Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Does Democratic Convention Look More like 1968 or 2000?

Democrats have had trouble in the modern era winning the presidency after holding the White House for two terms.

Al Gore (L) and Hubert Humphrey (R)
Hubert Humphrey, nominated in the riotous Chicago Convention of 1968, lost to Richard Nixon by approximately 500,000 votes. Al Gore still lost the election after a Supreme Court decision (12-12-2000), even though he had a smooth nomination when his only competition, Bill Bradley, released his delegates at the start and the protestors outside downtown LA were mostly contained to a “protest zone.” Of course, Gore won the popular vote (he won by approximately 500,000).

Humphrey and Gore both struggled with the reputations of their predecessors, Presidents Johnson and Clinton, and faced effective campaigns by Republicans advocating it was time for a change.

Up to this point, much of the analysis has focused on the factions within the Republican Party reflected in the 17 candidates who showed up for the first debate. But, there is growing reason to believe the Democratic Convention, which will likely nominate Hillary Clinton will be at least as raucous as the Republicans. The economic left, currently backing Bernie Sanders, advocating massive expansion of spending and government and using the rhetoric of socialism now appears to represent at least a third of the party and produces rallies of tens of thousands of passionate supporters. A growing civil rights faction is demanding high-profile attention and solutions for so-called historic, institutional and structural racism in America. They are prepared to disrupt the party’s nominating process and leading candidates.

Will the Philadelphia Convention see mass protests and even riots? This election is likely to be a lot more like 1968 in terms of the level of division and the extreme rhetoric being tossed around within both parties. Democrats won’t be exempt.

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