1972

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1972

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1972

Election Day Date: November 7, 1972

Winning Ticket:

  • Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Republican 47,168,710 60.67% 520 96.7%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • George McGovern, R. Sargent Shriver, Democratic 29,173,222 37.52% 17 3.2%
  • John Hospers, Theodora Nathan, Libertarian 3,674 0.00% 1 0.2%
  • John Schmitz Thomas Anderson, American 1,100,868 1.42% 0 0.0%
  • Other (+) – – 297,553 0.38% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout: Total VAP 140,776,000 Total REG 97,338,541  Total Vote 77,744,027 %VAP 55.2%  %REG 79.9%

Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:

Speaking tours, rallies, television print/ads

Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:

  • McGovern-Fraser Commission: Wider democraticization of the primary system; delegate selection rules changes allowed for women, youth, and blacks to be elected delegates to the national party conventions; less influence of party bosses,  union leaders, and professional politicians on the nomination process; increase in the number of states holding primaries
  • Under terms of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, individuals are limited to making contributions of $1,000 per candidate per election, $5,000 a year to a political action committee (PAC) and $20,000 a year to a political party. In total, an individual cannot donate more than $25,000 to an election campaign. In addition, the act provides for public funding of the presidential campaigns of the major parties.

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:

Richard Milhous Nixon, Spiro T. Agnew, Republican, 1969-1974

Population: 1972: 209,924,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $1,237.9 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $4,647.7 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%): 26.63 Population (in thousands): 209,924
Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $5,897 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $22,140

Number of Daily Newspapers: 1,748 (1970)

Average Daily Circulation: 62,108,000 (1970)

Households with:

  • Radio 46,108,000 (1970)
  • Television 60,594,000 (1970)

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)

Method of Choosing Nominees: Presidential preference primaries and caucuses

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Vietnam War; anti-war demonstrations; Inflation; public frustration/discontent
  • Republicans lost seats in the 1970 mid-term elections
  • Nixon’s poll numbers slipping

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Republican Party candidates:

  • Richard Nixon, President of the United States
  • Pete McCloskey, Representative from California
  • John M. Ashbrook, Representative from Ohio
  • Harold E. Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota

Democratic Party candidates:

  • George McGovern, Senator from South Dakota
  • Hubert Humphrey, former Vice President from Minnesota
  • George Wallace, Governor of Alabama
  • Edmund Muskie, Senator from Maine
  • Eugene J. McCarthy, former Senator from Minnesota
  • Henry Jackson, Senator from Washington
  • Shirley Chisholm, Representative from New York
  • Terry Sanford, former Governor of North Carolina
  • John Lindsay, Mayor of New York City, New York
  • Wilbur Mills, Representative from Arkansas
  • Vance Hartke, Senator from Indiana
  • Fred Harris, Senator from Oklahoma
  • Sam Yorty, Mayor of Los Angeles, California

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Ending the Vietnam War; Protest vote;
  • New rules democraticizing the primary system; increase in number of primaries;
  • Weakened influence of party bosses in the nomination process;

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries): More emphasis on primaries to nominate a candidate, party conventions becoming more ceremonial

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):

Edward M. (“Ted”) Kennedy, Edmund G. Muskie, Hubert Humphrey, Gary Hart

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

Republican Party:

  • Pete McCloskey of California: liberal, anti-war, anti-Nixon
  • John Ashbrook of Ohio: conservative, opposed détente with China and the Soviet Union
  • New Hampshire primary: Nixon 83%; McCloskey 11%; Ashbrook 6%

Democratic Party:

  • Edward Kennedy, possible front-runner Presidential for the Democratic nomination withdrew early from consideration, after the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident. (He accidentally drove his car off a bridge in  Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, into the water and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne and his car where found in tidal channel after Kennedy abandoned the scene, he received a suspended sentence) Announced he would not run in January 1971
  • Early front runners were the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees from 1968, Senators, Edmund Muskie of Maine and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota
  • “Canuck Letter” published in the Manchester Union-Leader. Claimed Muskie had insulting comments about French-Canadians. The paper attack Muskie’s wife Jane, claimed she drank and swore.
  • Muskie who seemed calm and even tempered throughout the 1968 campaign, unleashed his temper to the publisher who attacked his wife in front of their offices in New Hampshire during a snowstorm; Muskie claimed what appeared as tears was actually snow flakes; turned him off to voters; demonstrated instability
  • Humphrey won four primaries, but lost decisive Wisconsin and California
  • George Wallace “Send Them a Message” populist campaign, won five primaries, May 15 1972 assassination attempt, was paralyzed from the waist down
  • George McGovern, dark horse, entered the race in January 1971, became the frontrunner; “Come Home, America” anti-war primary campaign; support of the protests, minority groups who saw him as a leader of their causes
  • McGovern intended to benefit from new primary system rules he helped  shape, support in the primaries from the anti-war constituency, gain the nomination, then the party leaders would leaders would support his candidacy in the general election, however they did not

Primaries Quotations:

  • “I was just goddamned mad and choked up over my anger.” Edmund Muskie
  • “They say that George McGovern is for the legalization of marijuana, but I say — I tell you that George McGovern does not advocate the legalization of marijuana. They say George McGovern is for abortion on demand, but I tell you — But I say to you that George McGovern is against tampering with our state laws on abortion. George, maybe I’m too old to understand this new generation. I’ll get the oldsters for you, and you take care of the young ones as you think best.” Governor Frank Morrison introducing McGovern at a meeting in a large Catholic high school, Omaha, Nebraska
  • “The first guideline ordered state parties to “adopt explicit written Party rules governing delegate selection. It was followed by eight “procedural rules and safeguards” which the commission demanded the applied in the delegate selection process. Specifically, the states were henceforth to forbid proxy voting; forbid the use of the unit rule* and related practices such as instructing delegations; require a quorum of not less than 40 percent at all party committee meetings; remove all mandatory assessments of delegates and limit mandatory participation fees to no more than $10; ensure that party meetings in non rural areas were held on uniform dates, at uniform times and in places of easy access; ensure adequate public notice of all party meetings concerned with delegate selection.” McGovern-Fraser Commission

Primaries:

  • Democratic 21 65.3 % delegates
  • Republican 21 56.8 % delegates

Primaries Results:

Republican Party: Jun 06, 1972

  • Richard Milhous Nixon(I): 5,378,704, 86.79%
  • Unpledged: 317,048, 5.12%
  • John M. Ashbrook: 311,543, 5.03%
  • Paul N. “Pete” McCloskey, Jr.: 132,731, 2.14%
  • George Corley Wallace: 20,907, 0.34%
  • Others: 8,916, 0.14%
  • None Of The Names Shown: 5,350, 0.09%

Democratic Party: Jun 06, 1972

  • Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr.: 4,121,372, 25.77%
  • George S. McGovern: 4,053,451, 25.34%
  • George Corley Wallace: 3,755,424, 23.48%
  • Edmund Sixtus Muskie: 1,840,217, 11.51%
  • Eugene J. McCarthy: 553,990, 3.46%
  • Henry Martin “Scoop” Jackson: 505,198, 3.16%
  • Shirley A. Chisholm: 430,703, 2.69%
  • J. Terry Sanford: 331,415, 2.07%
  • John V. Lindsay: 196,406, 1.23%
  • Samuel W. Yorty: 79,446, 0.50%
  • Wilbur D. Mills: 37,401, 0.23%
  • Walter E. Fauntroy: 21,217, 0.13%
  • Unpledged: 19,533, 0.12%
  • Edward “Ted” Kennedy: 16,693, 0.10%
  • Vance Hartke: 11,798, 0.07%
  • Patsy Takemoto Mink: 8,286, 0.05%
  • None Of The Names Shown: 6,269, 0.04%
  • Others: 3,007, 0.02%

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Republican National Convention: August 21-23, 1972, Convention Center; Miami Beach, 1st ballot, Richard M. Nixon (California), Spiro T. Agnew (Maryland)
  • Democratic National Convention: July 10-13, 1972, Convention Center; Miami Beach, Lawrence F. O’Brien (Massachusetts), 1st ballot, George S. McGovern  (South Dakota), Thomas F. Eagleton (Missouri)

Conventions Turning Points:

Democratic National Convention:

  • Democrat’s thirty hours convention televised to the nation;
  • McGovern ensured female and minority participation, opened nominating process
  • Hostile delegates, debates over seating the California delegation; regular party leaders felt marginalized, many ended up supporting Nixon, backlash against McGovern
  • Appeared too liberal to televised audiences, very liberal platform; although McGovern was more moderate than the convention appeared although his acceptance speech was telecast too much after primetime, at 3AM
  • Vice Presidential vote chaotic, there were three front running candidates, however, the votes scattered over 70 candidates. The vote lasted until 3AM local time; although McGovern’s choice Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri won the Vice Presidential nomination on the first ballot
  • Later discovered Eagleton had mental health issues and the he had suffered mental exhaustion which required electric-shock treatment, and had voluntarily hospitalized himself three times from 1960 to 1966, but concealed his health issues from McGovern

Republican National Convention:

  • Staged managed convention to benefit from television coverage
  • Five sessions took place over seventeen hours
  • Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew renominated on the first ballot
  • 1976 apportionment of delegates debate; Texas Senator John G. Tower and New York Representative Jack F. Kemp proposed awarding bonus delegates (based on a state’s presidential vote); Wisconsin Representative William A. Steiger tied the delegates award to congressional and gubernatorial elections; Tower and Kemp plan approved, 910 to 434 roll call vote
  • Seven members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War conspired to disrupt the Republican convention

Conventions Quotations:

  • “The McGovern ‘Hara-Fraser commissions reformed us out of the Presidency, and now they’re trying to reform us out of a party.” Ohio Congressman Wayne Hays
  • “I think we lost the election at Miami. . . . The American people made an association between McGovern and gay liberation, and welfare rights and pot-smoking and black militants, and women’s lib, and wise college kids.” Congressman James O’Hara after the Democratic National Convention

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Democratic Party Nomination:

  • George McGovern: 1864.95
  • Henry M. Jackson: 525
  • George Wallace: 381.7
  • Shirley Chisholm: 151.95
  • Terry Sanford: 77.5
  • Hubert Humphrey: 66.7
  • Wilbur Mills: 33.8
  • Edmund Muskie: 24.3
  • Ted Kennedy: 12.7
  • Sam Yorty: 10
  • Wayne Hays: 5
  • John Lindsay: 5
  • Fred Harris: 2
  • Eugene McCarthy: 2
  • Walter Mondale: 2
  • Ramsey Clark: 1
  • Walter Fauntroy: 1
  • Vance Hartke: 1
  • Harold Hughes: 1
  • Patsy Mink: 1

Third Party Candidates & Nominations:

  • American Party ticket: Presidential, John G. Schmitz (Republican Representative), conservative candidate, on ballot in 32 states 1,099,482 votes, no state, majority, no electoral votes
  • Libertarian Party: (newly formed) on the ballot in Colorado only, received 3,573, no states, received vote from defected Republican elector in Virginia
    • Presidential John Hospers
    • Vice Presidential Theodora Nathalia Nathan (first woman to receive an electoral vote)
  • Socialist Workers Party: Presidential, Linda Jenness; Vice Presidential, Andrew Pulley
  • People’s Party: Presidential, Benjamin Spock; Vice Presidential, Julius Hobson

Convention Keynote Speaker:

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

Party Platform/Issues:

  • Democratic Party: Peace Platform; ending the Vietnam War; unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces; welfare system overhaul guaranteed incomes for the poor; handgun legislation; ban Saturday night specials; Equal Rights Amendment;  elimination of the electoral college
  • Republican Party: ending Vietnam War; democratic government in the south; opposed granting amnesty draft dodgers; accused Democrats of wanted to raise taxes of the rich, lead to middle class taxes; health care reform

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Thomas Eagleton; Vietnam War, desegregation (busing);

Campaign Innovations (General Election):   

Major Personalities (General Election): 

Gary Hart (McGovern campaign manager); Thomas Eagleton; Robert Novak; Sargent Shriver; Henry Kissinger;

Campaign Tactics:

Republican Party:

  • “The most restrained campaign of his career.”
  • Run as bold world leader, staffers, Congressmen, cabinet members were “presidential surrogates” on the campaign trail; campaign organized, CRP most money from fundraising for a campaign
  • Foreign policy, peace candidate; Continual withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, Vietnamization of the war; Presidential trips were a first to Communist China in February and Moscow in May; strategic arms-limitations talks (SALT)
  • Southern strategy winning Southern states through opposition to desegregation (busing) and Civil Rights, and New Left, Vietnam protests, counterculture;
  • Painted McGovern as a radical; Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP, or, CREEP), independent organization to garner funds and votes, and discredit McGovern
  • Nixon did not necessarily need to campaign;
  • Campaigned actively towards the end; attacked busing and permissiveness, criticized McGovern’s foreign policy proposals as a danger to the country

Democratic Party:

  • Improvised campaign organization
  • Eagleton and early primary policies alienated many Democrats, voters and influential party leaders who would campaign on his behalf;

Turning Points (General Election):

  • June 17, 1972: Break-in at the Watergate Complex, McGovern/Democratic campaign headquarters, largely ignored through the campaign
  • Discovery Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Eagleton underwent electric shock therapy; McGovern claimed to back Eageton “1000 percent”; however, senior staff, party leaders, and editorial writers pressured McGovern to drop Eagleton from the ticket and he requested withdrawal three days later; McGovern appeared indecisive, criticized for dropping Eagleton after his original support, either way McGovern’s decision would have been criticized
  • Search for a new Vice Presidential candidate, six Democrats refused the nomination until Sargent Shriver, former Ambassador to France and former Director of the Peace Corps accepted. Shriver received the official nomination at a special session of the Democratic National Committee
  • McGovern’s poll ratings plunged 41% to 24%; Nixon led in the polls throughout the campaign among all demographics
  • AFL-CIO would not support McGovern and the Democrats, although some unions endorsed McGovern; AFL-CIO head George Meany “McGovern was not “good material” and charged that a “small elite of suburban types and students took over the apparatus of the Democratic party.””
  • In the weeks, leading up to the end of the campaign Nixon suspended bombing in Vietnam and engaged in secret negotiations with the National Liberation Front.
  • Just before the election at an October 26 press conference, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced Peace with honor with regard to cease-fire with Vietnam, Kissinger’s announcement convinced many voters that the Vietnam War would soon be over

Popular Campaign Slogans:

Republican:

  • “Now More than Ever”
  • “Re-Elect The President”

Democrat:

  • “Make America Happen Again”
  • “Come Home America”
  • anti-Democratic Party: “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion”
  • Democratic Party: Don’t Switch Dicks in the Middle of a Screw, Vote Nixon in ’72.”

Campaign Song:

  • Democratic Party: George McGovern: “Bridge over Troubled Water” (Paul Simon)

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • “Probably the clearest choice between the candidates for President ever presented to the American people in the twentieth century…. To some extent the marring effects of Watergate may have played a part to some extent our failure to win Congress, and to a greater extent the fact that we had not yet been able to end the war in Vietnam.” Richard M. Nixon
  • “And I ask you, my fellow Americans, tonight to join us not in a coalition held together only by a desire to gain power. I ask you to join us as members of a new American majority bound together by our common ideals. I ask everyone listening to me tonight-Democrats, Republicans, independents, to join our new majority–not on the basis of the party label you wear in your lapel, but on the basis of what you believe in your hearts.” Richard Nixon, Remarks on Accepting the Presidential Nomination of the Republican National Convention
    August 23, 1972

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “I am 1,000 percent for Tom Eagleton and I have no intention of dropping him from the ticket.”  George McGovern
  • “And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong. And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves.” George McGovern, Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, July 14, 1972

Campaign Quotations:

  • “The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once middle America — Catholic middle America, in particular — finds this out, he’s dead.” Undisclosed Senator according to Robert Novak
  • “We did agree that we would make a major effort to conclude the negotiations by October 31. As far as Saigon is concerned, it is of course entitled to participate in the settlement of a war fought on its territory. Its people have suffered much and they will remain there after we leave. We believe that peace is at hand. We believe that an agreement is within sight, It is inevitable that in a war of such complexity that there should be occasional difficulties in reaching a final solution.” Henry Kissinger
  • “I am not embarrassed to be George McGovern’s seventh choice for Vice President. We Democrats may be short of money but we’re not short of talent. Pity Mr. Nixon — his first and only choice was Spiro Agnew.” Sargent Shriver after receiving the Vice Presidential nomination

Significant books about the campaign:

  • Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,
  • White, Theodore Harold. The Making of the President, 1972. Atheneum Publishers, 1973.

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • Nixon’s landslide victory resulted in the fourth largest margin of victory at 23.2% for percentage of the popular vote.
  • Nixon received the largest margin of victory by winning 18 million more popular votes than his opponent.

CHRONOLOGY

  • June 8, 1969: “Nixon announces he will withdraw 25,000 U.S. troops from South Vietnam by August 31.”
  • July 25, 1969: “Nixon declares his support of continual withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and for nations to take responsibilities in the own national security concept becomes the “Nixon Doctrine.” Includes plans for a “Vietnamization” of the Vietnam War.”
  • July 19, 1969: “Edward Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, into the water and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne and his car where found in tidal channel after Kennedy abandons the scene, Senator Tells the Police He Wandered About in Shock After Car Ran Off Bridge Near Martha’s Vineyard.
  • he receives a suspended sentence.”
  • October 7, 1970: “In a televised address, Nixon proposes a five-point peace plan for Indochina. The plan includes a “cease-fire in place” and the negotiated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.”
  • October 29, 1970: “While at a campaign rally in California, demonstrators taunt Nixon and throw objects at him.”
  • 1971: Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971
  • January 1971: “Edward Kennedy, possible front-runner Presidential for the Democratic nomination Announced he would not run early from consideration, after the Chappaquiddick incident.”
  • January 1971: George McGovern a dark horse enters the Democratic Presidential race and becomes the frontrunner with his “Come Home, America” anti-war primary campaign. He supports the war protests, and the minority groups who see  him as a leader of their causes.
  • McGovern intends to benefit from new primary system rules he helped shape. He has support in the primaries from the anti-war constituency, gains the nomination, then the party leaders would support his candidacy in the general election, however they did not.
  • June 13, 1971: “The New York Times begins to publish secret internal documents referred to as the “Pentagon Papers,” a development which leads the White House become increasingly fearful of further disclosures. Within a week, a special unit named the “Plumbers” is created to stop the leaks.”
  • July 15, 1971: “Nixon shocks the nation with the news that he plans to visit China within the next year.”
  • January 7, 1972: “Nixon announces that he will seek another term in office.”
  • January 24, 1972: Iowa caucus, Democrat Muskie wins, McGovern does well in first race where Iowa is of importance in the nomination process.
  • February 21-27, 1972: Nixon’s first Presidential trip to Communist China. “President and Mrs. Nixon arrive in China. A joint communique, later known as the Shanghai Communique, is released by the United States and China. It calls for both countries agree to increase their contacts, and for the United States to withdraw gradually from Taiwan.”
  • February 18, 1972: Communist Party National Convention nominates Gus Hall for President.
  • February 28, 1972: “Nixon addresses the nation via television to discuss his trip to China.”
  • March 7, 1972: New Hampshire primary, Democrat Muskie still ahead
  • March 14, 1972: Florida primary, Democrat Wallace wins.
  • March 16, 1972: “Nixon dismisses busing as a means of achieving racial integration and seeks legislation that would deny court-ordered busing.”
  • March 21, 1972: Illinois primary, Democrat Muskie wins.
  • March 1972: “Canuck Letter” is published in the Manchester Union-Leader. Claimed Muskie has insulting comments about French-Canadians. The paper attack Muskie’s wife Jane, claims she drank and swore.
  • March 1972: Muskie who seems calm and even tempered throughout the 1968 campaign, unleashes his temper to the publisher who attacked his wife in front of their offices in New Hampshire during a snowstorm. Muskie claims what appears as tears was actually snow flakes. His display of emotions turn off the voters, because it demonstrates instability.
  • April 4, 1972: Wisconsin Primary, McGovern wins close race over Humphrey and Wallace.
  • April 11, 1972: Socialist Labor Party Convention nominates Louis Fisher for President.
  • April 25, 1972: Massachusetts Primary, Humphrey wins; Pennsylvania primary.
  • May 2, 1972: Washington DC primary, Democrats, Indiana, Ohio primaries.
  • May 4, 1972: Tennessee primary
  • May 6, 1972: North Carolina primary
  • May 8, 1972: On national television, Nixon states that he has ordered the mining of North Vietnamese ports and the bombing of military targets in the North Vietnam.
  • May 9, 1972: Nebraska, West Virginia primaries
  • May 15 1972: There is an assassination attempt on George Wallace, and Wallace is paralyzed from the waist down. George Wallace “Send Them a Message” populist campaign, wins five primaries.
  • May 16, 1972: Maryland, Michigan primary, Democrat Wallace wins both.
  • May 22, 1972: Nixon’s Presidential trip to Moscow. “Nixon arrives in the Soviet Union for a summit meeting. He is the first sitting President to visit the U.S.S.R.”
  • May 23, 1972: Oregon, Rhode Island primaries.
  • Humphrey wins four primaries, but lost decisive Wisconsin and California
  • May 26, 1972: Strategic arms-limitations talks (SALT) Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with USSR
  • June 6, 1972: California, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota [McGovern over Humphrey in California]
  • June 17, 1972: There is a break-in in the Watergate Complex at the McGovern/Democratic campaign headquarters. The incident is largely ignored through the campaign. “Police seize James McCord, Frank Sturgis, and three Cubans inside Democratic Headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate Hotel. They confiscate cameras, wiretapping materials, and $2,300 in cash.”
  • June 23, 1972: “Nixon orders Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to tell the F.B.I. not to go any further with its Watergate investigation, justifying his actions on national security grounds.”
  • July 10-13, 1972: Democratic National Convention convenes in the Convention Center at Miami Beach, Florida. Lawrence F. O’Brien (Massachusetts) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on 1st ballot, George S. McGovern (South Dakota) for President, Thomas F. Eagleton (Missouri) for Vice President. Democrat’s thirty hours convention is televised to the nation. McGovern ensures female and minority participation by opening up the nominating process. Hostile delegates debate over seating the California delegation, and regular party leaders feel marginalized, many ended up supporting Nixon. There is backlash against McGovern. The Vice Presidential vote is chaotic, there were three front running candidates, however, the votes scattered over 70 candidates. The vote lasts until 3AM local time; although McGovern’s choice Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri wins the Vice Presidential nomination on the first ballot.
  • July 14, 1972: George McGovern gives his address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Appeared too liberal to televised audiences, very liberal platform; although McGovern was more moderate than the convention appeared although his acceptance speech was telecast too much after primetime, at 3AM
  • July 25, 1972: Eagleton announces he had mental health issues and that he had suffered from “nervous exhaustion and fatigue,” and “depression” which required electric-shock treatment on two visits, and he had been voluntarily hospitalized three times from 1960 to 1966. he had concealed his health issues from McGovern.
  • July 31, 1972: Senators George McGovern and Thomas F. Eagleton give a news conference on Senator Eagleton’s withdrawal as the Vice-Presidential nominee.
  • July 31, 1972: “Letters, telegrams and phone calls flood into Washington, which strongly supports Senator Thomas F. Eagleton and urges Senator George McGovern -vainly, it turned out — to keep him on the Democratic ticket.”
  • July 30, 1972: People’s Party Convention nominates Benjamin Spock for President and Julius Hobson for Vice President.
  • The Libertarian Party nominates John Hospers for President, and for Theodora Nathalia Nathan Vice President (first woman to receive an electoral vote). The  Newly formed Libertarian Party is on the ballot in Colorado only, received 3,573, no states, received vote from defected Republican elector in Virginia.
  • August 5, 1972: American Party Convention nominates John G. Schmitz for President. He is Republican Representative and conservative candidate. Party is  on the ballot in 32 states 1,099,482 votes, no state, majority, no electoral votes
  • Socialist Workers Party nominates Linda Jenness for President and Andrew Pulley for Vice President.
  • August 1972: Discovery Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Eagleton underwent electric shock therapy; McGovern claimed to back Eageton “1000 percent”; however, senior staff, party leaders, and editorial writers pressured McGovern to drop Eagleton from the ticket and he requested withdrawal three days later; McGovern appeared indecisive, criticized for dropping Eagleton after his original support, either way McGovern’s decision would have been criticized
  • August 8, 1972: “The Democratic National Committee nominates Sargent Shriver to replace Senator Thomas F. Eagleton as the party’s candidate for Vice President.” “National Committee ratifies McGovern’s selection as successor to Eagleton. The theme is party’s unity, the tally is nearly unanimous, Shriver accepts the nomination with ‘Gratitude and Joy’. The Democratic Committee backs choice of Shriver for second place.” (NYT) Search for a new Vice Presidential candidate, six Democrats refused the nomination until Sargent Shriver, former Ambassador to France and former Director of the Peace Corps accepted. Shriver received the official nomination at a special session of the Democratic National Committee
  • August 21-23, 1972: Republican National Convention convenes at the Convention Center in Miami Beach Florida and renominates on 1st ballot, Richard M. Nixon (California) for President and Spiro T. Agnew (Maryland) for Vice President. The convention is staged managed to benefit from television coverage. There are five sessions which  take place over seventeen hours. Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew renominated on the first ballot; 1976 apportionment of delegates debate; Texas Senator John G. Tower and New York Representative Jack F. Kemp proposes awarding bonus delegates (based on a state’s presidential vote); Wisconsin Representative William A. Steiger ties the delegates award to congressional and gubernatorial elections; Tower and Kemp plan approved, 910 to 434 on roll call vote
  • August 21-23, 1972: Seven members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War conspire to disrupt the Republican convention
  • August 29, 1972: “In a news conference, Nixon declares that no one on the White House staff, in the administration, or anyone “presently employed” was involved in the Watergate break-in.”
  • Fall 1972: Nixon’s reelection campaign is “The most restrained campaign of his career.” Nixon runs as a bold world leader. His staffers, Congressmen, and cabinet members are his “presidential surrogates” on the campaign trail. The campaign is organized. Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP, or, CREEP), independent organization to garner funds and votes, and discredit McGovern; Nixon does not necessarily need to campaign. CRP conducts fundraising for a campaign. The campaign uses the Southern strategy, by winning Southern states.  The campaign will show opposition to desegregation (busing) and Civil Rights, and willingness to combat the New Left, Vietnam protests, counterculture, and portray McGovern as a radical.
  • McGovern has an improvised campaign organization; Eagleton and early primary policies alienate many Democrats, voters and influential party leaders who would have campaigned on his behalf.
  • Discovery Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Eagleton underwent electric shock therapy; McGovern claimed to back Eageton “1000 percent”; however, senior staff, party leaders, and editorial writers pressured McGovern to drop Eagleton from the ticket and he requested withdrawal three days later; McGovern appeared indecisive, criticized for dropping Eagleton after his original support, either way McGovern’s decision would have been criticized
  • McGovern’s poll ratings plunged 41% to 24%; Nixon led in the polls throughout the campaign among all demographics
  • AFL-CIO decides it would not support McGovern and the Democrats, although some unions endorse McGovern; AFL-CIO head George Meany announces “McGovern was not “good material” and charged that a “small elite of suburban types and students took over the apparatus of the Democratic party.””
  • October 1972: Campaigned actively towards the end; attacked busing and permissiveness, criticized McGovern’s foreign policy proposals as a danger to the country
  • October 1972: In the weeks, leading up to the end of the campaign Nixon suspends bombing in Vietnam and engages in secret negotiations with the National Liberation Front.
  • October 20, 1972: “Nixon endorses a bill which calls for revenue sharing with the states and grants over $30 billion to state and local governments over the course of five years.”
  • October 21, 1972: “Nixon enhances the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the sale and use of pesticides.”
  • October 26, 1972: Just before the election at a press conference, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announces Peace with honor with regard to cease-fire with Vietnam, Kissinger’s announcement convinces many voters that the Vietnam War would soon be over.
  • October 30, 1972: “Nixon signs sixty bills, one of which provides more than $5 billion in benefits for the aged, blind, and disabled, while also increasing Social Security taxes.”
  • November 7, 1972: Election Day; Republicans Richard M. Nixon is reelected President and Spiro Agnew reelected is Vice President.
  • December 18, 1972: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote in their state capitals.
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