Presidential Election Of 1992

With Only Three Candidates Left In The Field, Is There Any Chance For The Rise Of Martin O’Malley As The Democratic Presidential Nominee?

Now that there are only three Democratic Presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley—the question rises whether O’Malley has any shot at the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.

In past years, when change was seen as desired, young, new generation, appealing Democrats—Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960; former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia in 1976; Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas in 1992; and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in 2008, came from behind to win the nomination and then the election.

All were underdogs and not in front in public opinion polls in the fall of the year before each national election.

So looking at Democratic Party history, O’Malley MIGHT have a shot at defeating two opponents a full generation older than him—16 years younger than Clinton, and 22 years younger than Sanders.

But no one seems to think that this can happen, as Clinton in particular, and Sanders to some extent, have taken all of the oxygen out of the room.

O’Malley, if he were running in any other year, would have a real chance with his exceptional record as Maryland Governor, and earlier Baltimore Mayor, and has proved his skills and ability, but sadly, it seems a long shot that O’Malley can move beyond five percent, but miracles have happened before, as with the four most recent elected Democratic Presidents!

Vice Presidents And The Presidency: Being Elected A Lost Cause!

With Vice President Joe Biden announcing he would not run for President, due to bad timing to announce caused by the family tragedy of the loss of his son Beau Biden in May, it adds to the reality that any Vice President has great odds against him if he wishes to use the Vice Presidency as a launching pad for the Presidency.

Only four Presidents have been able to run from the Vice Presidency for President and triumph, with all but one in the first 50 years of the Republic, as follows:

John Adams 1796

Thomas Jefferson 1800

Martin Van Buren 1836

The other President is George H. W. Bush in 1988.

Never until the 1940s and after did a sitting Vice President ever get considered at all for the Presidency, other than if he succeeded the President by natural death or assassination.

So we had Vice President John Nance Garner trying to win the 1940 Democratic Presidential nomination, but unfortunately for him, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to seek a third term.

In 1948, former Vice President Henry Wallace in the third term of FDR tried for the Presidency as a third party candidate (Progressive Party), fighting against fourth FDR term Vice President Harry Truman, who had succeeded FDR upon his death in 1945.

Alben Barkley, Vice President under Truman in his full term, tried to win the 1952 Democratic Presidential nomination, but his age was used against him, which may have been good, since Barkely died during the next term when he would have been President.

Richard Nixon ran for President to succeed Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, but lost in a close election to John F.  Kennedy.  Of course, Nixon won eight years later, being the first Vice President elected since Martin Van Buren in 1836, but eight years after.

Hubert H. Humphrey ran for President in 1968 to succeed Lyndon B. Johnson, but was defeated by Nixon, and tried for the nomination again in 1972, but failed to be selected as the Presidential nominee.

Walter Mondale ran for President in 1984 after he and Jimmy Carter were defeated in 1980 for a second term, but lost to Ronald Reagan.

George H. W. Bush is the only exception to this reality, winning in 1988 after serving two terms as Vice President under Ronald Reagan.

Dan Quayle tried for the Republican nomination in 1996 after serving one term under George H. W. Bush, but flopped badly.

Al Gore ran for President in 2000 after two terms as Vice President under Bill Clinton, and of course won the popular vote, but lost the hotly contested electoral vote in Florida, with Supreme Court intervention, leading to the victory of his opponent George W. Bush.

Dick Cheney had tried briefly for the Presidency in 1996, but when he was Vice President under George W. Bush for two terms, his health was fragile and he chose not to try for the Presidency in 2008.

And now Joe Biden, after two terms as Vice President under Barack Obama, has reluctantly decided not to run for President in 2016, due to the tragic death of his son Beau in May, and the grieving period preventing organization of a Presidential campaign.

So the record shows, with the exception of Richard Nixon eight years later and George H. W. Bush, no Vice President has succeeded in modern times to the Presidency unless the President died in office, or with the case of Richard Nixon resigning, led to Gerald Ford succeeding him in the White House.

JFK In 1960; Carter In 1976; Clinton In 1992; Obama In 2008; Vs Martin O’Malley In 2016: Why The Difference In Fortunes?

In 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy overcame Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Senator Stuart Symington to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being Roman Catholic in religion, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter overcame Senator Frank Church, Senator Birch Bayh, Governor Jerry Brown, and Congressman Morris Udall to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being the first Southerner since 1848, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President Gerald Ford.

In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton overcame former Senator Paul Tsongas, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Bob Kerrey, and former Governor Jerry Brown to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite revelation of a sex scandal, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George H. W. Bush.

In 2008, Senator Barack Obama overcame Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden,  Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Bill Richardson to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite being African American, and offered “a new generation” of leadership, after President George W. Bush.

In 2016, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, despite his outstanding record as Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor, has gained no traction against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Socialist Bernie Sanders, all much older than him, and despite O’Malley offering “a new generation of leadership”, instead of going “backward” a generation in age from President Barack Obama.

The question is why O’Malley has gained no substantial support, despite his charisma and good looks, often seen as equivalent to how JFK, Carter, Clinton and Obama came across as being, before being elected President of the United States.

The concern is that the Republicans may nominate a candidate who is much younger than the Democratic nominee, someone such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul.  History tell us that most often,  the younger nominee wins over the older nominee opponent, as with Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Carter and Gerald Ford, Clinton and George H. W. Bush, and Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats, in theory, have a “bench” of potential younger candidates in the future, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, along with the potential of new senators and governors who might be elected in 2016 and beyond.  But for right now, O’Malley is the Democratic “bench”, and he has failed to stir any support, very frustrating to him and anyone who is worried about the “old timers” who are the top three Democratic nominees for the Presidency this time around.

Donald Trump Pledge Not To Run Independently Is Not Worth The Paper It Is Printed On!

All of a sudden, Donald Trump has signed a pledge not to run independently, and to back whoever wins the Republican Presidential nomination.

Anyone who believes he will keep his word is naive and delusional, as it is only a pledge for now since Trump is leading in all public opinion polls and could mount an independent campaign with his own money, a la Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996.

Perot well knew he could not win as an Independent, but ran anyway, and helped Bill Clinton in both elections.

This time, ironically, a Trump independent candidacy would insure that Hillary Clinton, or possibly Joe Biden or even Bernie Sanders, would win.

If one holds his or her breath hoping that Trump will be loyal to his pledge, think again and start breathing!

Nativism, Racism Of Donald Trump Greatest Since Pat Buchanan Ran For President, And Hate Mongers Back Trump As A Result

The nativism and racism of Donald Trump is the greatest we have seen in American politics on the national level since Pat Buchanan ran for President in 1992, 1996,  and 2000.

Trump has gone out of his way to insult Mexican Americans in particular, and Hispanics-Latinos in general, and has gained 20-30 percent support in the various polls.

Now he has gone further and insulted Asian Americans, mimicking the way they speak English.  He has gained a lot of support from Southern states in polls for these controversial statements and nativist attacks.

In so doing, he  has insured that the Republican Party cannot win much of a percentage of either Hispanics-Latinos or the Asian American vote, and without it, they cannot win the Presidency.  And yet, his opponents seem powerless to fight against him at this point, and even Jeb Bush has ended up in trouble by using the term “anchor babies”, and then saying that he means Asian Americans, not people from Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America.

With his clear cut nativism and racism, along with his misogyny, Trump has gained the notice of hate monger groups, which include David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and candidate for Governor and Senator in Louisiana 25 years ago, causing a major problem then for President George H. W. Bush, who denounced his choice by the Louisiana GOP to be their nominee for those high positions.

But also, neo Nazi, white supremacist, and Confederate groups are rushing to support Trump, and his reaction has been quite tepid, to say the least.

With these elements, there is also, and worrisome, a large element of anti Semitism, a reality in the past for Buchanan and Duke that is well known, and has been again stated by Duke explicitly in his recent unasked for endorsement of Trump.

“Non Politicians”–Presidential Winners And A Few Presidential Nominees

With three Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 being “non politicians”, people who have never served in a government position on the city, state or national level, the issue arises: have there been any other such candidates in the past?

It turns out that we have had several military generals who never served in a civilian position, that could qualify as “non politicians”.

This includes the following:

Zachary Taylor 1848 (Mexican War)

Winfield Scott 1852 (Mexican War)

George McClellan 1864 (Civil War)

Ulysses S. Grant 1868, 1872 (Civil War)

Winfield Scott Hancock 1880 (Civil War)

Taylor and Grant were elected, while Scott, McClellan, and Hancock were defeated in their attempts to become President.

McClellan did serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881, AFTER running for President against Abraham Lincoln.  But Taylor, Scott, Grant and Hancock never ran for public office.

Additionally, Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune publisher, ran for President in 1872, as the candidate of the Democratic Party and the breakaway group in the Republican Party opposed to Grant’s reelection, known as the “Liberal Republicans”.  He served very briefly as an appointed member of the House of Representatives, but not by vote of the people, but rather a choice of Whig Party leaders to fill a short term replacement before the election for the next term in Congress.  He served a total of only three months from December 1848 to March 1849, and did not run for the New York City seat.  Technically, one could say he had that political experience, but so little in time, that he could be seen as basically a “non politician” when he ran for President 24 years later, although being the editor of the New York Tribune was certainly “political” in nature.

Then we have Wall Street industrialist and businessman Wendell Willkie, who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, after stirring the Republican National Convention and overcoming much better known Presidential candidates, but while running a good race, he lost, and then supported the World War II effort and cooperated with FDR until Willkie died in late 1944.

And finally, we have billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for President as an independent in 1992 and as the Reform Party candidate in 1996.

So only Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant were “non politicians” who were elected President.

The odds of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Benjamin Carson being elected President in 2016, therefore, are astronomical!

Donald Trump: A Mix Of Wendell Willkie, George Wallace, And Ross Perot

Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy has brought back memories of three other Presidential candidates.

First is Wendell Willkie, a corporate leader and Wall Street industrialist from Indiana who had never run for public office, who wowed the Republican convention in 1940 with his charisma, rhetoric, and attack on “career politicians”.  He was able to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1940, and run a good but losing race against the master politician, Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term.

Next is George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama, who formed the American Independent Party in 1968, rallying those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed under Lyndon B. Johnson.  He attracted angry working class whites, and won 13.5 % of the popular vote, the fourth best percentage for a third party in American history.  He also won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes, making him the second best in total states and electoral votes in American history, only behind former President Theodore Roosevelt, who won six states and 88 electoral votes as the nominee of the third party known as the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, in 1912.  TR also is the only third party nominee to end up second, rather than third in the election results.  His campaign in 1912 decimated the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft, and helped to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

And then we have Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never run for public office, who ran an independent race twice, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote in 1992, and 8 percent of the vote in 1996, while winning no states in the Electoral College.  He appealed to those who were disgusted with the federal government, and worried about the growing national debt.  His candidacy undermined the Republican Party nominees, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996, and elected Democrat Bill Clinton twice.

Now we have Donald Trump, a billionaire, who has developed an appeal to those who are disillusioned with politics and the federal government, making him similar to Perot.  But Trump also appeals to the baser instincts in many people, those who dislike African Americans, Latinos, immigrants in general, in these ways having similar views  to Wallace.  These Trump supporters  also think women should not be treated equally, preferring the old image of women who should cook, clean, and be available for the sexual satisfaction of their men, but with no rights over their bodies and reproduction,  similar to the Tea Party Movement.  Also, there is a distaste for labor rights, and for the environment, and an orientation toward absolute belief in religion as the gospel, and a repudiation of science.

Can Trump “storm” the Republican Party, as Wendell Willkie did in 1940; or will he run on a third party, like Ross Perot, and make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House?  And will Trump continue to appeal to the George Wallace type voters, and promote a right wing populism as Wallace did?

This is what is yet to be evolving, but in many ways, Trump is a combination, right now, of Willkie, Wallace, and Perot!

A 1912 Election In 2016: A Third Party Campaign Ending Up Second, And Republican Candidate Third?

In the crazy world of American politics, the concept has grown that we could be witnessing an election in 2016 that might emulate the Presidential Election of 1912, where Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat defeated Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party nominee, and Republican President William Howard Taft.

We could, in theory, have businessman Donald Trump, who is, right now, riding high in the polls, being treated in a way that he feels is unjust. He has already said that he would not pledge to support the Republican nominee for President, if if is not him, and if he feels he has been treated unfairly.

So, were that scenario to happen, Trump could, very well, run on a third party or independent ticket, copying the route of billionaire Ross Perot, who ran as an independent in 1992, helping to elect Bill Clinton over President George H. W. Bush.

We could have Hillary Clinton, or even Joe Biden, if he chooses to run, or even Bernie Sanders, benefit from a Republican party split. And imagine if Jeb Bush was the losing Republican candidate to another Clinton.

But also, Trump has shown strength in a poll in a three way races, with him gaining 20 percent of the vote, similar to Ross Perot’s 19 percent in 1992.

But what if Trump’s popularity were to continue to grow, and Trump could match third party nominee Theodore Roosevelt’s 27.5 percent of the vote in 1912, leading TR to end up second, rather than third, the only time a third party has ended up second instead of third?

Imagine the shock if Clinton or Biden or even Sanders won 42-43 percent of the vote and won the Electoral College, with Bush or some other Republican ending up third behind Trump, just as President William Howard Taft did in 1912, when he only won 23 percent of the vote!

If Trump were to end up with mid 20s percentage of the vote, it would be likely that he would win some states in the Electoral College, with the Republican winning very few states, as with Taft only winning two states in 1912.

That scenario, were it to happen, would be the true demise of the Republican Party as we know it, but maybe, just maybe, it would lead to a “purging” of the party, and a return to moderate centrist conservative government, and an ultimate revival resembling the party of the Eisenhower to Ford years!

Left Handed Presidents On “Left Handers Day”!

Today, August 13, is “Left Handers Day”!

About 10-15 percent of the population, supposedly, is left handed, and it is certainly much more common now than in the past, due to children being forced to learn to be right handed in the past, because of belief that it was a sin to be left handed.

So as far as we know, left handed Presidents have occurred only in the past century, although there are those who think Thomas Jefferson may have been left handed or ambidextrous; and that James A. Garfield was the same, due to the statements that he could write in Latin and Greek with both hands at the same time!

Other than possibly Jefferson, and the case of Garfield, the list of left handed modern Presidents includes:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Harry Truman (1945-1953)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-Present)

This means that for 29 of the past 41 years (since 1974), we have had left handed Presidents, all but Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush!

It also means that 7 of the last 14 Presidents (from Hoover to Obama) have been left handed! This is 41 of the past 86 years!

It is also a fact that in 1992, all three Presidential candidates (Bush Senior, Clinton, Ross Perot) were lefties, and the same with 1996 (Clinton, Bob Dole, Perot)! And in 2008, the two major party Presidential candidates, Obama and John McCain, were also “southpaws”!

Political Campaign Debates’ Impact On American History

Do political campaign debates matter?

Absolutely, and the first such case is Abraham Lincoln Vs. Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race of 1858, which helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, although losing the Senate seat due to the Democrats controlling the state legislature, and choosing incumbent Democrat Douglas for the new term of office.

Since Presidential debates came about in 1960, and then revived starting in 1976, there have been moments when they really mattered, even if often boring, including:

1960–Richard Nixon sweating and looking tense, while John F. Kennedy smiled, looked tanned, was relaxed.

1976–Gerald Ford says Poland is a free nation, which helps to elect Jimmy Carter in close race.

1980–Ronald Reagan talks about the “Misery Index” and says “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, and defeats Jimmy Carter.

1984—Ronald Reagan says he will not use age as an issue to show the “youth and inexperience” of opponent Walter Mondale, who he defeats.

1988—Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen tells opponent Dan Quayle that he is not another John F. Kennedy, and sets the image of Quayle for all time as an incompetent Vice President, and have no chance to be President when he decides to run in 1996.

1992—George H. W. Bush looks constantly at his watch, during the debate with Bill Clinton, who defeats him, and also Ross Perot.

2000–Al Gore walks over to George W. Bush as he answers question, comes across as a weird action, and also breathes deeply at Bush responses, making Gore seem haughty and condescending.

2008—Sarah Palin does an embarrassing performance in Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden, harms John McCain campaign.

2012–In Republican Presidential candidate debates, Rick Perry cannot remember the three agencies of government he wishes to eliminate, which ends his candidacy.

2012—Joe Biden laughs at Paul Ryan statements in Vice Presidential debate, weakens Ryan image as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Also, political campaign debates draw attention to the race, and there will be many Presidential debates starting tonight for the Republicans, and in October for the Democrats.