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Huckabee Victories Against McCain Similar To Kennedy’s Late Wins Against Carter In 1980


Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (above) has been scoring victories against likely Republican nominee John McCain of Arizona. 

Over the last weekend, Governor Huckabee was the winner of the Kansas caucus and the Louisiana primary. Senator McCain was declared the winner in the Washington caucus, but this outcome is being disputed by Mr. Huckabee. 

The Republican race is presumed to be over, yet people keep voting for Mr. Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee’s support among some Republicans is reflective of an ideological split within that party. Many Evangelical Christians see Mr. Huckabee was one of their own.  On the other hand, Mr. McCain has never been a favorite of that substantial wing of the Republican Party.

Republicans are not fully ready to hand the nomination to Mr. McCain.

This fight is analogous in some respects to the nomination fight in 1980 between incumbent President Jimmy Carter and challenger Senator Ted Kennedy ( photo below.) of Massachusetts. 

Senator Kennedy was leading a liberal insurgency against President Carter. While Governor Huckabee’s campaign is not so-much directed at Senator McCain, he has become the final voice of more conservative Republicans.     

Through mid-March of 1980 President Carter had won 7 of 8 primaries, losing only in Mr. Kennedy’s Massachusetts, and had a large delegate lead.   

After President Carter seemed secure in the nomination, Senator Kennedy won primaries in the big states of New York, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey.  Mr. Carter won a number of primaries as well. In fact, just as Senator McCain remains formidable, Carter won 17 of the 27 primaries after mid-March.    

But President Carter could not nail down a significant segment of his party. 

Just as President Carter did, Senator McCain will likely end up with the nomination. Yet even as Democrats fight amongst themselves, Senator McCain  can look back to Jimmy Carter’s troubles in 1980 to get a sense of the fight ahead.       

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment