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126  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 25, 2017, 11:46:28 am

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 35th President of the United States  

Chapter One: American Guardsman: The Master of Washington

  Lyndon Johnson took his Oath of Office as planned on January 20th before Chief Justice Earl Warren and a crowd of millions. He oversaw the grand festivities which had attracted men and women from administration's past, including former presidents Truman and Eisenhower, former vice presidents John Garner and Richard Nixon, and near all sitting and surviving Congresspersons. Artists, actors and other varied celebrities attended the event as well, from Author John Steinbeck to Businessman George Kara.

  In the much-anticipated inaugural address, Johnson spoke at length to the virtues of the 'American Ideal.' He offered a plea for the success of "liberty atop tyranny" and professed admiration for those Constitutional rights granting such liberties. The new president assured the international community that the United States would continue to play its part in preserving the prestige of democratic governments opposed to those which seek to unravel human rights - clearly a nod at the United Nations and a side-swipe at Cuba and the Soviet Union. "We seek no dominion over our fellow man, but man's dominion over tyranny and misery."

  In seeking to unite the country behind his message, Johnson exclaimed that all must work hand-in-hand for the "increased bounty of all". This served to pivot to the core of his speech, in which the president declared that, "In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children just must not go hungry." He brought to the table what would become known as the "Great Society", a series of domestic programs which sought to advance upon the gains made in Theodore Roosevelt's "Fair Deal" and F.D.R.'s "New Deal" packages. For the present time, in the present speech, the president remarked on the injustices of homelessness, illiteracy and food shortages, stating his intent to work toward the end of these obstacles.

  In its entirety, the event had been received well, and experienced higher attendance than either of Eisenhower's inaugural ceremonies. A nor'easter fell just before January 20th, leading to temperatures dipping well below freezing. Wet surfaces had interrupted some of the grandeur and fanfare of typical inaugurations. The main White House parade took place as intended, although Johnson elected to be driven straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave that evening and thus avoided much of the traffic conglomerating around D.C. It was here where the new president, accompanied by Walter Jenkins and John Connally, constructed his presidential cabinet and upper administration. The Kennedys attended the glamorous and glitzy ballroom dances on behalf of the president as Johnson finalized the plan for his Hundred Days.

The Johnson Cabinet
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Vice PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Sec. of StateJ. William Fulbright
Sec. of TreasuryHenry H. Fowler
Sec. of DefenseStuart Symington
Attorney GeneralRobert W. Hemphill
Postmaster GeneralLawrence F. O'Brien
Sec. of InteriorStewart Udall
Sec. of AgricultureJoseph A. Califano
Sec. of CommerceRobert McNamara
Sec. of LaborW. Willard Wirtz
Sec. of Health, Edu., WelfareS. Douglass Cater

Eisenhower Final State of the Union Address Warns of "Military-Industrial Complex"
The Washington Post, January 18th, 1961

President Johnson Sworn In As President, Calls for an End to Poverty
The New York Times, January 21st, 1961
127  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pew - Strong support for Universal Healthcare especially among Dems & youth ! on: June 25, 2017, 02:41:52 am
Remains a shame Democrats in office, by and large, prefer to serve the interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries over that of their own supporters.
128  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Cynthia McKinney goes full alt-right on: June 24, 2017, 12:13:03 pm
McKinney being a loon is no big secret. She's had several breakdowns on Twitter before.
As a side note, what is that giant Z in the center of that Star of David meant to represent?
129  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 24, 2017, 11:46:23 am

Johnson and Kennedy: First Public Appearance Post-Election

  With the votes counted, it was now clear by all accounts that the Democratic ticket won out the day. 289 to 239: the Electoral Vote was clear. Johnson, Kennedy and the Democrats' overall appeal turned out to be the decisive factor with this tossup race, along with an unmistakable lackluster enthusiasm for Nixon in Pennsylvania.

  Vice President Nixon conceded when Pennsylvania had finally been called on November 9th. He had refused to consider the idea of initiating a recount in the Quaker State nor elsewhere. A handful of key Republican senators, including one Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) insisted that under the terms of "fair play", Nixon would and should have walked away with this contest. Goldwater and others put forth that Catholic precincts were generally over-represented, and that this factor had greatly assisted the Johnson/Kennedy ticket. However, with few reported counts of voter fraud in these "tossup" states to boost this claim, Nixon refused the advice of Goldwater and that of his campaign staff, officially bowing out sans scruples.

  President-elect Johnson took a commanding hold on the direction of his staff in the interregnum period inter-spliced between the election and January's inauguration. He opted to significantly downsize his regional staff following Election Day, declining to offer permanent employment to the majority of these campaign workers. His closest aids, in addition to a key selection of the national Johnson Campaign leaders, were privately offered positions in the Johnson Administration. Though critical historians may point to this phenomena as a sign of Johnson enclosing himself within an "Executive Bubble", as Theodore White stated, one may also attribute this as a precautionary measure in response to the closeness of the election. Taking into consideration the slim majority in the presidential race and the even-tempered upsurge of Republicans in Congress, the new president could not in fair terms deem this a mandate worthy of employing his entire volunteer staff.

  In those weeks approaching Inauguration Day, as Johnson carefully reviewed his cabinet options and the language of his inaugural speech, President Eisenhower announced that the United States would sever diplomatic relations with Cuba. This tepid relationship between the Eisenhower Administration and that of Fidel Castro broke down amidst the latter's moves to nationalize U.S.-owned private industry. Eisenhower gradually pushed tougher trade restrictions on the island throughout the second half of 1959 and 1960. More so, the president ceased all Cuban imports and secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to train Cuban refugees as a force to overthrow the Castro government.

  These countermeasures from the American government resulted in late 1960 with Cuba's consolidation of trade relations with the USSR. With that, Eisenhower ordered the Havana embassy closed. This new tension in Cuba was in place to play out in the first months of the incoming Johnson Administration. He hardly desired any major foreign policy dilemma this early in his tenure, yet Eisenhower's policy forced this upon him. Johnson, appropriating Kennedy's line from the primary race, professed unease that the Cuban people were forced into this situation due to the U.S.-supported Batista regime.

  As mentioned for a brief moment in Robin Lehman's L.B.J., "As Ike issued the embargo on Communist Cuba, the next president would seek to set a novel tone. No, President Johnson had no intention on going soft on Communism, but unlike his retiring predecessor, took responsibility for setting the stage for the Cuban Revolution. Taking a page from the Marshall Plan, he declared, America must lend its hand, not a fist, if it sought to convince the people of Cuba that the side of freedom is just." President Johnson, shortly after taking office, authorized the import and export of food stuffs and medicine to the island, though kept in place all existing trade stoppages as to reprimand Fidel Castro's seizing of private land and business. "Yes, we must speak softy," the film goes on, "but never forget that stick."

"For the inaugural ceremony, the forecast appears to be party cloudy with a slight chance of showers."
D.C. Radio Weather Broadcast, January 18th, 1961
130  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote on Trumpcare? on: June 24, 2017, 12:50:54 am
The only correct answer: Hell NO!
131  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Most left-wing person who could conceivably be elected president in 2020? on: June 24, 2017, 12:46:53 am
Probably still Sanders.
132  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Nancy Pelosi is a huge burden for Dems on: June 22, 2017, 07:15:37 pm
Pelosi is poison for the Democratic brand. Period.
133  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Why was SC-05 so close? on: June 20, 2017, 10:11:06 pm
Clearly it was the House of Cards ad.
134  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-06 and SC-05 election day & results thread on: June 20, 2017, 09:49:07 pm
I'm so glad we still have Dem posters here brow-beating the left about how "unrealistic" their chances are. Hey, you guys just spent over $20 million and lost to another Republican ghoul. Maybe give us a chance at the reins of power in the Dem party  and we'll do a better job than you at actually WINNING.

They'd rather lose with a neoliberal than win with a progressive. The Democratic establishment isn't going to give up power willingly.

That's it. That's the entire Democratic Party.
135  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-06 and SC-05 election day & results thread on: June 20, 2017, 09:47:43 pm

"This is the umpteenth time our centrist sellout has lost to a lunatic, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it."
136  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-06 and SC-05 election day & results thread on: June 20, 2017, 08:58:46 pm
Anyone recall the Quist-Gianforte thread when a dozen or so users assured us that running a Clintonite centrist instead of a populist was this magic elixir that could win over GA-06 a la John Bel Edwards? If Democrats continue to pursue the same trodden path they did in 2016, there's no shot in hell they manifest some "blue tide" in two years.
So if the populist in MT lost and the Clintonite in GA lost, then which Democrat wins?
They need a fundamental shift to energize independents.
Either retire the leadership and the centrist "ACA and the Economy are Great As-Is!" messaging or wait for GOP meltdown.
137  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-06 and SC-05 election day & results thread on: June 20, 2017, 08:47:37 pm
Anyone recall the Quist-Gianforte thread when a dozen or so users assured us that running a Clintonite centrist instead of a populist was this magic elixir that could win over GA-06 a la John Bel Edwards? If Democrats continue to pursue the same trodden path they did in 2016, there's no shot in hell they manifest some "blue tide" in two years.
138  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-6 Special election discussion thread on: June 19, 2017, 10:00:17 pm
In this episode of "How Do Democrats Keep Losing?"

139  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Death penalty on: June 17, 2017, 07:12:12 pm
"It would be very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to establish any principle upon which the justice or expediency of capital punishment could be founded, in a society glorying in its civilization." Marx in 1853.

It's a barbaric, racist practice. Cannot continue in any circumstance.
140  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 16, 2017, 05:57:10 pm
1960 Congressional Elections  

Democratic: 63 (-2)
Republican: 37 (+2)

Democratic: 260 (-23)
Republican: 177 (+24)

 Senate Leadership

Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT)
Sen. Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL)

 House of Representatives Leadership

Speaker Sam Rayburn (D-TX)
Minority Leader Charles Halleck (R-IN)

  In spite of Lyndon Johnson's electoral victory, the Congressional wave of 1960 brought in far more Republicans than anticipated. Although the Democrats retained a majority in each house of Congress, their lead had waned down significantly. Republicans gained much of this lead from voters in the Midwest and West: including a 7-seat bump from Indiana. The Senate remained, for the most part, stable, with Republicans picking up two seats. As with the House election, the Democrats held tightly onto their existing seats.

  Senators McNamara (D-MI) and Metcalf (D-MT) succeeded in just barely in defending their seats from Republican opponents, and the same held true for the incumbent North Dakotan governor John Davis (R-ND) in his senatorial victory over Democratic lawyer Quentin Burdick. Senator J. Allen Frear, Jr. has lost his re-election campaign to popular Governor J. Caleb Boggs. Frear campaigned well in his mission to preserve his incumbency, but failed to connect the same dots as Johnson and Kennedy had on the national level. This left the door open for Governor Boggs, somewhat of a populist and certainly a liberal Republican, to storm onto the stage and exit with a 51% win.

  In one of the more embarrassing moments for the Democrats of 1960, the retiring Senator Joseph O'Mahoney (D-WY) witnessed his chosen successor, a young lawyer named Raymond Whitaker, lose in a disastrous race to a Republican challenger. O'Mahoney had worked in the U.S. Senate since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and had played his due part in advocating for the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Upon suffering a stroke, O'Mahoney delegated the nomination to Mr. Whitaker. Whitaker ran as a moderate against WWII veteran Edwin Thomson, ending with a 57-42 win for the latter. As it turned out, Mr. Thomson would suffer a fatal heart attack prior to taking office, thereby leading to the (eventual) succession of one Milward Simpson from the Wyoming governorship to the Senate.

Senators Elected in 1960 (Class 2)
John Sparkman (D-AL): Democratic Hold w/ 70%
Bob Bartlett (D-AK): Democratic Hold w/ 62%
John L. McClellan (D-AR): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Gordon Allott (R-CO): Republican Hold w/ 54%
J. Caleb Boggs (R-DE): Republican Gain w/ 50%
Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Henry C. Dworshak (R-ID): Republican Hold w/ 52%
Paul Douglas (D-IL): Democratic Hold w/ 52%
Jack Miller (R-IA): Republican Hold w/ 52%
Andrew F. Schoeppel (R-KS): Republican Hold w/ 55%
John S. Cooper (R-KY): Republican Hold w/ 59%
Allen J. Ellender (D-LA): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Margaret C. Smith (R-ME): Republican Hold w/ 62%
Leverett Saltonstall (R-MA): Republican Hold w/ 56%
Patric V. McNamara (D-MI): Democratic Hold w/ 50%
Hubert Humphrey (D-MN): Democratic Hold w/ 57%
James O. Eastland (D-MS): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Edward V. Long (D-MO) SP: Democratic Hold w/ 53%
Lee Metcalf (D-MT): Democratic Hold w/ 50%
Carl T. Curtis (R-NE): Republican Hold w/ 59%
Styles Bridges (R-NH): Republican Hold w/ 60%
Clifford P. Case (R-NJ): Republican Hold w/ 56%
Clinton P. Anderson (D-NM): Democratic Hold w/ 60%
B. Everett Jordan (D-NC): Democratic Hold w/ 61%
John E. Davis (R-ND): Republican Hold w/ 50%
Robert S. Kerr (D-OK): Democratic Hold w/ 53%
Maurine B. Neuberger (D-OR): Democratic Hold w/ 54%
Claiborne Pell (D-RI): Democratic Hold w/ 68%
Strom Thurmond (D-SC): Democratic Hold, Unopposed
Karl E. Mundt (R-SD): Republican Hold w/ 52%
Estes Kefauver (D-TN): Democratic Hold w/ 70%
Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX): Democratic Hold w/ 58%
A. Willis Robertson (D-VA): Democratic Hold w/ 80%
Jennings Randolph (D-WV): Democratic Hold w/ 55%
Edwin Keith Thomson (R-WY): Republican Gain w/ 57%
141  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 16, 2017, 05:13:23 pm
Thank you everyone for the comments! Glad to see you seem to be enjoying it!

Will this be continued?

Yes! Will have the next part up tonight.
142  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi Team Up on: June 15, 2017, 08:44:07 pm
This is a lot better than fighting and hating each other.

Why don't they do the ball game every month, but instead of having team blue and team red, mix up the teams so that there are Democrats and Republicans on each team?

People like seeing unity a lot more than they do the rancor and misery of the rest of the year...


Gag me with a spoon.
143  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Fox News drops 'Fair and Balanced' slogan on: June 14, 2017, 05:19:20 pm
You know, "Fair and Balanced" was like an inside joke at Fox. They loved it because they knew how much it irritated liberals. A hallmark of the Ailes/Shine "us vs them" culture at Fox.

The Fox Network's goal has been to consistently warp the news and mislead the public in order to persuade them. "Fair and Balanced" was just emblematic of that, and in pushing that general narrative, they have successfully pushed the political-news sphere to the right over past decades.
144  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Senate announces new bipartisan sanctions against Russia on: June 14, 2017, 05:13:39 pm
Odds Trump vetoes?
145  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Liberal WaPo Analysis Writer, Deletes Heinous Tweet About Shooting on: June 14, 2017, 02:01:08 pm
He deleted the tweet so whatever.
146  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 10, 2017, 06:25:42 pm
The Election of 1960: Final Results

147  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 10, 2017, 06:16:35 pm

LBJ Casts His Vote, November 8th 1960

  In the final ten days prior to the election, each candidate sought to break new ground and move past the dreaded tossup vote forecast by national pollsters. President Eisenhower embarked on a long overdue campaigning tour with the vice president, solidifying those traditional Republican voters. Up to this point the president had not taken the opportunity to fight alongside his second-in-command as prior presidents had, but, by the last week of October, the immensely popular incumbent conducted a last-minute push to elect Mr. Nixon.

  Senator Johnson had opted to phoning two central figures in the recent Martin Luther King ordeal. The civil rights leader had been imprisoned for a brief span of time in Georgia without given the option of bail. Johnson, for discernment heavily disputed by historians and contemporaries alike, made the carefully crafted decision to call both Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver and Judge J. Mitchell to inquire as to the details of the situation. Campaign aids argued for years thereafter that Johnson felt compassion for King and had been compelled to take action in his case. Critics point to the idea that LBJ's choice may have been directed by political astuteness (winning over black districts). For whatever the reason may be, King was released on bail the following morning. Johnson denied that he had played any substantial role in the case, but did state that Mitchell made the correct choice in changing his mind.

  For the sake of clarity, the Johnson Campaign had been thoroughly divided on the merits of this move. John Connally, among a fair amount of others within the team, believed that this act was in error, and Johnson should have let the situation play out on its own. Others, including Walter Jenkins and the Kennedys, commended the candidate's move. Moving forward, even if Johnson risked his security in the Southern states, what mattered most was that Nixon was now known as the candidate who sat on his hands. Johnson, alternatively, was the candidate who acted. As Jenkins would declare to the campaign staff, "This is the unlocking of the Midwest. Move Illinois to tossup." With the exception of those Democrats fiercely opposed to civil rights reform and the practices of Dr. King, this played well in nearly every single demographic.

  Election Day moved quickly. Polling stations from coast to coast witnessed an overcrowded unseen in years, with dozens reporting all-time record turnout. Each candidate was photographed casting their ballots, and then each returned to their campaign headquarters to begin the longest election night since 1948. When the vote-counting began, at last, the press reported state-by-state results.

  John Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island, were called for the Democrats early in the night, just as Maine and Vermont swung hard in favor of Nixon. Johnson carried Connecticut with an uncomfortably close margin, likely due in part to the incumbent U.S. Ambassador to Spain and former Connecticut governor, John D. Lodge, who actively endorsed and campaigned for Nixon. The Republicans won a minor victory in taking New Hampshire for the fourth consecutive presidential election.

  New York had been called fairly early in the night for Senator Johnson, as were Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia. Kentucky and Missouri were too won narrowly by the Democratic contender. The entire stretch of the Central-South United States, including the "Electoral Goldmine" of Texas, stuck with Johnson, regardless of the MLK affair. Virginia, a true battleground state going into this particular election, see-sawed back and forth for hours until its eventual call for Nixon with a margin of roughly 2.2%.

  The state of New Jersey, albeit uncalled until three hours following the poll closures, was won by Nixon by less than one percent of the vote. Michigan and Minnesota had been won by Senator Johnson, while Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa were each won by Vice President Nixon. Ohio ended its count 53-46 in favor of Nixon. In Pennsylvania and Illinois, polling stations in dozens of districts recorded virtual ties, leading to the networks refusing to call these two states for either candidate. The total stood at 263-100 in favor of Johnson.

NBC Broadcasts the Election Results Live, November 8th, 1960

  At the moment the networks remarked on the closeness of those two uncalled Midwestern states, the tide turned somewhat as the Western Republican wave fueled Nixon's Electoral total up to 212. He had picked up all remaining states with thundering margins: with the exception of Nevada (called for Johnson). California, though its votes demonstrated a fair match by Johnson, was surprisingly called early for Nixon with a margin of over three percent. With the clocks on the East Coast ringing in at 12:00 AM, The Democratic candidate required one of those final states in order to be selected president. Nixon needed both of them.

  Illinois flipped back and forth between the candidates for several hours until it made its final flip to the Nixon column at 1:00 AM. Although Chicago  had come in dramatically for the Johnson/Kennedy ticket, the rural and suburban parts of the state were a landslide for the vice president. Illinois had been won by Nixon, 50.1% to 49.6%. 266-239. All eyes turned to Pennsylvania.

  In the Keystone State, as had occurred with Illinois, the cities had been moving in favor for the Democratic ticket while the rural districts went for Nixon (each about 65-35). Unlike in Illinois, however, suburbia was not so full-fledged in its support for Nixon. In towns on the outskirts of Philadelphia like Penn Wynne and Chesterbrook, Johnson held, on average, a steady 48% to Nixon's 52%. The Republican candidate required a far higher average for these smaller towns in order to take the state's 32 Electoral Votes. As Philadelphia and Pittsburgh sided commandingly with Johnson, the sheer numbers were just not there for Nixon. When the count had been finalized on the morning of November 9th, the State of Pennsylvania reported a Johnson victory: 49.5% to 49.1%.

"Lyndon Johnson has been elected. He will be the 35th President of the United States."
CBS Broadcast, November 9th, 1960
148  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems - Gigantic margins & turnout among 18-24 for Corbyn stops Conservatives ! on: June 09, 2017, 05:24:53 pm
I can see more liberal trends but in steps, going faster in the next few decades when more millennials run and win office but anything of the far-left won't pass or last long in the US, esp up against the budget constraints we are facing.

The Far Left, the sorts of people who shouted "Bring the victory home!" as the Commies took over Saigon and Phnom Penh, are basically gone. The Millennial Generation does not want nationalization of industry. It is not hostile to Big Business itself, especially if it works for it and gets solid pay. Soviet-style economics have lost all appeal. It is telling that most of the former-Communist states of central and Balkan Europe sold off the 'socialist' ownership of the economy to be able to afford a social-welfare state.

"Millennials are not hostile to big business"
"Millennials do not want nationalization of industry."

Please, do tell how you've deciphered how an entire generation thinks.
149  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Predict Trump's next tweet on: June 08, 2017, 01:48:00 pm
"Crooked Comey admits to leaking info to the press. Anybody still doubt he's a Grade-A Nutjob?"
150  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: President Johnson is Dead on: June 04, 2017, 12:19:34 pm

Vice President Richard Nixon visited by Senator Johnson, Walter Reed Hospital, August 1960

  Storming into the '60 Campaign, the Johnson team presented its candidate as one fighting for a new, secure direction for the nation. Along with championing his proposed expansion of domestic programs and providing for labor protections, Johnson took advantage of Soviet scaremongering and profusely highlighted the need for a renewed "international prestige" for the United States. Johnson argued that the country had fallen behind in scientific and military technological investments, thereby setting the stage for a world dominated by Soviet industry.

  Nixon ignored much of the criticism deriving from the Johnson Campaign in the heat of the August-September season with intent on conglomerating his own narrative. The vice president embarked on his infamous 50-State Tour following the Republican Convention. Though it sounded a surefire means to double-down on the '52 and '56 landslide victories, in the end it proved disastrous. The vice president spent many weeks on this goodwill tour, speaking in deeply Democratic states like Georgia, while Johnson and Kennedy took this valuable time to captivate swing state voters. Nixon then injured his knee on a car door in North Carolina: ending him up in a local hospital, plaguing his posture for ensuing months and providing fodder to the Johnson Campaign which had already sought to paint Nixon as clumsy and irresponsible.

  Johnson's chief struggle was, as he and those close to him knew, connecting with Northern Democrats. The Texan senator had a plain manner of speaking invaluable with attracting moderates and a fair deal of traditional Democrats, yet lacked the spark embedded in those like Kennedy and, to an extent, Nixon. In no other location was this phenomenon clearer than at a late summer campaign stop in Monticello, Illinois. When walking from his car to a small auditorium to present a speech to local business leaders, a young man approached Senator Johnson and inquired, seven or eight times, as to the candidate's record on civil rights. Samuel Forrest recalled, "The right move would have been to calmly interact with the man, or even pivot to his support for the '57 Bill, but he instead lost his cool."

  The press dramatized the engagement in their coverage of the moment with headlines such as, "Tempers Flare in Monticello" and "Johnson Lashes Out at Illinois Youth." In all truth, the Democratic nominee did most certainly raise his voice at the young man to move aside, and Nixon reveled in this shift of focus. The reverberations of the event had been far less damaging to the candidate's character than it did shed light on Johnson's past objection to civil rights legislation. Right at this time it turned out, surely by coincidence, that Nixon finally accepted Johnson's offer for a televised debate. In the vice president's mind, Johnson was at his weakest and all he had to do was drill the point home to complete the score. For Johnson, this was an opportunity in the reverse.

  On September 26th, 1960, sitting before several hot stage lights appeared two figures, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. Motioned by the host to begin, the Democratic opponent first stood and presented his opening statement. Collected and confident, Johnson would articulate, "The question we must face in the 1960s is that of America's independence. Will the United States maintain its industrial independence and superiority as the productive power of the Soviet Union rises unchallenged as it stands today? Our struggle with Mr. Khrushchev is one of survival. This is a time when you must select the voice of leadership who had encountered the problems of bringing men together, bringing countries together. This is one of our most trying hours."

  Nixon then stood to put forward his statement. Appearing gaunt and grey on television, the Republican candidate seemed ill-prepared for the event. As would be the custom for the vice president in this debate, he would purposely dodge the accusations of industrial and military weakness asserted by his challenger and instead applaud the achievements of the Eisenhower administration whilst criticizing the Democratic platform. "Whether it's in the field of housing, or health, or medical care, or schools, or the development of electric power we have programs which we believe will move America, move her forward and build on the wonderful record that we have made over these past seven and a half years. I costed out the cost of the Democratic platform. It runs a minimum of $13.2 billion a year more than we are presently spending to a maximum of $18 billion more than we are presently spending."

    Prior to this first, of a total of four, debates, Johnson ran approximately four to five points behind Nixon in national polling of registered voters. Following this commanding initial performance, polling had Johnson tied with Nixon. Both television viewers and radio listeners of the debate professed to have vastly preferred the majority leader over the vice president. Even Nixon supporters shook their heads over the dreadful performance of their candidate. Nixon's unsettling perspiration alone would have tipped the debate, but Johnson had brought his A-Game. October now nearing its end, the race had turned from Republican-leaning to a definitive tossup.

"President Eisenhower Campaigns for Nixon in Manhattan. New Yorkers Line Madison Ave."
The New York Times, October 30th, 1960

"Senator Johnson is now reported to have contacted Governor Vandiver and Judge J. Oscar Mitchell. How this connects to the recent announcement of Reverend Martin Luther King's release from the Georgia State Prison on a $2,000 bond appeal is unclear at this time."
NBC News, October 31st, 1960
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