Wendell Willkie

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.

Theoretical Possibility Of Nine Business People Or Celebrities With No Government Experience Who Might Run For The Presidency In 2020

Donald Trump is the first totally non government experience candidate ever to win the Presidency.

Before him, Wendell Willkie for the Republicans in 1940, and Ross Perot, as an Independent in 1992 and 1996, also had no government experience.

With the horrific Trump experience, the question arises whether another business person or celebrity with no government experience might run for the White House in 2020, and might have a chance to win.

At least nine potential candidates have been mentioned, but most are not considered serious possibilities.

Oprah Winfrey , Kanye West, and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson come from the entertainment world, but none of these has seemed serious about running, and somehow, with all three being African American, and Oprah being a woman, it is hard to imagine, without government experience, and just basically being a celebrity, that anyone of them would get very far.

Then, we have Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook billionaire, who is Jewish and would be only 36 years old in 2020, and has controversy surrounding Facebook’s role in affecting the 2016 Presidential election. Also, he has made controversial statements, and comes across to many, including this blogger, as extremely arrogant, and needing much more maturity and judgment to even consider running at any time in the future.

Then we have Andrew Yang, who is an entrepreneur, promoting startups in business in many different cities across America. Yang, born of Chinese parents from Taiwan, would be 45 years old, and wants to promote a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month to all Americans 18-64, as part of his platform, and he has already announced for President, but the question is whether he can gain any traction.

Bob Iger, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, is Jewish, and is rumored to be interested, but there has been criticism of his leadership of Disney, and he would be close to 70 on Inauguration Day 2021.

Howard Schultz, the former Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, is Jewish, and would be 67 years old if he won in 2020, and has a very liberal image, and seems to be seriously considering announcing his candidacy.

We also have Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is very outspoken, and has hinted at running for President. He has been all over the map politically, having expressed admiration for libertarian author Ayn Rand, but backing Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. Also Jewish in his religion, Cuban has been more of a public relations oriented person, much more noticed in the news media than most other businessmen, including Zuckerberg, Yang, Iger and Schultz. He would be likely a Republican candidate if he ran, as he calls himself fiscally conservative, although a social moderate by his own definition.

Finally, much more in the public eye since Donald Trump became President, is Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, liberal activist, and fundraiser, who has been on an active campaign to impeach Donald Trump, gaining a lot of attention. He has long been a Democratic activist, going back to Walter Mondale in 1984 through Hillary Clinton in 2016, and was considered to be a cabinet member twice under Barack Obama, for Secretary of the Treasury in 2009 and Secretary of Energy in 2013, but others were chosen. Steyer is often seen as the adversary of Charles and David Koch.

The only ones on this list of nine who this author and blogger see as “legitimate” are Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, who seem to have the best credentials, but still, no desire here to have another businessman or celebrity without any government experience as our President in 2021.

In the “real world”, somehow, three African Americans (Winfrey, West, Johnson); one woman (Winfrey); four Jews (Zuckerberg, Iger, Schultz, Cuban); and one Asian American (Yang) potential candidates seems highly unlikely, in the political climate we are in, to have a real shot at being the nominee. So this means probably Tom Steyer, who is most “out there” in the present political climate and is a white Episcopalian, might be the one of the nine with the best potential. Had he actually served in Barack Obama’s cabinet, he might seem to many as a more legitimate candidate, as we have had Presidents who were never elected before the Presidency but were cabinet members, specifically William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.

The Trump experience makes it difficult to look at others in the non political world as better than having a Governor, Senator, Congressman, Mayor, or Cabinet Officer in the White House.

We shall see how far these nine possible candidates go in seeking the Presidency, as after the next 100 days, the announcement of Presidential candidacies, will rapidly emerge!

Businessman Wendell Willkie Chooses Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary 1940—Any Connection To Trump Decision On Vice Presidency This Year?

In 1940, the Republican Party nominated businessman Wendell Willkie, a former Democrat, who had never held public office, and had originally been a supporter early on of the the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 2016, the Republican Party is about to nominate a businessman, Donald Trump, a former Democrat, who has never held public office, and had originally been supportive of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Willkie chose Republican Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary of Oregon to be his Vice Presidential running mate, a very reputable person with a long career in the Senate.

The question is will Trump select a person of McNary’s quality and experience to be his running mate, or will he pick a “bomb thrower” or an incompetent person to be his Vice Presidential choice?

That is a question that will be answered in the coming weeks!

NBC Wall Street Journal Opinion Poll Indicates 61 Percent Worry About Having President With No Government Or Military Experience!

A new NBC Wall Street Journal poll demonstrates the common sense of Americans, their concern and worry about having a President with no government or military experience.

We have NEVER had such a President, and only Wendell Willkie, nominated in 1940 by the Republican Party against Franklin D. Roosevelt, has had the same lack of background.

But Willkie was not the kind of divisive figure, and did not display the ignorance and demagoguery, of Donald Trump.

We have never had a candidate for President quite like Donald Trump, and his recklessness, character assassination, and impulsive nature makes him much too dangerous to give the nuclear codes, along with the basic danger he presents to the whole American constitutional system.

No businessman, certainly from real estate and casinos alone, has the qualifications to run a government and the military, who has never been exposed to the basic facts and knowledge that experience in the government and or the military provides.

This is not reality television, but serious business about heading the government of the most powerful nation on earth in a time of domestic division and foreign terrorist threat.

The fact that terrorist groups hope for Trump’s victory is because they know it will encourage and recruit new terrorists for the future, with Trump’s anti Muslim rhetoric and plan to ban all Muslims being totally counterproductive in dealing with the threat of terrorism.

Trump is a danger to the long term stability of America in both domestic and foreign policy, and must NOT be allowed to gain power based on the ignorance and prejudices of the white working class, non college educated, men, who seem unable to understand that Trump does not give a damn about them as individuals, but is simply on another egotistical, narcissistic trip!

New CNN Presidential Election Series: “Race For The White House”

CNN has begun a new six part series called “Race For The White House”, which will cover six Presidential elections over the next six weeks, each episode an hour in length, and narrated by actor Kevin Spacey.

On Sunday, the 1960 battle for the White House between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was covered.

Future episodes in some order not known yet include chronologically:

1828–Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams

1860–Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

1948–Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey

1988–George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis

1992–Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush

It is not clear why these particular elections were chosen, as there are many others, many more interesting and significant, that were not selected, including:

1896–William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

1912—Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft

1928–Herbert Hoover and Alfred E. Smith

1932–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover

1940–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie

1968–Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George C. Wallace

1980–Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson

2000–George W. Bush and Al Gore

2008–Barack Obama and John McCain

This series is well worth watching, after having seen the first episode last night!

 

How Death “Might” Have Affected American History! Eleven Potential “Turning Points”!

Assassinations and assassination attempts, and threats, have affected American History, as is covered in my book, “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama”, Rowman Littlefield, August 2015.

But then there are cases, not covered  in my book, of situations that could have occurred and affected American history, that have nothing to do with assassinations.

Witness the following:

In 1857, newly inaugurated President James Buchanan was extremely ill at the time of the inauguration, and almost failed to deliver his Inaugural Address, and was in bed for a few weeks after the inauguration, until he recovered.  It was believed he might have been poisoned by an unsafe water supply at the hotel he stayed at before his inauguration.  Had he died in office, Vice President John C. Breckinridge would have been President, and would have been only 36 years old, the youngest President in American history, and actually elected in November 1856, when he was still 35!

Stephen Douglas, Senator from Illinois, was the Democratic nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1860, a four way race won by Abraham Lincoln, but had Douglas won, he would have died in office three months later, two months after the Civil War had begun, transforming the whole era if that had occurred!

In 1872, Democratic and Liberal Republican Presidential nominee Horace Greeley, who lost the Presidential Election of 1872 to President Ulysses S. Grant, died three weeks after the election, and before the Electoral College met.  What if he had won the election?  It would have meant that Vice Presidential nominee, B. Gratz Brown, Governor of Missouri and, earlier, Senator from Missouri, would have been President!

President Chester Alan Arthur  (1881-1885) succeeded President James A. Garfield after his assassination in September 1881, and finished out the term, but was denied nomination for a full term in 1884, which turned out to be fortunate as Arthur died in 1886, and therefore, would have died in office!

President Grover Cleveland, in his second nonconsecutive term in the White House from 1893-1897, had serious surgery for cancer of the jaw in 1894, done in secret on a boat on the Hudson River, and kept secret until after his death in 1908.  Had he died of cancer, Vice President Adlai Stevenson, the grandfather of Democratic Presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 and 1956, would have been President!

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913)  saw his Vice President, James Sherman, die in office in October 1912, shortly before the Presidential Election of 1912, which Taft lost, in the worst reelection defeat of any President in American history, winning only two states.  But when the Electoral College met, the name of Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler was substituted to count the electoral votes.  However, there was no provision for a replacement Vice President, so had Taft won, he would have had no Vice President for the entire term of 1913-1917!

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had a severe stroke in September 1919, and never fully recovered in his last year and a half in the White House, and his wife ran cabinet meetings in his absence, but had Wilson resigned or died, Vice President Thomas Marshall would have become President!

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry A. Wallace, his Secretary of Agriculture, as his third term Vice President from 1941-1945, and had he not been lobbied to replace the unpopular Wallace with Harry Truman for his fourth term run for the Presidency, it would have been Wallace who would have succeeded FDR in the Presidency after 82 days of the fourth term in 1945!

FDR’s Republican opponents in the Presidential Election of 1940 were businessman Wendell Willkie for President, and Oregon Senator Charles McNary for Vice President.  Had they won the White House, the nation would have faced losing both of them in the last year of the term–McNary dying in February 1944, and Willkie in October 1944, an unprecedented situation to have had both the President and Vice President in the same term die in office!  And this would have occurred during the height of the battle to win World War II, a very dangerous time for such an occurrence!

Harry Truman’s Vice President in his full term from 1949-1953 was Alben Barkley, who wished to run for President in 1952, but was pushed aside since he was already in his 70s, and it was felt it was not a good idea to have a President of that age come to office.  It was fortunate that this happened, since Barkley died in April 1956, so would have died in office!

President Gerald Ford replaced Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate in the 1976 election for Senator Bob Dole, under pressure from conservative Republicans led by Ronald Reagan, and lost the Presidential Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter.  Had Ford kept Rockefeller on the ticket, some think he would have defeated Carter, and if that was so, then Ford would have lost his Vice President in office, as Rockefeller died in January 1979!

 

Republican Implosion: 1912, 1964, 2016—Each 52 Years Apart After Lincoln And First Republican Victory In 1860!

The Republican Party was born in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and also included abolitionists, those who wanted the end of slavery, in its membership.

Six years later, the Republicans won the majority of the Congress,and in a four way Presidential face, Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency with less than 40 percent of the total national vote.

Within  six weeks of the Presidential inauguration, the Civil War had begun.

For the next half century, the Republicans dominated national politics, winning control of the Presidency for 44 of 52 years (with only Democrat Grover Cleveland winning two nonconsecutive terms in 1884 and 1892), and usually held the Congressional majority with a few exceptions.

But then in 1912, 52 years after the Republicans became the national majority, the party had a “civil war” between President William Howard Taft and his predecessor in the White House, Theodore Roosevelt, leading to the formation of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, and TR ending up second and Taft third in popular and electoral votes.  Democrat Woodrow Wilson became President, and promoted a great era of reform, known as the New Freedom, and also adopted TR’s reform platform, known as the New Nationalism.

Despite many shortcomings of Wilson, the domestic reform programs was the greatest in substance in American history.

The Republicans returned to national power in the Presidential Election of 1920 and kept it until Herbert Hoover and the coming of the Great Depression, and Franklin D. Roosevelt then brought Democratic dominance in 1932 and after, with his New Deal, a much greater reform period than that under Wilson.

The Republican Party was only able to win back Congressional majorities in the midterm election of 1946 and again in the Presidential Election of 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower won the Presidency, but two years later, the Democrats regained the majority in both houses for the next quarter century.

The more conservative wing of the GOP lost their chance to gain a Presidential nomination when Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon won the nominations for President from 1940-1960, but the conservatives overcame the Eastern Establishment, as it was known, and soared to the Presidential nomination with right wing Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964, 52 years after 1912.

But now we had “civil war” again, as Eastern Establishment Republicans who had competed against Goldwater, including most notably Nelson Rockfeeller, refused to support Goldwater in 1964, and some just sat on their hands, while others backed Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson.  This led to a massive defeat for the GOP in 1964, and LBJ went on to a landslide victory and the promotion of the Democratic Party’s Great Society.

The battle for the future began when Ronald Reagan sought the Presidency against incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976, but going on to triumph in 1980, creating what conservatives considered a “Golden Age”.  However, after Reagan, the Establishment returned with President George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, President George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney from 1988 to 2012.

As the GOP became ever more conservative and right wing extremist, and was hijacked by the Tea Party Movement after 2009, the party has reached a point where the Establishment, including some of the 2016 Presidential candidates, but also much of Republicans Congressional leadership, was seen as unacceptable, and we have now witnessed a rebellion against “office holders”, and the rise of Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Cason, and Carly Fiorina.

It seems as if the GOP is on the way to another “civil war” 52 years after 1964, wh8ich could be the final implosion of the Republican Party as we know it, and lead to a massive Democratic victory, including the possibility yet again of a third age of reform, spurred on in the past by Wilson and LBJ, and maybe now, either Hillary Clinton, or who can say, maybe even Bernie Sanders!

2016, The Year Of The “Anti Candidate”: A Businessman, A Medical Doctor, A Businesswoman, And A “Socialist”?

Every presidential election has its interesting developments, but the Presidential Election Of 2016 already comes across as the most unusual we have ever experienced.

We are in the era of the “anti candidate”, as we have a businessman (Donald Trump) with no political experience; a medical doctor (Dr. Benjamin Carson) with no political experience; a businesswoman (Carly Fiorina) with no political experience (although she ran for the US Senate in California and lost); and a declared democratic Socialist (Bernie Sanders) who is the longest serving Independent member of Congress in its entire history!

None of this could have happened in any earlier election cycle, although we have witnessed one major party Presidential nominee (Wendell Willkie in 1940), who lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It seems, based on polls at least, that the American people are sick of traditional candidates and politicians, and are showing their rebellion, particularly against having another Bush and another Clinton as their major party Presidential choices.

And yet, the betting money is still on Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton ending up as the major party nominees, with Hillary easily winning the election, and becoming the first woman President!

“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!