Presidential Election Of 1896

National Conventions May Be Part Of History, Never To Return

It is now official: The two national conventions of the Democratic Party and Republican Party will not be held with large crowds, due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic, and it may be that the typical national convention format may now be part of American history, never to return.

National conventions in modern times have mostly been just coronations of the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. But there is no way to know whether in the future, that there might be a party divided as convention time arrives, as occurred in 1968 for the Democrats.

But with modern technology, it could be that saving money on conventions and focusing on the message being spread by the party nominees might be seen as a better use of funding.

Also, traveling the nation, which began with William Jennings Bryan in 1896, might no longer be the norm, as Joe Biden is doing an excellent job presenting his agenda in live speeches from home or specific locations, and then made available for cable and social media.

Too often, the constant traveling wears candidates down, and it would be better if the energy level could avoid exhaustion, which clearly shows in the last weeks of a Presidential campaign, particularly for the winner of the Presidency.

Permanent Change In Campaigning: The End Of The William Jennings Bryan Personal Campaigning Mode, 1896-2020

Presidential campaigning in the 19th century was based on newspaper reporting of the various candidates speaking up on public issues, and speaking to small local crowds in the area nearby the candidate’s home.

The “Front Porch” campaign was common, as best exemplified by William McKinley in 1896.

But the same year, his opponent, young and vigorous 36 year old William Jennings Bryan, traveled by train across much of the nation, an estimated 30,000 miles to meet voters at train stations.

That was a revolutionary change in Presidential campaigning, and ever since, Presidential contenders and candidates, and even incumbent Presidents, have gone to the people to promote their cause and inspire voting.

But now, 124 years since William Jennings Bryan, and in the age of the internet and the CoronaVirus Pandemic, a new way of campaigning has developed.

Regular, every day internet events by Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden are becoming common, and President Donald Trump, of course, gets regular cable coverage, as well as on the internet.

This is a turning point, and is likely to prevail from now on, and the one advantage that stands out is the saving of energy and lowering of the exhaustion level of all candidates, by avoiding constant travel and 18 hour days of campaigning.

It is often said that campaigning for President is more arduous than being President, and it rings true, so we may have seen the last hurrah of regular, sustained, in person campaigning.

It does not mean that the President or Presidential candidates will not appear in person, but likely much less often, and this will also help to protect the President and Presidential candidates from the danger of violence and potential assassination threats.

The Ugly Specter Of Anti Semitism, Anti Socialism, Homophobia, And Misogyny Alive In 2020 Presidential Campaign

The Presidential Campaign of 2020 is in full swing, and due to Donald Trump willing to do anything to undermine his potential opponents, the ugly specter of Anti Semitism, Anti Socialism, Homophobia, and Misogyny are alive, and will be part of the discussion for the next nine months.

The fact that Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders are Jewish, and that Sanders is a self professed “Socialist”, which is NOT Communism in any sense, will be part of the upcoming political debate.

The fact that Pete Buttigieg is gay and has a husband is certainly to be part of the political debate, with hatred and prejudice existing among right wing evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, and Orthodox Jews.

The fact that Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are serious Presidential contenders will stir the misogynists who think women should only be in the kitchen and the bedroom, and not running for President or Vice President.

It is certain that the Presidential Election of 2020 will match others as the “dirtiest” campaign, including the Presidential Elections of 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1928, 1948, 1968, and 2016!

Beto O’Rourke Enters The Presidential Race: Is He The New Hope For The Democrats In 2020?

Former three term El Paso, Texas Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is the newest entry into the Democratic Presidential race, and is exciting many young voters and others tired of the “establishment” veterans.

O’Rourke is 46, has three children 8, 10, and 12, and his wife Amy Hoover Sanders is 37. If he won the Presidency, it would bring a young family into the White House.

O’Rourke is seen as a moderate centrist, in the line of Joe Biden, but a full 30 years younger.

He came within about two and a half points of Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the Midterm Elections of 2018.

He shares the same first and middle name of Robert Francis Kennedy, the brother of John F. Kennedy, and himself the Attorney General and New York Senator who sought the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1968 before being assassinated on June 6, 1968. And he looks as if he a spitting image of a younger Robert Kennedy but much taller than RFK, although not related to him.

It is an oddity that his wife has the first name of Democratic Presidential rival Amy Klobuchar; a middle name the same as President Herbert Hoover; and a last name the same as Democratic Presidential contender Bernie Sanders. And their older son’s first name is Ulysses, the first name of President Ulysses S. Grant.

O’Rourke has charisma, charm, and personal appeal, and that could just be the right combination for 2020, and opens up the chance that Texas just might go “Blue”, making it easier to win the White House.

There is a long way to go in this Presidential competition, but O’Rourke has made it more exciting, as earlier Barack Obama did in 2008, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Wendell Willkie in 1940, and William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

The Potential Exists For Youngest President In American History To Be Elected In 2020!

With disillusionment with “the older generation” widespread, the possibility now exists that America could elect a President in 2020 who could be younger than any President in American history.

Theodore Roosevelt succeeded to the Presidency at age 42 years and 10.5 months in 1901, upon the assassination of President William McKinley.

And John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected President, taking the oath of office at age 43 years and 7.5 months in 1961.

We have also had three younger Presidential nominees of a major party who lost their campaigns for the Presidency:

Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 election, who would have been 42 years and 10 months if he had taken the oath in 1945

John C. Breckinridge in the 1860 election, who would have been 40 years and 1.5 months if he had taken the oath in 1861

William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 and 1900 elections, who would have been 36 years and 11.5 months and 40 years and 11.5 months respectively, if he had taken the oath in 1897 and 1901.

Now, in the upcoming election for President in 2020, there are seven theoretical candidates who would be younger than TR and JFK.

They include:

Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who would be 42 and three months on Inauguration Day

Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, who would be 40 and three and a half months on Inauguration Day

Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who would be 40 and two months on Inauguration Day

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who would be 39 and nine months on Inauguration Day

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is running to be Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, in June 2019, who would be 39 and eight months on Inauguration Day

South Bend, Indiana Mayor (since 2012) Pete Buttigieg, who would be 39 and one day old on Inauguration Day

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has no political experience, who would be 36 and eight months old on Inauguration Day

The odds of any of these seven being the Democratic nominee are very long, and highly unlikely, as four are members of the House of Representatives (and only James A. Garfield was ever elected to the Presidency from the lower house); and two are or will be Mayors, and only Andrew Johnson, in Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland, in Buffalo, New York: and Calvin Coolidge in Northampton, Massachusetts were mayors, although Theodore Roosevelt ran for New York City Mayor in 1886, but lost.

Finally, Zuckerberg would only be the second person never in public office after Donald Trump, and seemingly, a real long shot. If Zuckerberg were to become President, he would be the youngest nominee ever, three and a half months younger than William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

“Change” Elections: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1960, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2008, And Now 2016?

America has now had 58 Presidential elections, and it can now be said that 12 of them, about 20 percent, have been transformational elections.

In 1800, for the first time. the “opposition” won the Presidency, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams.

In 1828, the “common man”, Andrew Jackson, was elected over John Quincy Adams, and all white males over 21, whether or not property owners, were able to vote, and Jackson was perceived as representing the western frontiersman and the urban worker.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln’s victory ushered in a new political party, the Republican Party, as dominant for the next half century, and the Civil War developed out of the split over slavery and its expansion between the Union and the Confederacy. But the sectionalism of that period still exists in many ways in 2017.

In 1896, William McKinley’s victory over William Jennings Bryan promoted the growth of industry and urbanizastion over the previously predominant agricultural and rural nature of America, but in reality, that conflict still exists in 2017.

In 1912, the high point of progressive reform, and the evolution of government playing a major role in the economy from that point on, became a long term reality, with three Presidents–the past President Theodore Roosevelt; the incumbent President William Howard Taft; and the future President Woodrow Wilson—all competing in promoting what one could call the most reform oriented election, with all three Presidents being “progressive” to different degrees.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Herbert Hoover, was the time of the beginning of Democratic Party dominance, and ever bigger national government, even beyond the Progressive Era of the early 20th century.

In 1960, the election of John F. Kennedy was the triumph of overcoming the “religion issue”, as our first non Protestant President, a Roman Catholic from Massachusetts, was accomplished.

In 1968, the election of Richard Nixon marked the beginning of a turn to the Right, although Nixon actually continued and expanded elements of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in domestic affairs.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s victory marked the sharpest turn to the Right since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, and began an era of conservative government, that in many respects, continued under his successors, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 2000, the Supreme Court intervention in the Florida vote count, and the awarding of Florida to George W. Bush by 537 votes, giving him the Presidency, was a revolutionary change that changed the course of history, when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half million, and with the economy having improved during the Clinton years, should have led to Gore in the White House.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain was a sharp turn to the left after what were arguably 40 years of conservative government to different degrees, including under Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Obama overcame the race issue, in becoming the first African American President.

And now, in 2016, Donald Trump’s victory MIGHT be a sign of another “change” election, with the white working class voting for Trump, giving him the victory in the Electoral College, even though rival Hillary Clinton won the biggest popular vote margin of a losing candidate (2.85 million), greater than many Presidents won on their road to the White House,

But it may eventually be seen as a “fluke” election, and may not be long lasting, and only time and events will tell us what the reality is.

Ten Most Divisive And Polarizing Elections In American History

As we near the end of an extremely divisive and polarizing election, it is a good time to look back and judge what were the ten most divisive and polarizing elections in American history.

Chronologically, they would be the following:

The Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

The Election of 1828 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

The Election of 1860 between Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell

The Election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden

The Election of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine

The Election of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

The Election of 1912 between Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs

The Election of 1948 between Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace

The Election of 1968 between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace

The Election of 2000 between George W. Bush, Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan

As We Have Oldest Combination Of Presidential Candidates In History, A Look Back At Three Candidates Younger Than TR And JFK!

At a time when we have the oldest combination of Presidential candidates in history, with Donald Trump being past 70, and Hillary Clinton to be 69 in October, let’s take a look back at three Presidential candidates who lost, but were all younger than Theodore Roosevelt, our youngest President at 42 years and almost eleven months when he succeeded the assassinated President William McKinley in 1901; and these three Presidential candidates also, therefore, younger than John F. Kennedy, our youngest elected President, who took the oath at 43 years and almost eight months.

Our youngest Presidential nominee of a major party in history is William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska, a former Congressman, who ran as the Democratic nominee for President in 1896 and 1900, when he was younger than TR or JFK. Bryan was 36 and 40 when he ran his first two of three Presidential races, and had he won, he would have been inaugurated 15 days short of his 37th and 41st birthdays.

Our second youngest Presidential nominee was John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, who was Vice President at age 36 under President James Buchanan from 1857-1861 but was actually 35 at the time of his election. He was the Southern Democratic nominee in 1860 at age 39 although he would have been 40 at the time of the inauguration, running against Republican Abraham Lincoln, Democrat Stephen Douglas, and Constitutional Union nominee John Bell. Breckinridge served in the US House before being Vice President, and later was part of the Confederate government and army during the Civil War, and later served in the US Senate from Kentucky.

Thomas E. Dewey of New York sought the Presidency for the first time in 1940, when he was 38, and serving as Manhattan County District Attorney, but was thought to be too young to be taken seriously. But in 1944, in his first of two Presidential campaigns, when New York Governor, he ran on the Republican Party line against Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for his fourth term as World War II was nearing its last months. Dewey would have been inaugurated about two months short of his 43rd birthday, had he won in 1944, making him about a month younger than TR when he became President.

Dewey was favored in his second round of Presidential candidacy in 1948, when he lost in an upset to Harry Truman, after all public opinion polls projected an easy win but at that point he would have been two months short of 47, at the time of inauguration.

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Major Historic Splits In Democratic Party

The Democratic Party has existed for 188 years, since the election Of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

In that nearly two centuries, there have been major splits and divisions:

In 1860, the party split, and the Northern Democrats. the official party, nominated Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas for President, while Vice President John C. Breckinridge was the nominee of Southern Democrats.

In 1896,  the “Gold Democrats” refused to back the party nominee, the  “silver tongued orator”, thirty six year old William Jennings Bryan, who promoted “free silver”, and drew support from the rural states in the Midwest and Great Plains and Mountain West, and kept the South loyal to the party.

In 1948, Southern Democrats broke from the convention that nominated Harry Truman for a full term, and ran South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond as the States Rights (Dixiecrats) candidate.

In 1968, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace formed the American Independent Party, and ran against Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey.

Notice that it was the South that caused three of the four splits, with the result being Douglas and Humphrey losing because of the split, while Truman won despite Thurmond’s opposition.

The other time, it was the rural West that revolved against the “Eastern Establishment”, represented by Wall Street, but Bryan, nominated three times for President, was unable to win the Presidency, although he helped to shape the Progressive Era with some of his reform ideas.