota and Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota. Other candidates who didn'treceive quite as much recognition were Alabama governor George C.Wallace, Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, Rep. Wilbur D. Mills ofArkansas, Sen. Vance Hartke of Indiana, former Senator Eugene J.McCarthy of Minnesota, Mayor John Lindsay of New York City and Rep.Shirley Chisholm of New York. Chisholm was the first black to run in aseries of presidential primaries.' (Congressional Quarterly, 'Guide to U.S.Elections', Third ed., 1994, pg.603-605.) 5Governor Wallace had a devastating moment in his campaign while inMaryland. 'In early May a sick young man named Arthur Bremer altered thepolitics of 1972. As Governor Wallace campaigned toward certain victory inthe Maryland primary, Bremer stepped forward out of a shopping-centercrowd and shot him four times. Wallace survived, but at the cost of beingparalyzed from the waist down. Maryland's voters surged out on election dayto give Wallace a huge victory, his last of 1972. While Wallace recuperated,the millions who would have voted for him as a Democratic or independentcandidate began to move in overwhelming proportions behind the candidacybegan to move in overwhelming proportions behind the candidacy of RichardNixon.' (Benton, William. 'U.S. Election of 1972.' Encyclopedia BritannicaBook of the Year. pg.12-13, 1973 ed.)1When the California primary was approaching, Humphrey tried tosave the nomination for himself. 'Humphrey excoriated his old senate friend(McGovern) for his expensive ideas on welfare and his desire to cut thedefense budget. It almost worked. But McGovern won all of California'sgiant delegation, and beat Humphrey 44.3% to 39.1% in the popular vote.'5That loss spelled out the end for Humphrey's Democratic nomination.Many felt Edmund Muskie was sure to win the Democraticnomination for the election of 1972. 'All political observers agreed on thecertainty that Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine would be the Democraticparty's nominee.'1 'As the front-runner, he wanted to snare the nominationearly and so was committed to running in all of the first eight presidentialprimaries. Prominent Democratic politicians lined up eagerly to endorse him.Among them: Gov. John Gilligan of Ohio; Leonard Woodcock, President ofthe United Auto Workers; Iowa Senator Harold Hughes;...

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