In 1976, a housewife from New York, Ellen McCormack ran for President. In 18 states, her name appeared on primary election ballots as a Democrat. Her platform was strictly based on a pro-life approach to the issue of abortion. Even though she did not win any primaries, McCormack’s campaign was successful enough to have raised money for federal matching funds and for Secret Service protection. The extra campaign dollars also allowed for the creation of television spots that would promote McCormack’s pro-life beliefs.
Would a commercial, such as this one, work in today’s political climate?
The following is from Teddy Roosevelt who was looking for a third term as President against sitting President William Taft (R) and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson (D). Roosevelt was running as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912.
Here is the transcript:
“The difference between Mr. Wilson and myself is fundamental. The other day in a speech at Sioux Falls, Mr. Wilson stated his position when he said that the history of government, the history of liberty, was the history of the limitation of governmental power. This is true as an academic statement of history in the past. It is not true as a statement affecting the present. It is true of the history of medieval Europe. It is not true of the history of 20th century America. In the days when all governmental power existed exclusively in the king or in the baronage and when the people had no shred of that power in their own hands, then it undoubtedly was true that the history of liberty was the history of the limitation of the governmental power of the outsider to possess that power. But today the people have, actually or potentially, the entire governmental power. It is theirs to use and to exercise if they choose to use and to exercise it. It offers the only adequate instrument with which they can work for the betterment, for the uplifting of the masses of our people. The liberty of which Mr. Wilson speaks today means merely the liberty of some great trust magnate to do that which he is not entitled to do. It means merely the liberty of some factory owner to work haggard women over hours for underpay and himself to pocket the proceeds. It means the liberty of the factory owner to crowd his operatives into some crazy death trap on the top floor where, if fire starts, the slaughter is immense. It means the liberty of the big factory owner who is conscienceless and unscrupulous to work his men and women under conditions which eat into their lives like a maggot. It means the liberty of even less conscientious factory owners to make their money out of the toil, the labor of little children. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by Mr. Wilson. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by the limitation of governmental power. We propose on the contrary to extend governmental power in order to secure the liberty of the wage worker, of the men and women who toil in industry, to save the liberty of the oppressed from the oppressor. Mr. Wilson stands for the liberty of the oppressor to oppress. We stand for the limitation of his liberty thus to oppress those who are weaker than himself. ”
What is your take on Roosevelt’s speech? What is your definition of liberty?
Posted in General Political Science
Tagged 1912, Bull Moose, Democrat, Governor, liberty, New Jersey, President, Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson
You might be thinking, “There’s not a dime’s worth of a difference between the Republican and Democrat parties.” However, there has to be some sort of difference between the two, otherwise, you would have one political party instead of two competing parties. Where do you think the biggest difference arises between the two?
Perhaps one of the most famous negative Presidential campaign ads came from 1964. It was run by the campaign of President Lyndon Johnson (D). His opponent was Republican Barry Goldwater. Johnson won the election in a landslide. This commercial, called the “Daisy” ad, aired only once as it was deemed to be too extreme at that time. The voice you hear in the middle of the ad is that of President Johnson. What is more important though is what is being “said” about Barry Goldwater.
What is being said about Barry Goldwater in this ad?
This clip is from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inauguration in 1933. It contains the famous line that has been recited over and over in history. Roosevelt’s optimism in 1933 was hard to come by. The nation was in the midst of the Great Depression. The nation was looking for leadership in a time of despair.
What is your assessment of the United States right now? What is your impression of the nation’s policies regarding social issues/the economy/foreign policy?
Heading into December, we look back at the November midterm elections. Here are some numbers from the recent elections with a comparison to the results in previous elections.
In 2012, Republicans held control of the House of Representatives by a 233-199 (3 vacancy) margin. After the 2014 elections, Republicans held 244 seats, Democrats held 188, and three are undecided.
In 2012, Democrats had a majority in the United States Senate. There were 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents in the upper chamber. After the 2014 midterms, Republicans held 53 seats, Democrats held 45, and Independents held 2. There is one undecided seat, but that seat will probably switch from Democrat to Republican with the expected loss of Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.
Republicans gained 2 seats for Governor in November. They now hold 31 seats. Democrats have 27 state executive seats. There is 1 Independent Governor (Alaska). One seat is still undecided (Vermont).
What do you think the reasons were for the Republican wave in 2014? Why did Republicans gain so many seats? Conversely, why did the Democrats lose so many?
In Louisiana, they have primary system that is sometimes called a “jungle primary“. This open form of a primary allows candidates for office to run on one ballot, regardless of party affiliation.
The 1991 Louisiana Primary for Governor
Edwin Edwards (D) 33.8%
David Duke (R) 31.7%
Buddy Roemer (R) 26.5%
Clyde Holloway (R) 5.3%
Others (including R, D, and I candidates) 2.2%
Since no candidate received a simple majority, a second election was held. Edwards defeated Duke 61-39%. In this case, a Democrat ran against a Republican in the second round. You could, however, end up with two candidates from the same party who run against each other in the second round.
In most other states, the conventional open and closed primary systems are used. In each case, a nominee is chosen by the public for each party. In open states, party affiliation is not a prerequisite for voting in either party’s primary. In closed primary states, you can only vote in the party primary under the label you are registered. Louisiana continues to use the “jungle primary”. What is your opinion on the “jungle primary”?
On a side note, the Louisiana race was an intriguing one due to the candidates who ran at the time. Edwin Edwards was an ethically challenged former Governor who lost a re-election bid to Governor Buddy Roemer. Roemer was elected in 1987 as a Democrat but then switched his affiliation to the Republican Party midway through his term. David Duke was a state Representative who was once the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Clyde Holloway was a Congressman who, some thought, ran a spoiler candidate who could siphon off votes from Roemer.
Posted in General Political Science
Tagged Buddy Roemer, Closed Primary, Clyde Holloway, Congressman, David Duke, Democrat, Edwin Edwards, General Political Science, Governor, Jungle Primary, Ku Klux Klan, Open Primary, primary, Republican