DeJaVu and 1972?

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at rally in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

I can still vividly remember my first exposure as a young child to presidential politics. I was six years old in 1972 when my father took me to a George McGovern campaign rally in the parking lot of a major St. Louis shopping center.


We couldn’t get very close to the stage, but I can still picture in my mind the sea of humanity before us as my father put me on his shoulders so I could get a better view.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

The contest for the 2020 Democrat Party presidential nomination is beginning to look very similar to the 1972 race.

South Dakota Senator George McGovern won the nomination on an anti war, so called progressive platform. Wikipedia:

“McGovern, who had played a significant role in reforming the Democratic nomination system after the 1968 election, mobilized the anti-war movement and other liberal supporters to win his party’s nomination..In the end, McGovern won the nomination by winning primaries through grassroots support in spite of establishment opposition. “

Today, we see Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders using that same formula of mobilizing anti war Democrats in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Sanders is currently tied or leading in the polls in those states.

Sanders was also instrumental in 2018 in getting the DNC to change their “super delegate” rules which significantly helped Hillary Clinton defeat him 2016.

“The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to significantly curtail the power of superdelegates and make presidential caucuses more accessible, overcoming objections from a vocal minority of its membership.The reform package, pushed by DNC Chairman Tom Perez and allies of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others, passed overwhelmingly by voice vote at the DNC’s summer meeting here — after the process started.”


There is one stark difference between Senators Sanders and McGovern. George McGovern was a card carrying member of the Democrat Party until the day he died. Sanders still labels himself as a “Democratic Socialist” – while running for the presidency as a Democrat and for the senate as an Independent .

The Democrat Establishment knows a Bernie Sanders nomination would be a disaster for them in November, not only at the top of the ticket, but down ballot as well.

Although she calls herself a “capitalist to her bones,” Elizabeth Warren is arguably just as liberal and progressive as Bernie Sanders. Even she knows that’s not a winner position to have in a center right country.

Another interesting parallel to the 1972 presidential election was the AFL CIO union deciding for the first time in their history to not endorse a presidential candidate. The late George Meany was president of the union at that time. This excerpt is from a 1972 New York Times article:

“After the news conference, a political adviser to Mr. Meany said that the neutrality decision represented a repudiation of the “new politics” which, he said, had taken over the Democratic party and “arrogantly excluded” members of the old Democratic coalition, particularly organized labor. “This is our showdown with the new politics,” the adviser said. “The timing of the showdown was chosen by McGovern, not by us, but at some point the movement within the Democratic party had to be stemmed, and this is it.”


President Trump won his election by attracting so called “Reagan Democrats” in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Many of these voters are union members who have also felt excluded during the Democrat Party’s leftward shift.

I predict these union members – during a blue collar job boom – will not support having their union negotiated, Cadillac healthcare plans taken away from them and replaced with government ran “Medicare for All.” 

There was a common lament among Democrats after President Nixon’s historic 49 state landslide victory over George McGovern. It summed up beautifully the incredibly myopic view of the world they still hold today. “I don’t know how Nixon won. Nobody I know voted for him!”

If the trends continue, we may be hearing something similar from Democrats on Wednesday, November 4th 2020.


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