Even at this point not long after the violence, many of the facts of the Newtown, Connecticut mass-shooting of children and school staff are clear enough.
The facts are clear enough because we have seen these type shootings happen again and again in America. We keep lists of the most deadly mass-shootings like we keep baseball statistics.
We have yet another well-armed off-balance individual who has gone to a public place and killed a number of people. And we know that it will not be long until it happens again somewhere in America.
I have 3 points to relate here that convey my thoughts on the matter based on reactions I’ve seen expressed in the news and on social media since the shooting took place.
1. It really is meaningless for the Democratic elected officials to express regret over the Connecticut shooting without talking about efforts they will propose to address the reasons for the violence.
2. We all know the extreme right will not relent on gun control just as they won’t on climate change, taxes for the rich, or as we saw on the international disability treaty killed in the Senate recently despite the support of Bob Dole. How long do we let maybe 25% of the country hold us up on every measure of progress?
3. It is good that people care about each other and want to offer prayers for the dead in the Connecticut shooting. Prayer makes a hopeful difference in many people’s lives. But in terms of stopping the violence, prayers will have no more effect then did Rick Perry’s call for prayers to end the Texas drought while denying climate change. Public policy changes are required to address public policy problems.
California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein says she will propose legislation in the next Congress to regulate high-powered guns.
There is plenty of leeway in this country to address gun violence without taking after law-abiding folks who have a gun at home for whatever purpose. The debate over guns in America needs to move away from over-rigid interpretations of the Second Amendment and move towards general public safety.
A kind Texas Liberal reader by the name of Kathleen has e-mailed me asking the results of recent Presidential elections in Texas.
You will see that Texas has voted Democratic for President just once since Lyndon Johnson of Texas left the White House. Regretfully, 2008 seems likely to continue that pattern.
Here is how Texas has voted for President since 1948.
Truman (D) 65.4%
Dewey (R) 24.6%
Thurmond (Dixiecrat) 9.3%
Eisenhower (R) 53.1%
Stevenson (D) 46.7%
Eisenhower (R) 55.3%
Stevenson (D) 44.0%
Kennedy (D) 50.5%
Nixon (R) 48.5%
(Below–Richard Nixon in World War II.)
Johnson (D) 63.3%
Goldwater (R) 36.5%
Humphrey (D) 41.1%
Nixon (R) 39.9%
Wallace (I) 19.0%
Nixon (R) 66.2%
McGovern (D) 33.3%
Carter (D) 51.1%
Ford (R) 48.0%
Reagan (R) 55.3%
Carter (D) 41.4%
Anderson (I) 2.5%
Reagan (R) 63.6%
Mondale (D) 36.1%
Bush (R) 56.0%
Dukakis (D) 43.3%
Bush (R) 40.6%
Clinton (D) 37.1%
Perot (Reform) 22.0%
(Below–Clinton, Bush and Perot in 1992.)
Dole (R) 48.8%
Clinton (D) 43.8%
Perot (Reform) 6.7%
Bush (R) 59.3%
Gore (D) 38.0%
Nader (G) 2.2%
Bush (R) 61.1%
Kerry 38.2 %
(Below–George W. Bush)
Thanks to Kathleen for the question.
I have many reference sources on politics and would be happy to reply to any question on American political history that you the blog reader might have. Just leave a question in the comment space.
Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.
( Please click here for one of the most popular posts ever on Texas Liberal—Blog Readers Demand To Know What Is Done With Shamu’s Body After He Dies.)
Taken as a general matter, since the current primary-heavy process of selecting nominees began in 1972, victorious Presidential nominees have not selected their nearest rival in contested nomination fights as the Vice Presidential nominee.
Only twice in contested nomination battles beginning with 1972 has the Vice Presidential nominee been the second place finisher in total primary votes. The Democratic ticket in 2004 and the Republican slate in 1980 are the two.
In 2008, Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York each won just over 48% of the popular vote in the primaries with Mr. Obama winning a few more votes than Mrs. Clinton. For Republicans, John McCain of Arizona took around 45% of the total with Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas each in the low 20’s.
In going with Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Obama has made his call. Senator McCain will do the same next week.
Here is some history on this matter—
In 2000 Al Gore of Tennessee (76% of Democratic primary voters) did not pick Bill Bradley of New Jersey (20%). Nor did George W. Bush of Texas (63% of Republican primary voters) select Mr. McCain (30%).
In the fiercely fought Republican race in 1976 , President Gerald Ford of Michigan (53%) did not offer the Vice Presidency to Mr. Reagan (46%). Senator Dole was President Ford’s choice.
1972 was the last time the nominee was not the top vote getter in the primaries. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota won 26% of the vote against 25% for George McGovern of South Dakota and 24% for George Wallace. The nominee, Mr. McGovern did not offer the VP spot to either gentleman.
( Governor George Wallace stands in the schoolhouse door blocking integration in Alabama. Neither George McGovern or Jimmy Carter thought it best to run with Mr. Wallace in a Presidential election.)
Who have been the oldest candidates for President?
Senator John McCain will be 72 on Election Day 2008. This makes him the second oldest first-time major party nominee in Presidential election history. Here are first-time major party Presidential nominees nominated at age 65 or older. Listed after the name is the candidate’s age on Election Day and the year of the election. At the end of each listing is the lifespan of the candidate.
2. John McCain, 72, 2008—Republican running against man who would be one of our youngest Presidents. (1936-)
Staute of William Henry Harrison in Downtown Cincinnati
4. William Henry Harrison, 67, 1840–Harrison ran as regional nominee of Whigs as part of a failed plan to defeat Martin Van Buren in 1836. In 1840 Harrison was nominee of entire party. He was elected but died one month into his term. Beat Mr. Van Buren. (1773-1841)
Others have reached age 65 in the years between a first nomination and a subsequent nomination.
These men are—
Alaska, though in many ways a creature of the federal government, is a strong Republican state in Presidential elections.
Alaska is very likely to vote Republican again in 2008.
The roads and railroads of Alaska come from the federal government. There is a significant military presence in Alaska and that is the federal government as well.
But Alaskans resent federal restrictions on land use in Alaska and limits on oil drilling in Alaska.
The premise seems to be that 670,000 people occupying 16% of the nation’s land should have full control over the national resources that exist in Alaska.
Another significant factor in the Republican leanings of Alaska is the libertarian bent of many Alaskans.
In 1980, Libertarian nominee Ed Clark won 11.7% is Alaska. This is the best statewide showing ever by a Libertarian.
It’s not hard to figure that anybody willing to live in a distant place like Alaska is somebody who wants to live as they see fit.
But do these folks refuse the money coming from Washington?
(Wouldn’t it be great to get a few hundred thousand of your most screwball friends together and be allowed to select two United States Senators and get billions of dollars of federal money?)
With only three electoral votes, far away from much else, and almost certain to go Republican, Alaska may not be heard from much in the 2008 Presidential election.
2006 Population—671,000, 48th of the 50 states, 68% white, 15% Native, 4% Asian, 4% Hispanic, 3% black.
Last (And Only) Democrat To Carry Alaska—Lyndon Johnson, 1964. ( 1960 was the first time Alaska voted in a federal election.)
Presidents From Alaska—None
Vice Presidents From Alaska—None
Significant Presidential General Election Candidates From Alaska—None
Barrow ( Photo below.) is the northernmost town in America. 4,500 people live in Barrow. Click here to learn about this town.
How will Alabama vote in the 2008 Presidential election?
The odds are good that this deeply misguided state will cast its nine electoral votes for the Republican candidate.
( Above you see a marker with the state motto of Alabama. Make of it what you will.)
It is not for me to give up on people. I don’t have any final call on who can be redeemed and who can not.
But I must say that Alabama is a place I have largely given up on.
This is because of a 2003 statewide referendum in Alabama.
In this vote, the people rejected a proposal by conservative Republican Governor Bob Riley to provide more funding for education, bring about a more equitable state tax scheme, and raise taxes on some people, though not all people, in Alabama. The initiative was also supported by Alabama Democratic Party.
Governor Riley cited a New Testament instruction to “take care of the least among us” as part of the reason he supported this measure.
The plan was rejected 67% -33%.
Do you imagine that Alabama has good educational results and a fair tax structure?
What can you do with such a place? The people made the call about how that want to live and what values they have.
There are many good people in Alabama I am sure. I am sure these folks are tying their best.
Still, Alabama it’s John McCain territory all the way.
For many years Alabama voted Democratic as part of the “Solid South” of former Confederate states.
Alabama switched to supporting Republicans in seeming response to the Civil Rights movement.
In 2004, whites in Alabama voted 80% 19% for George W. Bush while blacks voted 91%-6% for John Kerry.
It’s a clear and unfair simplification to say all whites who voted for Mr. Bush in Alabama are racist.
Yet the history of this state is there for all to consider.
Here are some basic facts about Alabama in Presidential elections—
2006 Population Of Alabama—4.599 Million, 23rd in population, 70% white, 26% black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian.
Last Democrat To Carry State—Jimmy Carter 1976.
Last Non-Southern Democrat To Win State-–John Kennedy 1960. This was at the end of the days of the Democratic Solid South.
Presidents From Alabama—None.
Vice Presidents From Alabama—William King. (Above) Served only in 1853 as he died the year he was inaugurated. Vice President King was the running mate of Franklin Pierce. Mr. King’s profile on the U.S. Senate web page shows a long career in the Senate. He was not a major player, but he saw a lot of history. The profile also hints at what I’ve read elsewhere. That Vice President King was gay and that he was involved with his one-time roommate and future President James Buchanan.
Candidates For President From Alabama Winning At Least 3% Of The Popular Vote In A General Election—George Wallace,1968. Governor Wallace won 13% of the vote and carried five Southern states. His third-party states rights campaign is seen by some as a bridge for white Southerners from longtime allegiance to Democrats to the current Republican status quo.
The house below is part of the de Tonti Historic District in Mobile.
In a state never swift to embrace democracy for all, the Mississippi presidential primary has a brief history.
It was not until 1988 that a real two-party presidential primary was held in Mississippi.
In 2008, the Mississippi primary will be held March 11.
Just over 2.9 million people live in Mississippi. 61% are white and 36% are black. That is the highest percentage of black people of any state in the nation.
In 2004, George W. Bush won Mississippi 59%-40%.
For many years Mississippi was a one-party Democratic Solid South state that used a whites-only primary.
The great Fannie Lou Hamer (photo above) led the fight for an integrated Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic convention in Atlantic City.
She had some success, but this was one event of many during the Civil Rights era that led many–though not all–white citizens of Mississippi to join the Republican party.
( President George W. Bush.)
With the Republican party in control of much of Mississippi–though Democrats still control the state House of Representatives—it could be argued that the Republican primary is an updated white primary.
A difference is that black people are legally allowed to vote in the Republican primary. It’s just that they have little reason to want to do so.
This was great progress for Mississippi. But it also showed that many Mississippi whites had become Republicans.
(Jesse Jackson in 1983)
Pat Buchanan ran poorly in both ’92 and ’96.
David Duke gave it a shot in 1996.
He was rejected by Republican voters.
Again, on one hand this was progress. Yet on the other hand, it reflected a mainstream Republican party that white voters felt comfortable with on issues of race.
2000 and 2004 produced unremarkable results in Mississippi. Republicans did not hold a primary in 2004 since President George W. Bush was the certain nominee.
(The Largemouth Bass is the official fish of Mississippi.)
The California Presidential nominating primary, which will be held for 2008 on February 5, has a history that goes back to the Progressive Era. The first California primary was held in 1912.
The Presidential nominating primary, however regressive it may seem at times today, was a Progressive reform. It was step away from the smoke-filled rooms.
California was a big part of the Progressive Era. Progressive Bull Moose candidate Teddy Roosevelt carried California in the 1912 general election and the great Progressive Hiram Johnson was Governor of California from 1911 until 1917 and Senator from 1917 until his death in 1945. Johnson was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate in 1912.
Over 36 million people live in California. John Kerry won California 54%-44% in 2004.
In that first 1912 primary, Roosevelt defeated incumbent President William Howard Taft of Ohio among Republicans by a 2-1 margin. That gives you a sense of where the Republican electorate of California stood at that point in time.
1912 was long before primaries had the decisive role they do today. It would be 1972 and the years after 1972 that primaries took on the role they play today.
In 1920, California Senator Johnson took the Republican primary over Herbert Hoover. Hoover also has California connections as a Stanford graduate. Senator Johnson objected to Hoover’s position in favor of U.S. entry into the League of Nations and worked hard to deny Hoover the nomination.
Senator Johnson was asked to be Harding’s running mate. He said no. Harding died in 1923 and Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts became President.
Incumbent President Coolidge beat Senator Johnson in the California republican primary of 1924.
The Democratic primary of 1932 was of some note. Reflecting the Southern origins of many California Democrats, House Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas won the primary over New Yorker’s Al Smith, the 1928 Democratic nominee and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Very different from the results you would get today.
Roosevelt selected Garner as his first of his three Vice Presidents.
Mr. Sinclair is most famous for writing The Jungle.
(San Diego is closely contested between the two parties.)
In 1936, 1948 and 1952, Earl Warren was the winner of the California Republican primary.
Try to imagine Mr. Warren as a Republican today!
The future liberal Chief Justice was Governor of California from 1943 until 1953, He was also the running mate of Thomas E. Dewey of New York in 1948.
Warren never won the Republican nomination. Though arguably he got the only job better than President.
For all this time and beyond—from 1912 until 1992— the California primary was held late in the process. Often favorite son candidates, such as Mr. Warren, were the winners.
A favorite son candidate is a statewide figure who runs in the primary and then passes on his delegates at the convention in exchange for an office or for influence.
The 1964 Republican primary brought a clear test of ideological strength within the party. Much like in 1912.
This time though, the right-wing won.
Conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona defeated Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York. Rockefeller was a liberal Republican and the party was badly split in the early 60’s between these competing wings of the party.
The future was with the conservatives as the 1966 election of Ronald Reagan as Governor of California established.
It was on the night of his California 1968 Democratic primary win that Senator Robert Kennedy of New York was assassinated.
The 1972 California democratic primary was significant. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota defeated former Vice President Humbert Humphrey by 44%-39%. Mr. McGovern’s win gained him delegates and momentum that made a difference in taking the nomination.
(The Sacramento area is inclined towards Democrats.)
In 1976, home state candidate Ronald Reagan won a big victory over President Gerald Ford. But the 65%-35% win was not enough for Reagan to win the nomination.
California Democrats in 1980 voted for a slate of delegates committed to liberal Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts over incumbent President Jimmy Carter of Georgia. This provided a sense of what ideological tint held sway among California Democrats.
In 1992, California was the only one of 7 states voting on June 2 that came close to rejecting Bill Clinton of Arkansas. Former California Governor Jerry Brown, fighting to the end, lost 45%–40%. Mr Clinton had pretty much wrapped up the nomination before California.
In 1996, California finally moved its’ primary up to March. ( Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of Super Tuesday Primary Day.) Though all voters did was ratify the foregone conclusions of Bob Dole of Kansas and President Clinton.
California moved up its primary to March 7 for 2000 and March 2 in 2004.
In neither case did the California result make a difference.
(No voting in Death Valley)
The Super Tuesday Primary Day has a relatively modern history. The first Super Tuesday took place in 1988.
(Above is a person voting in Poland. It would be fun to have such a big tall ballot box where I voted. Please also note the ballot box is decorated with a plant and that the voter seems quite happy. Voting can indeed be fun. )
Super Tuesday resulted from concerns about the nominating process before 1988, and has evolved—if we take the word “evolve” to not mean the same as “improve”—from smaller regional primaries held in the 1970’s and 80’s.
And whatever it’s process-driven roots, the real purpose has been to enhance the influence of the states taking part in Super Tuesday.
(Look at all the choices the people have in whatever election is represented on the ballot sheet below. Still, having many choices does not mean folks have true alternatives).
In short, there is a good measure of silliness and state-against-state competition in the Super Tuesday concept.
Objections to the way the nominating process took place before Super Tuesday were the long gap between New Hampshire and other primaries in which candidates fell out of the daily news, the expense of the nominating campaign, the physical strain on candidates, and the length of the campaign with the primaries extending into May and June.
Objections to the current process are that the nomination is locked up before voters know the candidates, the money it requires run in many states at once and –of course–that the campaign season is so long.
( If you see Fred Thompson’s name on your ballot, please recall he has quit the race. Nobody wanted him.)
In 1980 and ’84, Alabama, Georgia and Florida voted on the same day in the second week of March. That smaller regional primary day is the foundation of the current Super Tuesday.
On March 8, 1988 16 states, 10 from the south, all held primaries.
Voila! Super Tuesday was born.
(People value the ballot all across the world.)
In 1992, Super Tuesday was termed “March Madness” with an 8 state primary on March 3 and an increasing number of states holding primaries in March.
In 1996, March brought on successive Tuesdays a “Junior Tuesday” of ten states—including five in New England—, a Super Tuesday with seven mostly Southern states and, finally, a “Big Ten” Tuesday of ten states with a focus on the industrial Midwest. There was also a three state western primary that included California on March 26. ( Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of the California Primary.)
In 2000, 11 states held primaries on March 7. This was the earliest date allowed by Democrats for states other than Iowa or New Hampshire to hold a primary or caucus. On March 14, another big Southern-dominated primary day was held.
In 2004, a national Super Tuesday was held with California, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Georgia and five other states voting on the first Tuesday in March.
( Sometimes voting forces us to view a complex world in black and white.)
For 2008 the dam has broken. 24 states will be holding a primary or caucus on the very early date of February 5.
In each election cycle Super Tuesday, or one of its close cousins, has basically ended the race.
Will the nomination fight in at least one of the parties survive past Super Tuesday 2008?
For the sake of blog traffic, I very much hope so.
(Please click here for other Texas Liberal political history posts. Texas Liberal will lead the way in blogging political history in 2008.)
(This person cared about voting and thought Woodrow Wilson should support the right of women to vote.)
Republicans and Democrats are campaigning hard in South Carolina.
Republicans vote in that state on January 19. Democrats vote on January 26.
Above is the state seal of South Carolina. In the first circle the words mean–“Ready in soul and resource.” In the second circle the words mean–“While I breathe I hope.”
Here is a link to some basic facts about South Carolina. The population of South Carolina is roughly 4.4 million.
Beginning with 1980, South Carolina’s Presidential nominating primary has played an important role in selecting Republican nominees.
Every winner of the Republican primary in South Carolina since 1980 has gone on to win the nomination of his party. In a number of these instances, the South Carolina win played a direct role in the nomination victory.
In 2008, this primary is important for both parties.
The origin of South Carolina as a force in Republican Presidential politics can be traced back to the political consultant Lee Atwater. In 1980, Mr. Atwater helped get the South Carolina primary scheduled early in the campaign season to help Ronald Reagan. (Photo below.)
Governor Reagan won the 1980 primary with 55% of the vote in a test against former Texas Governor John Connally. Mr. Connally ran a distant second at 30%.
In 1988, Mr. Atwater again used South Carolina to aid his candidate.
This time it was Mr. Reagan’s Vice President, George H.W. Bush.
South Carolina voted three days before much of the rest of the South did on so-called “Super Tuesday” March 8. Bush scored a convincing win in South Carolina over his main Republican challenger, Robert Dole of Kansas. (Photo below) This helped set the tone for a Bush sweep of the South on the big primary day 72 hours later.
The timing of the South Carolina primary has been critical to it’s influence. Scheduled as the first primary in the South and conducted a few days before Super Tuesday, candidates have seen the state as a springboard to subsequent primary tests.
In these years, Democrats were holding a South Carolina caucus instead of a primary. Intended or not, this fact denied Jesse Jackson likely primary victories in 1984 and 1988. Reverend Jackson was South Carolina caucus winner in 1988.
Jesse Jackson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina.
South Carolina has a substantial black population and a majority of South Carolina’s Democrats are black.
In 1992, a strong showing by President Bush over Pat Buchanan (photo below) helped dash Mr. Buchanan’s hope of winning strong Southern support for his White House bid.
For 1996, while the slightly more moderate Mr. Dole might not seem a total fit for South Carolina Republicans, two former GOP governors of South Carolina helped orchestrate a convincing Dole win over, again, Pat Buchanan. This win helped solidify Mr. Dole’s status as the frontrunner.
By 2000, Karl Rove (photo below), was running the Republican dirty tricks operation. Mr. Atwater died in 1991.
George W. Bush’s campaign questioned the sanity of rival John McCain. False rumors were spread about Senator McCain’s health. Leaflets were distributed calling McCain the “fag candidate.” This apparently because Senator McCain had met with the gay Log Cabin Republican group. (logo below)
Democrats have held a South Carolina primary in 1992 and 2004.
Bill Clinton was the easy winner in 1992.
John Edwards, who was born in South Carolina, was the 2004 winner. The win did little to help Senator Edwards take the nomination.
Al Sharpton (photo below) had hoped that black voters would rally to his candidacy.
They did not.
Below is a picture of the Sabel Palmetto tree. This is the state tree of South Carolina.
Texas Liberal is going to be your leading source for political history blogging in 2008. Please click here for a variety of political history posts including a history of the upcoming Florida primary.