John McCain

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Veterans And Evangelicals: Two Groups Alienated From Donald Trump!

Donald Trump’s recent attack on Arizona Senator John McCain, that his being a prisoner of war in North Vietnam did not make McCain a hero, was a terrible, disgraceful statement by a man who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War, while McCain suffered with torture, and refused to accept early return unless his fellow prisoners were also released.

That is a true mark of a profile in courage, and McCain, rightfully, whatever disagreements there might be with his views, should be honored, as all veterans who were prisoners of war should be, since that is a tremendous sacrifice for their country.

So Trump has, clearly, alienated millions of veterans of all of our wars, and that will help to destroy his candidacy for President.

Then, to top it off, Trump made it clear that he does not ask God for forgiveness of sins, which certainly will alienate millions of evangelical Christians and Catholics, who take their religion seriously, and vote in large numbers in the Iowa Caucuses, and generally have a great influence on the Republican Presidential race every four years, since the Religious Right became prominent in the late 1970s.

So Trump’s big mouth, and inability to filter what he thinks before he speaks, will, thankfully, undermine his candidacy, and, eventually, force him out of the Presidential race.

But of course, Trump could still run a third party or independent campaign, and have no controls on what he says, and in so doing, he would destroy the Republican Party and guarantee a Democratic Party Presidential and Congressional victory in 2016!

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake Defend Mexican American Contributions, And Denounce Donald Trump’s Nativism!

It is great news to see Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake criticizing Donald Trump before his visit to the state this weekend.

It is also great to see them point out the major contributions of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics-Latinos to their state’s development.

It is, at the same time, disturbing to see Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the master of “racial profiling”, who has been a holy terror against all Mexican Americans and other Hispanics-Latinos, harassing motorists, and using unconstitutional methods in his jails in the county, come to Trump’s support. The federal government is working hard to overcome the civil rights violations of Sheriff Arpaio, but Arpaio has been a friend of Donald Trump and will greet him this weekend. They share the belief in the “Birther” theory about Barack Obama being born outside the United States.

Also, former Governor Jan Brewer has come to the support of Trump, which only adds to the image of Brewer as one of the absolutely worst Governors in America in the past half dozen years.

Ironically, new Governor Doug Ducey, condemned by progressives for his hard line views on immigration, has decided to join McCain and Flake in refusing to meet up with Trump, but the state government of Arizona still remains troublesome in their approach to immigration.

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders, Part III: The US Senate

In two earlier entries, we have discussed five “losers”, who were or are Republican Governors, but are not to be seen seriously as qualified to be President for various reasons; and three non office holders who think their medical and business careers make them Presidential material, but only in their deluded minds.

In Part III today, we will look at four figures who have served in the US Senate, three still there, and one who left nearly a decade ago.

First, we have Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a look alike for Joseph McCarthy, the old Communist witch hunter of the 1950s. Cruz had no problem shutting down the government in 2013, and continues to call for every part of ObamaCare to be repealed, despite the fact that Texas has more people who have no health care, including Medicaid. Cruz is a very evil man; a very nasty man; a very dangerous man to give executive power to; a man who thinks he is extremely brilliant, simply based on his Princeton and Harvard Law School degrees; a Senator disliked by just about all of his Republican colleagues; a man who would divide America and the Republican Party with his destructive Tea Party extremism.

Then we have Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is the son of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian champion. The two Pauls have a lot of young people who seem to adore them, as they both hate government, and both are isolationists in foreign policy. Rand Paul is an optometrist, who set up his own association, rather than go through the national organization, and it makes one wonder as to his true skill as an eye doctor. He has blundered on so many issues, and does not come across as very bright; has shown lack of concern for the poor in his own state; has made statements against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as being enforceable; has led filibusters in the Senate that have made one wonder about his ability to get along with others; but at the same time, has shown concern about privacy rights and the issue of minor drug offenses that has imprisoned so many young people, many of them African American. So despite his faults, he has some redeeming values, but he is not highly regarded by the Republican establishment, and to believe a libertarian will be nominated and elected President requires hallucinations by those who imagine such an event happening.

Then we have South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the major “hawk” in the Senate, along with his good friend, Arizona Senator John McCain. There is not a war or country that Graham and McCain do not wish to intervene in, and both are diametrically the opposite of Rand Paul on foreign policy. While Graham has some more humane views on some issues domestically, he has no real support that could win him the nomination for the Presidency, and many hold it against him that when in the House of Representatives, he led the move toward impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

And then we have former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who lost his Senate seat in 2006 by a landslide; who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2012; but who is a right wing extremist on social issues, and is committed to disobey a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, which is pending, if he becomes President. Santorum is infamous for outrageous, narrow minded views, as he is the favorite of the Religious Right, and his social views would take back America to many decades earlier. His chances of being the nominee are the lowest of these four Senators, all of whom are embarrassments to the historical traditions of the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

So we have covered now 12 of 16 potential Republican nominees, and further analysis of the four remaining candidates—one Senator, one former Governor, and two sitting Governors—will be forthcoming soon.

Republican Infighting On Who To Blame For ISIL (ISIS): Rand Paul Vs. John McCain And Lindsey Graham! It Only Helps The Democrats In 2016!

The Republican Presidential race is getting ever more heated and divisive, as the fight over who is to blame for the rise of ISIL (ISIS) rages.

The standard argument of many Republicans is that Barack Obama is responsible for the rise of ISIL (ISIS). And some blame Hillary Clinton since she was Obama’s Secretary of State in his first term.

At the same time, Democrats say it is George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who are responsible for the rise of ISIL (ISIS).

But now, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who could be described as a “dove” in foreign policy, blames neither Obama nor Bush and company.

Rather, he blames fellow Republican Senators and Super “hawks” John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham (a soon to be announced opponent for the Republican Presidential nomination) for the rise of ISIL (ISIS)!

And, to top it off, the Wall Street Journal says it is Rand Paul who is responsible for the rise of ISIL (ISIS), as he is an “isolationist”!

So civil war is breaking out in the Republican Party over the Middle East and military intervention.

It is clear that IF somehow, highly unlikely, Rand Paul were to win the GOP nomination, the neoconservatives who took us into Iraq in 2003 would refuse to support him, all to the good for Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic nominee for President in 2016.

But if somehow, even less likely, Lindsey Graham were to win the nomination, he would face an equally divided party, and would have even less chance of defeating any Democrat for the White House!

Divorce And The Presidency: Adlai Stevenson To The Present

The news of the death of Happy Rockefeller, the second wife and widow of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, brings to mind the issue of “domestic bliss” or the lack of it in our politicians, past and present.

Rockefeller was thought to be the leading Republican candidate for President in 1964, but when he divorced his first wife and married his second wife, his chances for the nomination evaporated very quickly.

Only Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, had been a nominee and been divorced before Rockefeller’s situation came along a decade later.

This did not mean that there were never liaisons and love triangles before, as Warren G. Harding had been cheating on his wife, but never had thought of divorce.

And Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed with Eleanor Roosevelt, knowing that if he divorced her, his chances for a political career were over.

There was plenty of sexual “hanky panky” throughout American history, without any thought of divorce, including, besides Harding and FDR the following: Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and others.

But none of them ever considered divorce seriously, and Stevenson was hurt by his divorce, as was Rockefeller.

But that changed when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, and had been divorced more than 30 years earlier.

And since Reagan, we have had Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain, all divorced, but nominated by their parties, although no other divorced person has been elected President.

So divorce, so common in politics now, is no longer an issue, as it was throughout our history!

Seymour Hersh Unsubstantiated Article Tries To Take Away Obama Accomplishment Of Killing Osama bin Laden In 2011

Seymour Hersh, the legendary investigative journalist known for scooping many stories over a long career, has revealed in an article what he says proves that Barack Obama lied about the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Hersh, using one unsubstantiated source, claims that the story of how Osama was killed is false, and that Pakistan knew about the operation, and was in on the entire event, in ways that have been earlier denied by the Pentagon and the White House.

It is not an issue of whether Osama was killed, but how the operation came about. If it was true, which it most certainly is not, it would mean a vast number of people, both political and military, were engaged in a coverup, only adding to conspiracy theories that abound all of the time.

But even responsible Republicans in Congress, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, the rival of the President in the 2008 Presidential election, and a major critic since, has deplored the unsubstantiated story, and said that the government explanation is correct, and that Obama deserves full credit for the successful action.

It is amazing how Obama cannot have credit for anything without accusations that have no basis, but it is good that McCain and other responsible Republicans have backed the President.

Of course, that does NOT mean that the Right Wing lunatics will not claim the story to be true, and assuredly, some of the GOP Presidential candidates will claim the Seymour Hersh story is true. This is based on the total lack of credibility and responsibility of these demagogues who will do anything to manipulate the evangelical Right in the Iowa Caucuses that begin the Presidential campaign next January!

The Republican Presidential Circus—22 Potential Nominees May Compete In The 2016 Caucuses And Primaries!

The Republican Party is a true circus, with a new potential number of people announcing for President numbering TWENTY TWO—Yes, TWENTY TWO!

If that happens, the debates that will take place in the next year will be a true mockery, a true example of total loss of any respectability of the political process, and will insure that the Republican Party will go down to defeat, probably with a greater electoral vote loss than in 2012, and possibly, greater than 2008! The 206 electoral votes won by Mitt Romney and the 173 won by John McCain might be lower than either number!

The whole idea that TWENTY TWO possible candidates think they are qualified to be President is beyond any reason.

The traditional list that has been drawn up includes:

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Governors Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, John Kasich

Former Governors Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry

Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina

Now add: former New York Governor George Pataki, Businessman Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador John Bolton; New York Congressman Peter King; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore; former Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich

The potential for such chaos will totally turn off voters, all to the advantage of the Democratic Party!

The Republican “Appeal” To Hispanics/Latinos Of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz: Greatly Exaggerated!

A lot of propaganda is going around stating that Republicans have a real chance to gain the backing of Hispanics/Latinos in the 2016 Presidential race! Really?

The Republican Party has done everything possible to alienate Hispanics/Latinos, including opposition to the DREAM Act; unwillingness to change immigration policy; insulting statements about Hispanics/Latinos from many Tea Party elements; and hostile policies toward issues that matter to Hispanics/Latinos in states, such as Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina.

So the argument goes that Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush, can, somehow, win the vote of Hispanics/Latinos because, after all, George W. was able to do so, and also, Jeb’s wife is Mexican-American, and Jeb speaks good Spanish.

Also, it is said that Marco Rubio, who speaks fluent Spanish, can appeal to Hispanics/Latinos; and that Ted Cruz, who does not speak Spanish, can also do so, simply because they are both Hispanics, of Cuban ancestry.

This assumption is totally false, as more than 70 percent of Hispanics-Latinos voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and neither George W. Bush nor John McCain could gain more than 40 percent of their vote, and both George W. and McCain were supportive of, and sympathetic to Hispanic/Latino issues.

What has the GOP done since 2008 to appeal to Hispanics/Latinos? Absolutely nothing, and the assumption, somehow, that the Republicans can, somehow, transform reality, is based on the false assumption that Rubio and Cruz, being Cubans, can appeal to Mexican-Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, and to other Hispanic/Latino groups from other nations of Latin America.

Only Cubans, who are about 3.7 percent of all Hispanics/Latinos have consistently voted Republican, and even their percentage voting Republican has changed over the 55 years since Fidel Castro came to power, with younger Cuban-Americans starting to wander from the commitment to Republicans that their grandparents and parents have had.

Mexican Americans, numbering about 64 percent of all Hispanics/Latinos, have never cared about the Republican Party, and neither have Puerto Rican Americans, who number about 9.4 percent, nor 3.8 percent who are from El Salvador, or 3.1 percent who are from the Dominican Republic, or any of the other smaller numbers of people from other nations in Latin America.

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!