Log in

In the period that followed the election of Barack Obama in 2008, a very strong conservative movement known as the Tea Party movement developed mainly within the Republican Party. Members of this movement were angry that, while the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit had grown significantly, this had not let to the betterment of the life of average Americans. Tea Party supporters combined elements of libertarian, populist, and conservative activism. Critics of the movement said that it has an unspoken element of racism at its core, a reaction to the election of the first African-American president. Others saw a disconnect between how on the one hand, the Tea Party complained that things needed to get better for the common working man, while at the same time opposing universal health care. According to various polls, over 10 percent of Americans identify as part of the movement.

The movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, an event that contributed to the American Revolution, in which colonists threw British imported tea into the waters of Boston harbor in a protest against taxation by the British government without political representation for the American colonists.

The Tea Party does not have a formal structure or hierarchy, and therefore this allows each autonomous group to set its own priorities and goals. As a consequence, goals among these groups in different regions often conflict, and priorities often differ between groups. Tea Party argue that this is in fact a strength rather than a weakness, because this decentralization makes it impossible for the Tea Party to be corrupted and co-opted by outside entities. Many groups focus on economic issues and on limited government. The Tea Party generally focuses on a significant reduction in the size and scope of the government. However many groups advocate for social issues such as abortion, gun control, prayer in schools, and illegal immigration.

Common topics of protest by Tea Party members include:
1. Limiting the size of the federal government
2. Reducing government spending and lowering the national debt
3. Opposition to tax increases
4. Opposing costly government programs such as Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, cap and trade environmental regulations, health care reform such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
5. Opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants

Many of these goals have their genesis in Newt Gingrich's "Contract from America", a legislative agenda released by the Republican Party during the 1994 midterm elections.

The Tea Party movement is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas without central leadership. Although some within the movement consider it to be a grassroots political phenomenon, the presence of corporate-funded activity within the movement exists. Polls show that most Tea Party members consider themselves to be Republicans and the movement's supporters have tended to endorse Republican candidates, as members of that party are more likely to endorse Tea Party positions. Some commentators charge that the movement is not a new political group but simply a re-branding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. Prominent Republican politicians such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or Ted Cruz have enjoyed the support of these groups and in July 2010, Bachmann formed the Tea Party Congressional Caucus. However, the caucus has been defunct since July 2012. Many Tea Party activists were skeptical of the caucus, seeing it as an effort by the Republican Party to hijack the movement.

In 1984, David H. Koch and his brother Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries founded Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a conservative political group. Its self-described mission was "to fight for less government, lower taxes, and less regulation." Congressman Ron Paul was appointed as the first chairman of the organization. In 2002, a Tea Party website was designed and published by the CSE at web address www.usteaparty.com, but the site did not get much attention. In 2003, Dick Armey became the chairman of CSE after retiring from Congress. In 2004 CSE split into FreedomWorks, an advocacy group, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Dick Armey stayed as chairman of FreedomWorks, while David Koch stayed as Chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The two organizations were the main organizers of the September 2009 Taxpayer March on Washington, also known as the "9/12 Tea Party".

The Tea Party movement gained momentum with Ron Paul's 2008 presidential primary campaign. Paul said that its origin was on December 16, 2007, when supporters held a 24-hour record breaking, "moneybomb" fundraising event on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Paul has been called the "intellectual godfather" of the movement because many in the Tea Party agree with Dr. Paul's long-held beliefs.

The Koch brothers were essential in funding and strengthening the movement, through groups such as Americans for Prosperity. Their involvement has caused the movement's critics, such as former Vice-President Al Gore, to argue that the Tea Party is manipulated by the Kochs and others "to promote corporate profit at the expense of the public good."

Early protests organized by local groups targeted the Bush administration's Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the Obama administration's economic stimulus package the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and healthcare reform legislation. The bailouts of banks by the Bush and Obama administrations led to increased support for the Tea Party.

On February 18, 2009, when the Obama administration announced the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, an economic recovery plan to help home owners avoid foreclosure by refinance mortgages, CNBC business news editor Rick Santelli criticized the Plan in a live broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He said that those plans were "promoting bad behavior" by "subsidizing losers' mortgages". He suggested holding a tea party for traders to gather and dump the derivatives in the Chicago River on July 1. “President Obama, are you listening?” he asked. Santelli's "rant" became a viral video. Many credit Santelli's remarks with giving the movement its momentum. A "Nationwide Chicago Tea Party" protest was coordinated across more than 40 different cities for February 27, 2009, leading to the first national modern Tea Party protest. Fox News promoted these events on air and sent speakers to them. These included then-host Glenn Beck.

In the 2010 midterm elections, The New York Times identified 138 candidates for Congress with significant Tea Party support. All of them were running as Republicans, with 129 running for the House and 9 for the Senate. A poll commissioned by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News in mid October showed 35% of likely voters were Tea-party supporters, and they favored the Republicans by 84% to 10%. Overall, 32% of the candidates that were backed by the Tea Party or who identified themselves as a Tea Party member won election. Tea Party supported candidates won 5 of 10 Senate races contested, and 40 of 130 House races contested.

Tea Party candidates were less successful in the 2012 election, winning four of 16 Senate races contested, and losing approximately 20% of the seats in the House that had been gained in 2010. Tea Party Caucus founder Michele Bachmann was re-elected to the House by a narrow margin. In June 2014, Tea Party favorite Dave Brat unseated the sitting GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Brat had previously been known as an economist and a professor at Randolph–Macon College, running a grassroots conservative campaign that called for greater fiscal restraint.

In November 2014, Tim Scott became the first African-American member of the U.S. Senate from the South since the reconstruction era, winning the South Carolina seat formerly held by Jim DeMint in a special election. Scott's election is cited in support of the argument that the Tea Party is neither racist nor sexist. In the 2014 elections in Texas, the Tea Party made large gains, with numerous Tea Party favorites being elected into office, including Dan Patrick as Lieutenant Governor. In the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial election, Matt Bevin, a Tea Party favorite who challenged Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary in the 2014 Kentucky Senate election, won with over 52% of the vote, despite fears that he was too extreme for the state. Bevin is just the second Republican in 44 years to be Governor of Kentucky.

In May 2013, the Associated Press and The New York Times reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) flagged Tea Party groups and other conservative groups for review of their applications for tax-exempt status during the 2012 election. This led to triggered multiple investigations. Some Tea Party groups were asked for donor lists, a violation of IRS policy. Groups were also asked for details about family members and about their postings on social networking sites. Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, later apologized on behalf of the IRS. She stated, "That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate." Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, rejected the apology as insufficient, and called for “ironclad guarantees from the I.R.S. that it will adopt significant protocols to ensure this kind of harassment of groups that have a constitutional right to express their own views never happens again.” The resulting Senate subcommittee report ultimately found there had been “no bias”, though Republican committee members filed a dissenting report. After a two-year investigation, the Justice Department announced in October 2015 that "We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution."

President Donald Trump praised the Tea Party movement throughout his 2016 campaign. In a campaign event held in August 2015, he told a Tea Party gathering in Nashville, "The tea party people are incredible people. These are people who work hard and love the country and they get beat up all the time by the media." In a January 2016 CNN poll at the beginning of the 2016 Republican primary, Trump led all Republican candidates modestly among self-identified Tea Party voters with 37 percent supporting Trump and 34 percent supporting Ted Cruz. National Tea Party movement co-founder and leader Michael Johns endorsed Trump immediately after Trump's June 2015 announcement of his candidacy. Tea Party Patriots, a national Tea Party organization, endorsed Cruz in the presidential primary.

Tea Party activities have declined since 2010. The number of Tea Party chapters across the country slipped from about 1,000 to 600 between 2009 and 2012. Most Tea Party organizations have shifted away from national demonstrations to local issues. The Tea Party's involvement in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries was minimal, owing to divisions over whom to endorse as well as lack of enthusiasm for all the candidates. However, the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate, increased Romney's support among the group.

Though the Tea Party has had a large influence on the Republican Party, it also has its critics within the party. Speaker of the House John Boehner condemned many Tea Party politicians for their behavior during the 2013 U.S. debt ceiling crisis. He said, "I think they're misleading their followers. They're pushing our members in places where they don't want to be, and frankly I just think that they've lost all credibility." In a 2013 survey, 20% of self-identified Republicans stated that they considered themselves as part of the Tea Party movement.

Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. These tend to show that Tea Party supporters are more likely to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education. Three main groups provide guidance and organization for Tea Party protests: FreedomWorks, dontGO, and Americans for Prosperity.

On April 29, 2009, President Obama commented on the Tea Party protests during a townhall meeting in Arnold, Missouri. He said "Let's not play games and pretend that the reason is because of the recovery act, because that's just a fraction of the overall problem that we've got." Then on April 15, 2010, Obama he noted that there had been 25 different tax cuts over the past year, including tax cuts for 95% of working Americans and he said, "So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you. That's what you'd think." On September 20, 2010, at a townhall discussion sponsored by CNBC, Obama said healthy skepticism about government and spending was good, but he challenged the Tea Party movement to get specific about how they would cut government debt and spending: "And so the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It's not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits, or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I'm willing to see these taxes go up. What you can't do—which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side—is say we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts, and that magically somehow things are going to work."

The final round of debate before voting on the health care bill was marked with threats of violence to a number of Democratic lawmakers across the country. On March 22, 2010, a Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party organizer and the Danville, Virginia Tea Party Chairman both posted the home address of Representative Tom Perriello's brother, mistakenly believing it was the Congressman's address, on their websites, and encouraged readers to "drop by" to express their anger against Representative Perriello's vote in favor of the healthcare bill. The following day, after smelling gas in his house, a severed gas line that connected to a propane tank was discovered on Perriello's brother's screened-in porch. Local police and FBI investigators determined that it was intentionally cut as an act of vandalism. A Tea Party website issued a response saying the Tea Party member's action of posting the address "was not requested, sanctioned or endorsed by the Lynchburg Tea Party".

The future of the Tea Party movement is unclear now, given that the candidate they supported in the last election has now been elected president. History has shown that it is easier to oppose than it is to govern. It remains to be seen whether this movement will find satisfaction in the current government, whether it will turn on the present administration or whether its electoral success will be the beginning of its demise.

Presidents and Populism: Ron Paul

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was another populist presidential candidate who launched multiple vigorous attacks on a number of major government institutions, most notably the Federal Reserve System (often abbreviated to be called "the Fed"). The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. It was created by the Congress to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. It was created on December 23, 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. It is something that Ron Paul would like to end. He has even authored a book entitled End the Fed.

Dr. Ronald Ernest was born on August 20, 1935 in Pittsburgh. He is an M.D. who graduated from Duke University's medical college in 1961. He completed his medical internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968. Paul and his wife then relocated to Texas, where he began a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Paul was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served three stints as the Representative for Texas' 14th and 22nd congressional districts. He represented the 22nd congressional district from 1976 to 1977 and from 1979 to 1985, and then represented the 14th congressional district, which included Galveston, from 1997 to 2013. On three occasions, he ran for Presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries of 2008 and 2012. Paul is a critic of the federal government's fiscal policies, especially the existence of the Federal Reserve and the tax policy. Other issues that are of importance to him are the power of the military–industrial complex, and the War on Drugs. He has been a vocal critic of mass surveillance policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the NSA surveillance programs. Dr. Paul has written many books on Austrian economics and classical liberal philosophy, beginning with The Case for Gold (1982) and including A Foreign Policy of Freedom (2007), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), End the Fed (2009) and Liberty Defined (2011).

After serving four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul ran for the 1984 Republican Party Senatorial nomination in Texas, but was defeated in the primary and returned to his practice of obstetrics and gynecology. In January 1987, he officially left the Republican Party to run for the Libertarian Party nomination, stating that he had become disillusioned with the spending policies of the Reagan administration. At the time, Paul said: "Ronald Reagan has given us a deficit ten times greater than what we had with the Democrats. It didn't take more than a month after 1981, to realize there would be no changes."

The Libertarian Party had courted Paul for the previous six years. On February 16, 1987, Paul announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination at a party luncheon in San Francisco, California. During his announcement speech, Paul said that "Big government is running away with our freedom and our money, and the Republicans are just as much to blame as the Democrats." Paul campaigned for the nomination for the most part of 1987, traveling to numerous state conventions. His running mate was Andre Marrou, a former Libertarian member of the Alaska House of Representatives. Paul was nominated on the first ballot with 196 of the 368 votes cast. During the election campaign he traveled to Universities, held press conferences and filmed an eight-minute television advertisement. His goal was to gain enough support to win a place in the League of Women Voters-sponsored presidential debates.

Speaking in Helena, Montana, Paul called for the Reagan administration to balance the budget and cut spending and taxes. He argued that Reagan had reneged on his 1980 campaign promise to balance the budget. His platform included a call for the decriminalization of hard drugs. He was endorsed by comedian and talk-show host David Letterman, as well as psychologist and counterculture icon Timothy Leary, who held a fundraiser for Paul.

Paul's tax policy called for a flat income tax rate of 10% on all earnings over $10,000 annually. Paul promised that as president he would veto spending increases for both domestic programs and the military. He asked, "what's extreme about a balanced budget?" Paul conceded that he would not win the election but explained that votes for his ticket would give a bigger voice to Libertarian issues in American politics.

By October 1988, the campaign had secured ballot access in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Paul received editorial support from a number of newspapers across the nation, though not endorsements. Paul finished in third place on Election Day. He received 431,750 votes, which made up 0.47% of the overall vote. The largest percentage won by Paul came in Alaska, where he received 2.74%.

Paul was re-elected to Congress in 1996, where he served until 2012. In 2008 he made another run for President, this time seeking the Republican Party's nomination. He officially entered the race on March 12, 2007. Initial opinion polls during the first three quarters of 2007 showed Paul consistently receiving support from 3% or less of those polled. In 2008, Paul's support among Republican voters remained in the single digits, and well behind front-runner John McCain.

During the fourth quarter of 2007, Paul was the most successful Republican fundraiser, bringing in approximately $20 million. He also received the most money from the armed services of any candidate in the fourth quarter. His campaign set two fund-raising records: the largest single-day donation total among Republican candidates and twice receiving the most money received via the Internet in a single day by any presidential candidate. This campaign received considerable support from grassroots social networking on the Internet. Paul's supporters dubbed "Paulites" by the media. Paul received most of his contributions from individuals, at 97%, the highest percentage of any candidate.

By February 5, 2008, Paul had won sixteen delegates to the Republican National Convention, placing him last among the four Republican candidates still in the race at that time. The campaign projected on February 6 to have secured at least 42 delegates to the national convention. On March 4, 2008, John McCain earned enough pledged delegates to become the Republican presumptive nominee, but Paul decided to continue his run. Paul released The Revolution: A Manifesto on April 29, which collected essays based on thoughts that arose from his experiences running for president in 2008. The book went on to be a number 1 bestseller among political books on Amazon.com and the New York Times nonfiction list.

On June 12, 2008, Paul announced that he was ending the presidential campaign. He did not endorse McCain in the general election. At a September 10, 2008, press conference, Paul announced his general support of four third-party candidates: Cynthia McKinney (Green Party); Bob Barr (Libertarian Party); Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party); and Ralph Nader (independent). He said that each of them had agreed to a policy of balancing budgets, bringing the troops home, defending privacy and personal liberties, and investigating the Federal Reserve. Paul also said that under no circumstances would he be endorsing either of the two main parties' candidates because there were no real differences between them, and because neither of them, if elected, would seek to make the fundamental changes in governance that were necessary. He said that, rather than contribute to the “charade” that the two-party election system had become, he wanted voters to support third-party candidates as a protest vote. Two weeks later, Paul released a statement saying that he had decided to endorse Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate, for president.

Paul's name appeared on the ballot in the general election in two states (Montana and Louisiana) and he received write-in votes in other states. He received 42,426 votes, or 0.03% of the total cast, in the general election.

Paul decided to seek the GOP nomination once again in 2012. He participated in the first Republican presidential debate on May 5, 2011 and on May 13, 2011, Paul formally announced his candidacy in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. He placed second in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, missing first by 0.9%.

In December 2011, with Paul's increased support, a controversy arose over alleged racist and homophobic statements that appeared in several of Ron Paul newsletters in the 1980s and early 1990s. Paul denied personal authorship of these statements, but said that he accepted responsibility for the fact that they had gone out under his name without being edited carefully enough.

Paul finished third in the Iowa Republican Caucus held on January 3, 2012, receiving 26,036 (21%) of the certified votes. In the New Hampshire Primary held on January 10, 2012, Paul received 23% of the votes and came in second after Romney's 39%. But his support declined after that, despite the withdrawal of candidates Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry. He had fourth-place finishes in the next two primaries, on January 21 in South Carolina (with 13% of the vote) and on January 31 in Florida (where he received 7% of the vote). On February 4, Paul finished third in Nevada with 18.8% of the vote. Three non-binding primaries were held on February 7; Paul took 3rd place in Colorado and Missouri with 13% and 12% of the vote respectively. He fared better in Minnesota with 27%, finishing second.

On May 14, Paul's campaign announced that the candidate was suspending campaigning due to lack of funds. He declined to speak at the Republican National Convention, saying that the convention planners had demanded that his remarks be vetted by the Romney campaign and that they wanted him to make an unqualified endorsement of Romney. He said "It wouldn’t be my speech. That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president." Many of Paul's supporters and delegates walked out of the convention in protest over rules adopted by the convention.

As in 2008, in 2012 Paul ultimately refused to endorse the ticket selected by the Republican Party. He said that there was no essential difference between Romney and President Obama on the most critical policies. Paul received 26,204 write-in votes, or 0.02% of the total cast in the election.

On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would forgo seeking another term in Congress in order to focus on his presidential bid.In January 2013, Paul retired from Congress but he still remains active, giving speeches promoting his libertarian vision. Paul received one electoral vote from a Texas faithless elector in the 2016 presidential election, making him the oldest person to receive an electoral vote, as well as the second registered Libertarian Presidential candidate in history to receive an Electoral College vote.

Presidents and Populism: Ralph Nader

As has been seen from this series thus far, populists can be found on both ends of the political spectrum. An example of a more liberal or progressive populist is consumer advocate Ralph Nader. He is a lawyer, a political activist, an author and lecturer, best known for his strong advocacy in the areas of consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform. Born in 1934, Nader is the son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States. He attended university at Princeton and Harvard and first became famous in 1965 when his bestselling book "Unsafe at Any Speed" was published. The book highlighted the poor safety record of the American automobile industry. This led to the formation of an organization of volunteer law students known as "Nader's Raiders". His consumer passionate advocacy has been credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Nader has run for President of the United States as an independent and third party candidate. His central campaign theme has been the need for electoral reform.

Ralph Nader graduating from Harvard Law School before serving in the U.S. Army as a cook at Fort Dix. In 1959 he was admitted to the bar and began practicing as a lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1964, he moved to Washington, D.C., taking a position as a consultant to Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1965 Unsafe at Any Speed was published. Nader had researched case files from more than 100 lawsuits then pending against General Motors' Chevrolet Corvair to support many of the claims in his book. This was met with a vicious reaction from General Motors. In their efforts to discredit Nader, the company went so far as to wiretap his phone and to hire prostitutes in an attempt to catch him in a compromising situation. But these efforts failed. Nader worked as an unpaid consultant to United States Senator Abe Ribicoff, and when he reported his suspicions about GM's activities, Ribicoff convened an inquiry that called GM CEO James Roche. At the hearing, Roche admitted, when placed under oath, that the company had hired a private detective agency to investigate Nader. Nader sued GM for invasion of privacy, settling the case for $425,000. He used the proceeds to found the activist organization the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. In 1966 Congress unanimously enacted the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John McCormack said that the passage of the bill was due to the “crusading spirit of one individual who believed he could do something: Ralph Nader".

In 1968 "Nader's Raiders" (a name given by someone in the Washington press corps) were created with the mandate of evaluating the efficacy and operation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The group published a report which was critical of the FTC as a do-nothing regulatory body. This led to an American Bar Association investigation of the FTC. Based on the results of that second study, President Richard Nixon ordered changes to the agency to make it more effective.

In 1971, Nader founded the watchdog group Public Citizen, a consumer rights lobby. He served on its board of directors until 1980. It was in the early 70s that Nader's name began to be considered as a potential candidate for president for the first time. In 1971, he was asked to run as the presidential candidate for the New Party, a progressive split-off from the Democratic Party, but he declined the offer. Instead he turned his attention to environmental activism. One of his primary causes was opposition to nuclear energy. In 1974 he formed a group called The Critical Mass Energy Project, a national anti-nuclear group that had with several hundred local affiliates and approximately 200,000 supporters. The organization lobbied politicians and provided local groups with scientific research and other resources to campaign against nuclear power.

Nader continued his consumer advocacy, but it wasn't until 1992 when he turned his efforts to his own political candidacy. Nader supporters were asked to write-in "none of the above" in both the 1992 New Hampshire Democratic and Republican Primaries. Such ballots were cast in 3,054 of the 170,333 Democratic votes and 3,258 of the 177,970 Republican votes cast. He was a candidate in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic Primary, where he appeared at the top of the ballot (in some areas, he appeared on the ballot as an independent).

Having tested the waters in 1992, Nader was drafted as a candidate for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket during the 1996 presidential election. He was not formally nominated by the national Green Party USA, but he was nominated independently by various state Green parties and in some states, he appeared on the ballot as an independent. Many in the Green Party USA worked actively to campaign for Nader that year. Nader qualified for ballot status in 22 states. In the general election he received 685,297 votes or 0.71% of the popular vote (fourth place overall). During the campaign, Nader refused to raise or spend more than $5,000 on his campaign, in order to avoid meeting the threshold for Federal Elections Commission reporting requirements. An unofficial Draft Nader committee spent more than that, but the committee was legally prevented from coordinating in any way with Nader himself. During the campaign Nader was criticized by some gay rights supporters because he calling gay rights "gonad politics" and stating that he was not interested in dealing with such matters.

Nader has said that he was unable to make any headway for electoral reform in Washington, even with the Clinton Administration. As a result, he decided to actively run as a candidate in the 2000 election for the Green Party, which had been formed in the aftermath of his 1996 campaign. In June 2000, The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) organized a national nominating convention that was held in Denver, Colorado. At that convention, Green party delegates nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke to be their party's candidates for president and vice president. He was also nominated in Vermont as the candidate for the Vermont Progressive Party, and in South Carolina as the candidate for the United Citizens Party of South Carolina.

On Friday, October 13, 2000, Nader held the largest Super Rally of his campaign at New York City's Madison Square Garden. A crowd of 15,000 people paid $20 each to hear Nader speak. In the speech he rejected both parties as institutions dominated by corporate interests, and referred to Al Gore and George W. Bush as "Tweedledee and Tweedledum". A number of celebrities spoke and performed at the event including Susan Sarandon, Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Tim Robbins, Michael Moore, Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith. The campaign also had the support of the California Nurses Association and the United Electrical Workers. On election day Nader received 2,883,105 votes, or 2.74% of the popular vote, finishing in third place overall, but short of the 5% needed to qualify the Green Party for federally distributed public funding in the next election.

Prior to the election, Nader had said that, as between Bush and Gore, he hoped that Bush would win, only because he thought it would help to mobilize support for his cause. He said that if forced to vote for one of the two candidates, he would vote for Bush because Bush would cause "the parties to diverge from one another". He said he would feel regret if he caused Gore's defeat, stating "I would rather have a provocateur than an anesthetizer in the White House." After the election, Nader disagreed with those who said hat he had caused Al Gore to lose the important electoral state of Florida. Nader received almost 97,421 votes in Florida, and many people argued that a majority of those voters would have voted for Gore over Bush, enough to give the state to Gore. In his book "Crashing the Party", Nader acknowledged that "In the year 2000, exit polls reported that 25% of my voters would have voted for Bush, 38% would have voted for Gore and the rest would not have voted at all." But he blames the controversial Supreme Court ruling that halted a Florida recount, Gore's loss in his home state of Tennessee, and the "quarter million Democrats who voted for Bush in Florida" as being the reasons for Gore's defeat. Whether or not Nader's candidacy was the difference between a Bush victory and a Gore victory remains a subject of debate.

During the campaign Nader attacked Gore for "his role as broker of environmental voters for corporate cash," and called Gore "the prototype for the bankable, Green corporate politician." He listed what he saw as a string of broken promises made by Gore to the environmental movement.

Nader announced on December 24, 2003, that he would not seek the Green Party's nomination for president in 2004, but did not rule out running as an independent candidate. Nader and Democratic candidate John Kerry held a widely publicized meeting early in the 2004 presidential campaign, following which Nader announced that Kerry wanted to work to win Nader's support and the support of Nader's voters. Nader gave Kerry a list of over 20 pages of issues that he felt were important and he asked Kerry to choose any three of the issues and highlight them in his campaign. On February 22, 2004, Nader said that he not heard back from Kerry, and announced that he would run for president as an independent. Many Democrats urged Nader to abandon his 2004 candidacy. Theresa Amato, who served as Nader's national campaign manager in 2000 and 2004, later alleged that Nader had been offered a pay-off if he would not campaign in certain states, an allegation confirmed by Nader. In the election Nader received 463,655 votes, or 0.38% of the popular vote, placing him in third place once again.

In February 2007, Nader called Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as "a panderer and a flatterer". During a February 2008 appearance on Meet the Press, Nader announced his intention to run for president as an independent, later naming Matt Gonzalez as his running-mate. He received a number of prominent endorsements, including from Howard Zinn, Jesse Ventura, and actor Val Kilmer. Nader's campaign raised $8.4 million in campaign funds. The ticket received 738,475 votes and a third-place finish in the 2008 presidential election.

After the 2008 election, Nader turned to fiction as a means of getting his message across. In 2009 he published his first work of fiction, called "Only the Super Rich Can Save Us". Many of the characters in the book were fictionalized versions of real-life persons including Ted Turner and Warren Buffett. The book's villain is a conservative evil genius named Brovar Dortwist, intended to represent Grover Norquist. The novel met with mixed reviews.

During the presidential election of 2012, Nader moderated a debate for third party candidates in Washington D.C. The debate was attended by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode.

Since March 2014, Nader has co-hosted the weekly Ralph Nader Radio Hour, produced at the KPFK studios in the Los Angeles area and distributed via the Pacifica Radio Network. In 2015, after a decade planning, Nader founded the American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut. He donated $150,000 to the establishment of the museum, which was sited on two parcels of land rezoned by the town of Winsted to host it. Nader said that he was "astounded how a country can go over 200 years and not have a law museum". In 2016 he unsuccessfully sought a seat on the Harvard University Board of Overseers in 2016 as part of a group operating under the name "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard" which called for increased transparency by the university as to how it made athletic and legacy admissions decisions. In February of that year he expressed support for Donald Trump making a third-party run for president, saying that such a move might help break-up the two party system. He did not support either major party candidate in the 2016 election, and told the Washington Post, "I don’t think you can influence any Trump transition unless you are a Martian or can provide him with casinos."

When asked by the Post "What’s your prediction for the future of the country if Trump wins the White House?", Nader gave this response:

"The fastest impeachment and conviction in congressional history, because he’s totally lacking in self-control. He’s up at night going after a beauty queen on Twitter. What’s he going to do if a dictatorial regime provokes him? He cannot control his impulses. In his public persona, he is a seriously unstable person who is vigorously ignorant. He’s proud of it. He’s ignorant of the facts, ignorant of what it takes to be in that office. He lives in an unreality of fabrications, wild exaggerations, false statements and prevarications. They’re the four horsemen of Donald Trump."

Presidents and Populism: Pat Buchanan

Patrick Joseph Buchanan is a conservative media personality who was once a speechwriter for Richard Nixon and White House Director of Communications for Ronald Reagan. He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996 and ran on the Reform Party ticket in the 2000 presidential election. He is a co-founder of The American Conservative magazine and founded an organization named The American Cause.

Buchanan was born in Washington, D.C. on November 2, 1938. His great-grandfather fought in the Civil War for the Confederate army, and Buchanan is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He was born into a Catholic family and attended the Jesuit-run Gonzaga College High School. He received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1962. Buchanan joined the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper when he was 23. He was promoted to assistant editorial page editor in 1964 and supported Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign. He served as an executive assistant in the Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander, and Mitchell law offices in New York City in 1965.

In 1966 he was the first adviser hired by Richard Nixon's presidential campaign and he worked primarily doing opposition research. He traveled with Nixon throughout the campaigns of 1966 and 1968. When Nixon became President in 1969, Buchanan worked as a White House adviser and speechwriter for Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. He was the one who coined the phrase "Silent Majority". From those early days he saw the value of populism and in a 1972 memo, he suggested that the White House "should move to re-capture the anti-Establishment tradition or theme in American politics." Buchanan accompanied Nixon on his trip to China in 1972 and the summit in Moscow, Yalta and Minsk in 1974. He suggested that Nixon label Democratic opponent George McGovern an extremist and also recommended that Nixon burn the White House tapes.

Buchanan remained as a special assistant to Nixon through the final days of the Watergate scandal. He was not accused of wrongdoing, but he was mistakenly suspected of being Bob Woodward's famous source "Deep Throat". When Nixon resigned in 1974, Buchanan briefly stayed on as special assistant under incoming President Gerald Ford. Chief of Staff Alexander Haig had approved Buchanan's appointment as ambassador to South Africa, but Ford refused it.

After his resignation, Richard Nixon maintained contact with Buchanan as a confidant. Nixon called Buchanan a "decent, patriotic American", though he disagreed with Buchanan's isolationist view of foreign policy

Buchanan returned to his old work as a newspaper columnist and branched out into radio and television. He delivered daily commentaries on NBC radio from 1978 to 1984 and became a regular panelist on PBS shows The McLaughlin Group and The Capital Gang, and also on CNN's Crossfire. His columns were syndicated nationally by Creators Syndicate. Buchanan served as White House Communications Director from February 1985 to March 1987. While he was working for Reagan, his sister, Bay Buchanan, started a "Pat Buchanan for President" movement in June 1986. Her brother was lukewarm to the idea at first. He decided to sit out the 1988 race.

Buchanan was the subject of controversy in 1990 for alleged anti-Semitism for a column he wrote for the New York Post. In the column, he wrote that it was impossible for 850,000 Jews to be killed by diesel exhaust fed into the gas chamber at Treblinka, stating that "Treblinka was not a death camp but a transit camp used as a pass-through point for prisoners". In fact, some 900,000 Jews had died at Treblinka. Buchanan was challenged by other conservatives such as George Will and William F. Buckley, Jr. The Anti-Defamation League has called Buchanan an "unrepentant bigot", a charge Buchanan denied. Buchanan supported President Reagan's plan to visit a German military cemetery at Bitburg in 1985.

In 1990, Buchanan published a newsletter called "Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right". The newsletter sent subscribers a bumper sticker reading: "Read Our Lips! No new taxes", the opening salvo for Buchanan's 1992 challenge of President George H.W. Bush. He ran on a platform that called for immigration reduction, and opposition to multiculturalism, abortion, and gay rights. Buchanan challenged Bush and hurt the incumbent president's political prospects when Buchanan won 38 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. In the primary elections, Buchanan garnered three million total votes or 23% of the vote, though Bush won every primary. Buchanan later threw his support behind Bush and delivered an address at the 1992 Republican National Convention, dubbed the culture war speech, in which he told his audience that there was "a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America." He attacked Bill and Hillary Clinton, stating:

"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America—abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units—that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America needs. It is not the kind of change America wants. And it is not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call God's country."

Buchanan received enthusiastic applause, but there was concern that the speech alienated moderates from the Bush-Quayle ticket.

After the election, Buchanan returned to his column and to Crossfire. He founded The American Cause, a conservative educational foundation, in 1993. He also returned to radio as host of Buchanan and Company, a three-hour talk show for Mutual Broadcasting System on July 5, 1993, in a time slot opposite Rush Limbaugh's show.

Buchanan left the program on March 20, 1995 to launch his campaign for President in 1996. With Democratic President Bill Clinton seeking re-election, there was no incumbent Republican with a lock on the ticket and former President George H. W. Bush announced that he would not seek the nomination. The front-runner was Senate Majority leader Bob Dole of Kansas. Buchanan sought the nomination, campaigning on a platform of opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In February, the Center for Public Integrity, a liberal think tank, issued a report claiming Buchanan's presidential campaign co-chairman, Larry Pratt, appeared at two meetings organized by a white supremacist group. Pratt denied any ties to racist groups and said that the report was an orchestrated smear before the New Hampshire primary. Buchanan told the Manchester Union Leader he believed Pratt, though Pratt took a leave of absence from Buchanan's team "so as not to have distraction in the campaign."

Buchanan defeated Dole by about 3,000 votes to win the February New Hampshire primary, giving his campaign an energetic start. He was endorsed by conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly. He won three other states (Alaska, Missouri, and Louisiana), and finished slightly behind Dole in the Iowa caucus. He used inflammatory rhetoric to mobilize grass-roots right wing supporters against what he called the bland Washington establishment that controlled the GOP. At one rally, he said:

"We shocked them in Alaska. Stunned them in Louisiana. Stunned them in Iowa. They are in a terminal panic. They hear the shouts of the peasants from over the hill. All the knights and barons will be riding into the castle pulling up the drawbridge in a minute. All the peasants are coming with pitchforks. We're going to take this over the top."

In the Super Tuesday primaries, Dole defeated Buchanan by large margins. Having collected only 21 percent of the total votes or 3.1 million in Republican primaries, Buchanan suspended his campaign in March. He announced that if Dole chose a pro-choice running mate, he would run as the US Taxpayers Party candidate. Dole chose Jack Kemp and he received Buchanan's endorsement. After the 1996 campaign, Buchanan once again returned to his column and Crossfire. He also authored a series of books.

Buchanan announced that he was leaving the Republican Party in October 1999. He sought the nomination of the Reform Party. Party founder Ross Perot did not endorse Buchanan for the nomination. (In late October, 2000, Perot publicly endorsed George W. Bush). A split in the Reform Party led to dual conventions being held simultaneously in separate areas of the Long Beach Convention Center complex. One convention nominated Buchanan while the other backed Iowa physicist John Hagelin, with each claiming to be the legitimate Reform Party. The Federal Elections Commission ruled Buchanan was to receive ballot status as the Reform candidate, as well as about $12.6 million in federal campaign funds secured by Perot's showing in the 1996 election. In his acceptance speech, Buchanan called for US withdrawal from the United Nations and expelling the UN from New York, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, taxes on inheritance and capital gains, and affirmative action programs.

In the election Buchanan had support from a variety of groups. Socialist Party politician Brian Moore said that he supported Buchanan because "he was for fair trade over free trade. The New York Right to Life Party chose Buchanan as their nominee for president. He courted support from southern right wingers, telling an audience at Bob Jones University:

"God and the Ten Commandments have all been expelled from the public schools. Christmas carols are out. Christmas holidays are out. The latest decision of the United States Supreme Court said that children in stadiums or young people in high school games are not to speak an inspirational moment for fear they may mention God's name, and offend an atheist in the grandstand.
We may not succeed, but I believe we need a new fighting conservative traditionalist party in America. I believe, and I hope that one day we can take America back. That is why we are building this Gideon's army and heading for Armageddon, to do battle for the Lord."

In the 2000 presidential election, Buchanan finished fourth with 449,895 votes, 0.4% of the popular vote. In Palm Beach County, Florida, Buchanan received 3,407 votes. During the battle over Florida's electoral votes, those who alleged voter irregularity saw Buchanan's total as being inconsistent with Palm Beach County's liberal leanings due to its large Jewish population and his showing in the rest of the state. The county used the "butterfly ballot", and it was suspected that Buchanan gained thousands of votes from those misled into thinking they were voting for Al Gore. But in an interview on The Today Show, Buchanan said "When I took one look at that ballot on Election Night, it's very easy for me to see how someone could have voted for me in the belief they voted for Al Gore." In another interview with the Daily Caller, he said "What cost Al Gore Florida in 2000, and the presidency, was the 'butterfly ballot'".

Following the 2000 election, Reform Party members urged Buchanan to take an active role within the party, but Buchanan declined. He attended their 2001 convention, but in subsequent years, he identified himself as an independent. As the 2004 election approached, Buchanan identified himself as a Republican. He said that he had no interest in ever running for president again, and endorsed George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election bid. He said in a back-handed complement, "Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing." Buchanan also endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. He said "Obama offers more of the stalemate America has gone through for the past two years; Romney alone offers a possibility of hope and change." He supported Donald Trump's nomination during the Republican primaries and in the 2016 presidential election.

In September 2009, Buchanan was involved in controversy once again when MSNBC removed a Buchanan column from its website in which Buchanan used the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland to make the case that Britain should not have declared war on Germany. This was met with charges of antisemitism from a number of groups including the National Jewish Democratic Council. In January 2012, Buchanan was indefinitely suspended from MSNBC over alleged racist slurs. MSNBC ended its relationship with Buchanan on February 16, 2012.
H. (for Henry) Ross Perot is a Texas billionaire who ran for President twice in the 1990s, the second time under the banner of the Reform Party. Both elections were won by Bill Clinton. He is one of the most memorable third party candidates in history.


Perot was born on June 27, 1930 in Texarkana, Texas. His father was a cotton broker. At the age of 19 he entered the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1953. In 1954, Perot was made a lieutenant, junior grade, but in the following year Perot became discontent with his life in the Navy. He finished four-year commitment and resigned his commission. The next year he married Margot Birmingham of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

After he left the Navy in 1957, Perot became a salesman for International Business Machines (IBM). He quickly became a top seller. In one year he fulfilled his annual sales quota in two weeks. He left IBM in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas, selling data processing systems to large corporations. EDS received lucrative contracts from the U.S. government in the 1960s, computerizing Medicare records. EDS went public in 1968 and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 within days. Fortune magazine called Perot the "fastest, richest Texan" in a 1968 cover story. In 1984 General Motors bought controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion.

Just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their rescue. The rescue team was led by retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to free their two prisoners, they decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all 10,000 inmates. The two prisoners then connected with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into Turkey. The exploit was recounted in a book, On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett, which became a best-seller. In the 1986 miniseries, Perot was portrayed by Richard Crenna.

Perot became heavily involved in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. He believed that hundreds of American servicemen were left behind in Southeast Asia at the end of the U.S. involvement in the war, and that government officials were covering up POW/MIA investigations in order to avoid revealing a drug smuggling operation used to finance a secret war in Laos. Perot engaged in unauthorized back-channel discussions with Vietnamese officials in the late 1980s, which led to fractured relations between Perot and the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Perot also launched private investigations of, and attacks upon, U.S. Department of Defense official Richard Armitage.

Perot did not support President George H. W. Bush and vigorously opposed the United States involvement in the 1990–1991 Persian Gulf War. He unsuccessfully urged Senators to vote against the war resolution, and began to consider his own presidential run. On February 20, 1992, he appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and announced his intention to run as an independent if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all fifty states. He declared policies of balancing the federal budget, a pro-choice stance on abortion, expansion of the war on drugs, ending outsourcing of jobs, belief in protectionism on trade, advocating the Environmental Protection Agency and enacting electronic direct democracy via "electronic town halls".

Perot's candidacy received increasing media attention. On May 25, 1992 he was featured on the cover of Time with the title "Waiting for Perot." Perot supporters began petition drives to get him on the ballot in all fifty states. Perot hired two savvy campaign managers in Democrat Hamilton Jordan and Republican Ed Rollins. His supporters established a campaign organization called United We Stand America.

By the summer Perot commanded a lead in the presidential race with thirty-nine percent of the vote. By mid-July, the Washington Post reported that Perot's campaign managers were becoming increasingly disillusioned by his unwillingness to follow their advice and that he was micromanaging campaign operations with such tactics as forcing volunteers to sign loyalty oaths. Perot's poll numbers began to slip to 25%, and his advisers warned that if he continued to ignore them, he would fall into single digits. Co-manager Hamilton Jordan threatened to quit, and on July 15, Ed Rollins resigned after Perot fired advertisement specialist Hal Riney. Rollins later said that a member of the campaign accused him of being a Bush plant with ties to the CIA. Amid the chaos, Perot's support fell to 20%. The next day, Perot announced on Larry King Live that he would not seek the presidency. Perot later stated the reason was that he received threats that digitally altered photographs would be released by the Bush campaign to sabotage his daughter's wedding. His withdrawal damaged his reputation and many of his supporters felt betrayed.

In September he qualified for all fifty state ballots. On October 1, he announced his intention to reenter the presidential race. He campaigned in 16 states and spent an estimated $12.3 million of his own money. Perot employed the innovative strategy of purchasing half-hour blocks of time on major networks for infomercial-type campaign advertisements. This advertising garnered significant viewership with one Friday night program in October attracting 10.5 million viewers. Perot's running mate was retired Vice Admiral James Stockdale, a highly-decorated former Vietnam prisoner of war (POW).

At one point in June, Perot led the polls with 39% (versus 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton). Just prior to the debates, Perot received 7–9% support in nationwide polls. Perot did well in the debates. Although his answers during the debates were often general, many Democrats and Republicans conceded that Perot won the first debate. On the subject of the Constitution, Perot said: "Keep in mind our Constitution predates the Industrial Revolution. Our founders did not know about electricity, the train, telephones, radio, television, automobiles, airplanes, rockets, nuclear weapons, satellites, or space exploration. There's a lot they didn't know about. It would be interesting to see what kind of document they'd draft today. Just keeping it frozen in time won't hack it."


In the 1992 election, Perot received 18.9% of the popular vote, approximately 19,741,065 votes (but no electoral college votes), making him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. Perot's support drew heavily from across the political spectrum, with 20% of his votes coming from self-described liberals, 27% from self-described conservatives, and 53% coming from self-described moderates. Economically, however, the majority of Perot voters (57%) were middle class, earning between $15,000 and $49,000 annually. Exit polls also showed that Perot drew 38% of his vote from Bush, and 38% of his vote from Clinton, while the rest of his voters would have stayed home had he not been on the ballot.

Based on his performance in the popular vote in 1992, Perot was entitled to receive federal election funding for 1996. Perot remained in the public eye after the election and championed opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), urging voters to listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south to Mexico should NAFTA be ratified. Perot tried to keep his movement alive through the mid-1990s, continuing to speak about the increasing national debt. He debated with Al Gore on the issue of NAFTA on Larry King Live.

In 1995, he founded the Reform Party and won their nomination for the 1996 election. His running mate was Pat Choate. Because of the ballot access laws, he had to run as an Independent on many state ballots. Perot received eight percent of the popular vote in 1996, much less than in the 1992 race. He spent much less of his own money in this race than he had four years before, and also allowed other people to contribute to his campaign, unlike his prior race. Perot was excluded from the presidential debates, based on the preferences of the Democratic and Republican party candidates.

Later in the 1990s, Perot's detractors accused him of not allowing the Reform Party to develop into a genuine national political party, but rather using it as a vehicle to promote himself. Perot did not give an endorsement during Jesse Ventura's run for governor of Minnesota in the 1998 election.

In the 2000 presidential election, Perot refused to become involved with the internal Reform Party dispute between supporters of Pat Buchanan and of John Hagelin. Perot was unhappy with what he saw as the disintegration of the party, as well as his own portrayal in the press and he chose to remain quiet. He appeared on Larry King Live four days before the election and endorsed George W. Bush for president. Since then, Perot has been largely silent on political issues, refusing to answer most questions from the press.


In January 2008, Perot publicly came out against Republican candidate John McCain and endorsed Mitt Romney for President. In 2012, Perot endorsed Mitt Romney for President. He did not endorse any candidate in 2016.
For Ronald Reagan, the road to the Presidency passed through Hollywood. After graduating from Eureka College in 1932, where he majored in economics and sociology, Reagan worked in radio with Des Moines station WHO. While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. He spent the first few years of his Hollywood career in the "B film" unit. Reagan quipped that the producers' attitude about the films was that they "didn't want them good; they wanted them Thursday".


By the end of 1939 he had appeared in 19 films. In 1940, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American and from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper." In April of 1942 he was ordered to active duty with the U.S. Army at San Francisco where he served with the 1st Motion Picture Unit. Poor eyesight excluded him from serving overseas. In 1945 he returned to making movies. He became third vice-president of the Screen Actor;s Guild (SAG) in 1946. In 1947 he was elected president of the union in a special election and was chosen by the membership to serve seven additional one-year terms, from 1947 to 1952 and in 1959. Reagan led the SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era. Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he displayed his fervent anti-communist credentials. He told the committee "I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment."

Reagan landed fewer film roles in the late 1950s and turned to television. He was hired as the host of General Electric Theater, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour General Electric (GE) plants 16 weeks out of the year, giving as many as 14 speeches per day. The show ran for 10 seasons from 1953 to 1962. His final work as a professional actor was as the host and performer on the television series Death Valley Days from 1964 and 1965.

During the 1930s and 40s, Reagan supported the Democratic Party. He admired President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the 1950s, he switched political allegiance, formally becoming a Republican in 1962. In the 1948 presidential election, Reagan strongly supported Harry S. Truman, appearing on stage with him during a campaign speech in Los Angeles. However, in the early 1950s, as his relationship with actress Nancy Davis grew, he shifted to the right and endorsed the presidential candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 as well as Richard Nixon in 1960.

During the time that he was the host of General Electric Theater, he traveled across the country to give talks to over 200,000 GE employees as a motivational speaker. He wrote his own speeches and though they were non-partisan, they carried a conservative, pro-business message: he was for free markets, anticommunism, lower taxes, and limited government. When he formally registered as a Republican, Reagan said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."

When Medicare legislation was introduced in 1961, Reagan created a recording for the American Medical Association (AMA) warning that such legislation would mean the end of freedom in America. Reagan said that if his listeners did not write letters to prevent it, "we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don't do this, and if I don't do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free."

Reagan gained national attention in his speeches for conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater in 1964. Speaking for Goldwater, Reagan stressed his belief in the importance of smaller government. He consolidated themes that he had developed in his talks for GE to deliver his famous speech, "A Time for Choosing", delivered on October 27, 1964. In the speech he said:

"The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing. You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream—the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order—or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism."

Although the speech was not enough to turn around the faltering Goldwater campaign, it was the key event that established Reagan's national political visibility. In 1966, Reagan ran for Governor of California as the Republican candidate. He defeated two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget. Shortly after the beginning of his term, in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, Reagan ran as a candidate for Republican nomination for President. He hoped to become a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor second-place candidate Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. But at the end of the balloting Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to win the nomination, followed by Rockefeller, with Reagan in third place.

Reagan was involved in several high-profile conflicts with the protest movements of the era, including his public criticism of university administrators for tolerating student demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley campus. On May 15, 1969, during the People's Park protests at the university's campus, Reagan sent the California Highway Patrol and other officers to quell the protests. This led to an incident that became known as "Bloody Thursday," resulting in the death of student James Rector. 111 police officers were injured in the conflict, including one who was knifed in the chest. Reagan then called out 2,200 state National Guard troops to occupy the city of Berkeley for two weeks to crack down on the protesters. The Guard remained in Berkeley for 17 days. One year after "Bloody Thursday," Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasement."

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan was re-elected governor in 1970, defeating Jesse Unruh. He chose not to seek a third term in the following election cycle.

In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president. Reagan established himself as the conservative candidate, obtaining the support of organizations such as the American Conservative Union. Reagan's campaign relied on a strategy of winning a few primaries early to damage the inevitability of Ford's likely nomination. Reagan won North Carolina, Texas, and California, but lost New Hampshire, Florida, and his native Illinois. As the convention neared, Ford appeared close to victory. In an effort to appease his party's moderate wing, Reagan chose moderate Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate if nominated. The move offended some of Reagan's conservative base. Ford narrowly won the nomination with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,070, but Reagan's concession speech was well-received by the delegates. Ford would go on to lose the 1976 presidential election to the Democratic candidate, Jimmy Carter.

After the campaign, Reagan kept up his public profile. He continued as a vocal critic of Carter and the Democrats. Reagan announced his candidacy for President of the United States in New York City on November 13, 1979. His campaign slogan, which would be recycled nine elections later, was "Let's Make America Great Again." Reagan was the early odds-on favorite to win his party's nomination for president after nearly beating incumbent President Ford just four years earlier. He was so far ahead in the polls that he declined to attend many of the multi-candidate forums in the summer and fall of 1979. His opponents were George H. W. Bush, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Bush attended many of the events than Reagan avoided. In January 1980, the Iowa Republicans decided to have a straw poll as a part of their caucuses for that year. Bush defeated Reagan by a small margin. Bush declared he had "the Big Mo".

As the New Hampshire primary approached, the Nashua Telegraph offered to host a debate between Reagan and Bush. Worried that a newspaper-sponsored debate might violate electoral regulations, Reagan subsequently arranged to fund the event with his own campaign money, inviting the other candidates to participate at short notice. The Bush camp did not learn of Reagan's decision to include the other candidates until the debate was due to commence. Bush refused to participate, which led to an impasse on the stage. As Reagan attempted to explain his decision, the editor of the Nashua Telegraph ordered the sound man to mute Reagan's microphone. A visibly angry Reagan responded, "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!" Eventually the other candidates agreed to leave, and the debate proceeded between Reagan and Bush.

Reagan sailed to an easy win in New Hampshire. Reagan swept the South. He lost five more primaries to Bush as the race tightened. Reagan was an adherent to a policy known as supply-side economics, which operated on the theory that economic growth can be most effectively created using incentives for people to produce (supply) goods and services. This included lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates. Reagan said that cutting tax rates would actually increase tax revenues because the lower rates would cause people to work harder as they would be able to keep more of their money. Reagan also called for a drastic cut in "big government" and pledged to deliver a balanced budget for the first time since 1969. In the primaries Bush called Reagan's economic policy "voodoo economics" because it promised to lower taxes and increase revenues at the same time.

On May 20, 1980, after winning the Michigan and Oregon primaries, Reagan secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination for the Republican Party. His opponent in the general election, incumbent President Jimmy Carter, passed the delegate threshold to become the presumptive nominee of his party on June 3. On May 26, George H. W. Bush conceded defeat and urged his supporters to back Reagan. Reagan chose Bush as his running mate in the election.

The 1980 Republican National Convention convened at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Reagan accepted the Republican nomination on the final day of the convention:

"With a deep awareness of the responsibility conferred by your trust, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. I do so with deep gratitude, and I think also I might interject on behalf of all of us, our thanks to Detroit and the people of Michigan and to this city for the warm hospitality they have shown. And I thank you for your wholehearted response to my recommendation in regard to George Bush as a candidate for vice president."

In the general election, Reagan gained support that crossed party lines. At a time when the nation faced rampant inflation, high interest rates and declining morale because of the Iran hostage crisis, the nation was drawn to Reagan's campaign of upbeat optimism. Incumbent President Jimmy Carter emphasized his record as a peacemaker, and said Reagan's election would threaten civil rights and social programs that stretched back to the New Deal. Reagan's platform said that peace came from strength through a strong national defense.

Carter polled better with evangelical Christians according to a Gallup poll, but Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority threw its support behind Reagan. A group headed by Jerry Falwell purchased $10 million in commercials on southern radio and TV supportive of Reagan and critical of Carter. Reagan's promised to restore the nation's military strength, at time when 60% of Americans polled felt defense spending was too low. Reagan also promised a balanced budget within three years accompanied by a 30% reduction in tax rates over those same years. Reagan famously said, "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

Carter was the only candidate who supported the Equal Rights Amendment, while the Republican Party dropped their endorsement of the ERA. Reagan announced his intention, if elected, to appoint women to his cabinet and to appoint the first female justice to the Supreme Court.

In August, Reagan gave a campaign speech at the annual Neshoba County Fair on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Reagan said, "I believe in states' rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can at the community level and the private level. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." Carter criticized Reagan for injecting "hate and racism" by the "rebirth of code words like 'states' rights'". When Carter appeared in a small Alabama town, Tuscumbia, Reagan incorrectly claimed the town had been the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan—it was actually the home of the KKK's national headquarters.

But Carter was burdened by a continued weak economy and the Iran hostage crisis. Inflation, high interest rates, and unemployment continued through the course of the campaign. John Anderson's independent candidacy, aimed at eliciting support from liberals, was also seen as hurting Carter more than Reagan, especially in such reliably Democratic states such as Massachusetts and New York.

The League of Women Voters had announced a schedule of debates, three presidential and one vice presidential. When it was announced that Independent candidate John Anderson might be invited to participate along with Carter and Reagan, Carter refused to participate if Anderson was included, and Reagan refused to debate without him. It took months of negotiations for the League of Women Voters to finally put it together. The debate was held on September 21, 1980 in the Baltimore Convention Center. Reagan said of Carter's refusal to debate: "He knows that he couldn't win a debate even if it were held in the Rose Garden before an audience of Administration officials with the questions being asked by Jody Powell." The League of Women Voters promised the Reagan campaign that the debate stage would feature an empty chair to represent the missing president. At the debate Anderson failed to substantively engage Reagan, instead he started off by criticizing Carter.


With two weeks to go to the election, the LWV agreed to exclude Congressman Anderson from the final debate, which was rescheduled for October 28 in Cleveland, Ohio. Moderated by Howard K. Smith and presented by the League of Women Voters, the presidential debate between President Carter and Governor Reagan ranked among the highest ratings of any television show in the previous decade. Debate topics included the Iranian hostage crisis, and nuclear arms treaties and proliferation. Carter's campaign sought to portray Reagan as a reckless "war hawk," as well as a "dangerous right-wing radical". But when Carter said that he consulted with 12-year-old daughter Amy concerning nuclear weapons policy, that became the focus of post-debate analysis and fodder for late-night television jokes. When President Carter criticized Reagan's record, which included voting against Medicare and Social Security benefits, Governor Reagan audibly sighed and replied: "There you go again".

In his closing remarks, Reagan asked viewers:

"Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions 'yes', why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don't agree, if you don't think that this course that we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have."

In September 1980, former Watergate scandal prosecutor Leon Jaworski accepted a position as honorary chairman of Democrats for Reagan. Jaworski had once harshly criticized Reagan as an "extremist". He said after accepting the chairmanship, "I would rather have a competent extremist than an incompetent moderate." Former Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota also endorsed Reagan.


The election was held on November 4, 1980. Reagan and Bush beat Carter by almost 10 percentage points in the popular vote. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time since 1952, riding on Reagan's populist coattails. In the electoral college, Reagan won 489 votes (representing 44 states) and 49 for Carter (representing six states and Washington, D.C.). NBC News projected Reagan as the winner at 8:15 pm EST before voting was finished in the West, based on exit polls.

Frank Rich, in an article for New York Magazine, wrote of Reagan:

Some reporters who tracked Reagan on the campaign trail sensed that many voters didn’t care if he came from Hollywood, if his policies didn’t add up, if his facts were bogus, or if he was condescended to by Republican leaders or pundits. As Elizabeth Drew of The New Yorker observed in 1976, his appeal “has to do not with competence at governing but with the emotion he evokes.” As she put it, “Reagan lets people get out their anger and frustration, their feeling of being misunderstood and mishandled by those who have run our government, their impatience with taxes and with the poor and the weak, their impulse to deal with the world’s troublemakers by employing the stratagem of a punch in the nose.”

Presidents and Populism: John B. Anderson

John Anderson was a ten-term Republican Congressman from Illinois who ran as an independent candidate for President in 1980. He acquired a populist following both from Democrats who were frustrated with President Jimmy Carter's handling of the economy, and from Republicans who distrusted their party in the era after Watergate and who did not want to support Ronald Reagan for fear that Reagan was another Barry Goldwater.

Anderson was born in Rockford, Illinois on February 15, 1922. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1939, and began law school, but his education was interrupted by World War II. He joined the Army in 1943, and served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Field Artillery in France and Germany until the end of the war, receiving four battle stars. After the war, Anderson returned to complete his law degree, obtaining a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1946. He was admitted to the Illinois bar the same year, and practiced law in Rockford. He attended Harvard Law School, obtaining a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 1949. While at Harvard, he served on the faculty of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. He then briefly returned to Rockford, Anderson to practice with the firm of Large, Reno & Zahm, before leaving to join the Foreign Service. From 1952 to 1955, he served in Berlin on the staff of the United States High Commissioner for Germany. At the end of his tour, he left the foreign service and once again returned to the practice of law in Rockford.

In 1956, Anderson was elected State's Attorney in Winnebago County, Illinois,. After serving for one term, he ran in the Republican primary for a congressional seat vacated by a long-time Congressman, and won both the primary and the general election. He served in the United States House of Representatives for ten terms, from 1961 to 1981. At first, Anderson was one of the most conservative members of the Republican caucus. On three separate occasions he introduced a constitutional amendment to attempt to "recognize the law and authority of Jesus Christ" over the United States. He was unsuccessful each time.

But by the late 1960s, Anderson's positions on social issues shifted to the left. In 1964, he was appointed to a seat on the powerful Rules Committee, and in 1969, he became Chairman of the House Republican Conference, the number three position at the time. Anderson found himself at odds with conservatives in his home district because he was not always a faithful supporter of the Republican agenda. He was very critical of the Vietnam War, and was very critical of Richard Nixon during Watergate. In 1974, he nearly lost his seat due to the strong anti-Republican tide in that year's election.

In 1978 Anderson's supporters wanted him to run for the Senate seat held by Adlai Stevenson III. But Anderson set his sights on a bigger target, the presidency. He formed an exploratory committee, but found little support, both among voters and donors. Despite this, in late April 1979 he decided to enter the Republican contest. The other nominees that year included Bon Dole, John Connally, Howard Baker, Harold Stassen, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Anderson was able to raise enough funds to qualify for federal matching funds. He built modest state campaigns in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In a Republican candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa on January 5, Anderson stood out from the other candidates. He supported President Jimmy Carter's grain embargo against the Soviet Union as a reaction to its recent invasion of Afghanistan, an unpopular position in an agricultural state. He was the only candidate to directly answer a question about which episode in their career they most regretted. He cited his vote for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He also told the audience that lowering taxes, increasing defense spending, and balancing the budget were an impossible combination and he told the audience that Americans would have to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow.

In the Iowa caucuses Anderson spent less than $2000, but finished with a surprising 4.3% of the vote, good for sixth place. In New Hampshire, unlike the other candidates, Anderson spoke out against the NRA and talked about licensing gun owners. He said that it was an important step in order to get cheap guns out of the hands of criminals, mental incompetents, and convicted felons. He was booed in response, but the television networks covering the event praised him for his character and principle. Anderson once again exceeded expectations, finishing fourth with just under 10% of the vote.

As the race continued, Anderson rose in the polls dramatically. In Massachusetts, he lost to George H. W. Bush by 0.3% and in Vermont he lost to Reagan by 690 votes. But in his home state of Illinois, his campaign struggled despite endorsements from the state's two largest newspapers. Reagan defeated him 48% to 37%. He finished third in Connecticut with 22% of the vote, and in Wisconsin, he finished third, winning 27% of the vote.

At the Republican Convention, the party Republican platform failed to endorse the Equal Rights Amendment or an extension of time for its ratification, much to Anderson's disappointment. He chose to run in the election as an independent. He built a new campaign team, and was able to get his name on every state ballot. He rose in the polls to as high as 26% in a Gallup poll.

Anderson made an appearance on Saturday Night Live. He received the endorsement of cartoon character Mike Doonesbury. Time Magazine wrote of his candidacy, "He has become a cult figure on campuses and with show-biz liberals. That is the strangest irony of all, because Anderson is just about the reverse of a trendy personality." In the February 1980 edition of the Atlantic Magazine, Walter Shapiro wrote: "These days, Anderson is Washington's favorite Republican. He has all the qualities that those who lie awake nights worrying over the fate of the republic want in a President. He is bright, articulate, independent, and thoughtful. Over the last decade or so, he has won a series of editorial plaudits for his courageous 1968 vote in support of open housing, his early criticisms of Richard Nixon over Watergate, his battles on behalf of campaign spending reform, and his current proposal, the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, for a 50-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax to discourage consumption. Anderson appeals to that elitist strain among Washington thinkers which asks the great unwashed of the electorate to send forth statesmen, not grasping, ambitious politicians. Because of these qualities—or in spite of them—Anderson is as close as the politics of 1980 comes to a sure thing: he will lose his race for the Republican nomination—and he will probably lose badly."

That summer Anderson went on an overseas campaign tour to show his foreign policy credentials. This took him out of the national media attention and by the third week of August he dropped to the 13–15% range in the polls. He won an important victory when the League of Women Voters created a qualification threshold of 15% for him to appear in their debates. In late August, he named Patrick Lucey, the former two-term Democratic Governor of Wisconsin and Ambassador to Mexico as his running mate. He ran under the banner of the National Unity Party. In early September, a court challenge to Federal Election Campaign Act was successful and Anderson qualified for post-election public funding.

President Jimmy Carter said that he would not appear on stage with Anderson, and sat out the debate. This hurt Carter in the polls. Reagan and Anderson had a debate in Baltimore on September 21, 1980 at which Anderson performed well, as did Reagan. Both candidates made much of Carter's absence. But in the following weeks, Anderson's poll numbers faded, dropping from 16% to 10–12% in the first half of October. When Reagan debated Carter alone, Anderson's support continued to decline. In the end, Anderson finished with just 6.6% of the vote. Much of Anderson's original support came from so-called "Rockefeller Republicans", who were more liberal than Reagan. Anderson had endorsements from such notable persons as author Gore Vidal, All in the Family creator Norman Lear, and the editors of the New Republic. According to the recently published journals of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis voted for Anderson, as did Schlesinger himself. Anderson's finish was the best showing for a third party candidate since George Wallace's 14% in 1968 and the sixth best for any such candidate in the 20th century.

After the election, Anderson became a visiting professor at a series of universities, including Stanford University, University of Southern California, Duke University, University of Illinois College of Law, Brandeis University, Bryn Mawr College, Oregon State University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Nova Southeastern University. He was Chairman of an organization called FairVote from 1996 to 2008 and continues to serve on its board.

In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, he was briefly considered as possible candidate for the Reform Party nomination but instead endorsed Ralph Nader. In January 2008, Anderson supported the candidacy of fellow Illinoisan Barack Obama. In 2012, he played a role in the creation of the Justice Party, a progressive, social-democratic party than ran former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson (no relation) as its candidate for President in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. By all accounts John Anderson is alive and well at the age of 94, and continues to live in Rockford. Below is a recent YouTube video of a three-minute interview with him in December of 2014.

The late 1960s and early 70s were a time of mass public dissent with their government as many people could not understand why young American men were going to fight a war in a different continent that did not directly affect the United States, and why those young men were coming home in body bags. Though never elected President, Eugene McCarthy probably deserves credit for bringing one down. It was McCarthy who, in 1968, served as the focal point of all of the opponents of the Vietnam War, challenging the hold that Lyndon Johnson had on the Democratic Party and the presidency. And it was McCarthy's strong showing in the 1968 New Hampshire Primary that proved Johnson to be vulnerable and led to the President's decision not to seek re-election.

Eugene Joseph McCarthy was born on March 29, 1916 in Watkins, Minnesota. He came from a deeply religious Irish-Catholic family, one of four children. McCarthy was described as a bright student who read the classics. He considered joining the priesthood and spent nine months as a novice before leaving the monastery. When he left, one of his fellow novices quipped, "It was like losing a 20-game winner." McCarthy graduated from Saint John's Preparatory School in 1932 and from Saint John's University in 1935. He earned his master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1939 and taught in public schools in Minnesota and North Dakota from 1935 to 1940, when he became a professor of economics and education at Saint John's University. He taught there from 1940 to 1943. During the war McCarthy was a civilian technical assistant in the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department and after the war he became an instructor in sociology and economics at the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota from 1946 to 1949.

McCarthy joined the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and in 1948 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota's 4th congressional district, serving in the House until 1959. In 1952 he engaged Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (no relation) in a nationally televised debate in which he used the Senator's arguments to facetiously argue that General Douglas MacArthur was a communist pawn. In 1958 he won election to the U.S. Senate.

While in the Senate McCarthy served as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. In 1960 he supported twice-defeated Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson for the Democratic nomination. During the campaign he was quoted as saying "I'm twice as liberal as Hubert Humphrey, twice as intelligent as Stuart Symington, and twice as Catholic as Jack Kennedy." He was briefly considered as a possible running mate for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In 1965 he was one of the co-sponsors of the Immigration Act of 1965. He met with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in New York City in 1964 to discuss repairing relations between the US and Cuba.

In 1967 Allard K. Lowenstein, leader of the anti-Vietnam War Dump Johnson movement, recruited McCarthy to run against incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. Lowenstein first tried to recruit Robert F. Kennedy, and then Senator George McGovern, but both declined to run against Johnson. When McCarthy entered the race and almost defeated Johnson in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, he became a catalyst for anti-war Democrats. College students and other activists opposed to the war from across the country came to New Hampshire to support McCarthy's campaign. Those with long-hair were convinced to change to a more clean-cut appearance in order to campaign for McCarthy. This led to the informal slogan "Get clean for Gene".

McCarthy had declared his candidacy on November 30, 1967. He said "I am concerned that the Administration seems to have set no limit to the price it is willing to pay for a military victory." At first he was given little chance of making any impact against Johnson in the primaries. Following the Tet Offensive, when the communist Vietnamese forces inflicted significant losses on the South Vietnamese, many Democrats grow disillusioned with the war. When McCarthy received 42% of the vote in New Hampshire, second to Johnson's 49%, it became clear that the war issue was creating divisions within the Democratic party. Just four years after winning the highest percentage of the popular vote in modern history, Johnson's popularity had plummeted.

On March 16 Robert Kennedy announced that he too would run for President. Many Democrats saw Kennedy as a stronger candidate than McCarthy. The folk trio Peter Paul and Mary released a record "Eugene McCarthy For President (If You Love Your Country)" endorsing McCarthy. On March 31, in a surprise move, Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection.

McCarthy won the Wisconsin primary, where the Kennedy campaign was still getting organized. He also won the Oregon Primary, despite facing a well-organized Kennedy campaign. The two fought intensely in a series of races that made a later reconciliation of the two camps difficult.

One humorous moment during the campaign occurred when Michigan governor George Romney made a controversial comment that he had been "brainwashed" about the Vietnam War by some of the generals. This ended Romney's presidential hopes. Asked for comment about this, McCarthy remarked, "I think in that case a light rinse would have been sufficient."

When Kennedy joined the race, many of McCarthy's supporters jumped ship to join the Kennedy campaign, urging McCarthy to drop out and support Kennedy for the nomination. McCarthy resented the fact that Kennedy had refused to do what McCarthy called the "dirty work" of challenging Johnson, but only entered the race once it became apparent that the President was vulnerable.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey, with the support of labor unions and the party establishment. He entered the race too late to enter any primaries, but many convention delegates were selected by old style party bosses and many of them backed Humphrey. Kennedy and McCarthy planned to win the nomination through popular support in the primaries. They squared off in California, each looking at the state as being one which would decide the contest. At first Kennedy refused to debate McCarthy, but when the two finally participated in a televised debate, undecided voters appeared to favor Kennedy, especially after McCarthy made two gaffes. He said that he would accept a coalition government including Communists in Saigon. He also said that the relocation of inner-city African-Americans would solve the urban problem. Kennedy used these remarks to portray McCarthy as soft on communism, and as planning bus tens of thousands of ghetto residents into conservative Orange County.

Kennedy won the crucial California primary on June 4. But he was assassinated after his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Even after Kennedy supporters were left leaderless, McCarthy was unable to garner their support. Despite strong showings in several primaries, McCarthy received the support of only 23 percent of the delegates at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Many Kennedy supporters chose to vote for George McGovern rather than McCarthy.

McCarthy was slow to endorse Hubert Humphrey in the general election campaign. The anti-war "New Party" ran several candidates for President that year, and listed McCarthy as their nominee on the ballot in Arizona, where he received 2,751 votes. He also received 20,721 votes as a write-in candidate in California.

Following the 1968 election, McCarthy returned to the Senate, but announced that he would not be running for reelection in 1970. He declined to take a leadership role in Congress against the war. McCarthy returned to politics as a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972, but he fared poorly in New Hampshire and Wisconsin and soon dropped out.

After the 1972 campaign, he left the Democratic Party, and ran as an Independent candidate for President in the 1976 election. During the campaign, he promised to create full employment by shortening the work week, and came out in favor of nuclear disarmament. He appeared on the ballot in 30 states. Nationally McCarthy received 740,460 votes for 0.91% of the total vote finishing third in the election. His best showing came in Oregon where he received 40,207 votes for 3.90% of the vote.

In 1980, McCarthy campaigned against incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, calling Carter "the worst president we ever had". He appeared in a campaign ad for Libertarian candidate Ed Clark, and eventually endorsed Ronald Reagan for the presidency, as a Reagan Democrat. In 1982, he ran for the Senate but lost the Democratic primary to businessman Mark Dayton. In the 1988 election, his name appeared on the ballot as the Presidential candidate of a handful of left-wing state parties. He received 30,905 votes. In 1992, returning to the Democratic Party, he entered the New Hampshire primary and campaigned for the Democratic Presidential nomination. He received 108,679 votes in the primaries, with his best showing being 4% of the vote in Louisiana.

McCarthy died of complications from Parkinson's disease at the age of 89 on December 10, 2005, in a retirement home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. His eulogy was given by former President Bill Clinton.

Presidents and Populism: George Wallace

George Corley Wallace Jr. was a famous segregationist Governor of Alabama who ran for President for the American Independent Party on a populist platform. Wallace served four terms as Alabama's Governor as a Democrat, from 1963–1967, 1971–1975, 1975-1979 and 1983–1987. He was a Presidential candidate for four consecutive elections, in which he sought the Democratic Party nomination in 1964, 1972, and 1976, and was the American Independent Party candidate in the 1968 presidential election. He is the last third-party candidate to win electoral college votes in an election.

Wallace was a dixiecrat who espoused "Jim Crow" positions during the period of the Civil Rights Movement. He famously declared in his 1963 Inaugural Address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Wallace famously stood in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop the enrollment of black students. Later in life he renounced segregationism but remained a social conservative.

Born on August 25, 1919 in Clio, Alabama, George Wallace was the oldest of four children of George Corley Wallace Sr. and his wife, the former Mozelle Smith. His father died in 1937 and his mother had to sell their farmland to pay existing mortgages. Wallace became a boxer in high school, then went directly to law school in 1937 at the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa. After receiving an LL.B. degree in 1942, he entered pilot cadet training in the United States Army Air Corps. Though he failed to complete the course, as a staff sergeant he flew B-29 combat missions over Japan in 1945, serving with the XX Bomber Command under General Curtis LeMay, who would be his running mate in the 1968 presidential race. Wallace contracted spinal meningitis while serving in the Army, which left him with apartial hearing loss and permanent nerve damage.

In 1945, after leaving the Air Force, Wallace was appointed as one of the assistant attorneys general of Alabama, and in May 1946, he won his first election as a member to the Alabama House of Representatives. As a delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention, he did not join the Dixiecrat walkout at the convention, despite his opposition to U.S. President Harry S. Truman's proposed civil rights program. In 1952, Wallace became the Circuit Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Alabama. In 1958, Wallace ran in the Democratic primary for governor. In the race Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP, something that probably cost him the election. He told his aide Seymore Trammell, "Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race? I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."

Following this defeat, Wallace adopted a hard-line segregationist stance. In the 1962 Democratic primary, Wallace finished first with 35 percent of the vote and won the nomination in a runoff election. No Republican filed to run and Wallace won in the November general election, taking 96 percent of the vote. Wallace took the oath of office on January 14, 1963, standing on the gold star marking the spot where, over a century earlier, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural speech, Wallace said: "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy's administration ordered the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division from Ft. Benning, Georgia to be prepared to enforce the racial integration of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Wallace tried to prevent the enrollment of black students Vivian Malone and James Hood by standing in front of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. This became known as the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door". In September 1963, Wallace attempted to stop four black students from enrolling in four separate elementary schools in Huntsville. After intervention by a federal court in Birmingham, the four children were allowed to enter on September 9, becoming the first to integrate a primary or secondary school in Alabama.

In November of 1963, in Dallas, Texas, Wallace announced his intention to oppose the incumbent President, John F. Kennedy, for the 1964 Democratic presidential nomination. Days later Kennedy was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded him as president. Wallace sought the Democratic nomination for President and campaigned on a platform opposing integration and a tough approach on crime. In Democratic primaries in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland, Wallace received at least a third of the vote.

Term limits in the Alabama Constitution prevented Wallace from seeking a second term in 1966. His wife, Lurleen Wallace, ran as a surrogate candidate for governor. In the Democratic primary, she defeated two former governors, and was elected as the de facto Governor in the general election on November 8, 1966. She was inaugurated in January 1967, but on May 7, 1968, she died in office of cancer at the age of forty-one, at a time when her husband was running for President of the United States,. She was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Albert Brewe and George Wallace's influence in state government subsided for the time being.

Wallace ran for President in the 1968 election as the American Independent Party candidate. He selected General Curtis LeMay as running mate. Wallace hoped to force the House of Representatives to decide the election, and he wanted to become a power broker. Wallace hoped that southern states could use their clout to end federal efforts at desegregation. At the time, the Vietnam War was being fought. Wallace said that if the Vietnam War was not winnable within 90 days of his taking office, he pledged an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. He called foreign aid money 'poured down a rat hole' and demanded that European and Asian allies pay more for their defense. Wallace's candidacy concerned both of the two major parties. Republican candidate Richard Nixon feared that Wallace might split the conservative vote and allow the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, to prevail. Wallace ran a "law and order" campaign similar to Nixon's, further worrying Republicans. Democrats feared Wallace's appeal to organized blue-collar workers would damage Humphrey in northern states such as Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Wallace's selection of LeMay at first looked like a good choice, as LeMay had impressive and respected military credentials and service. Wallace's campaign aides tried to persuade LeMay to avoid questions relating to the use of nuclear weapons, but when LeMay was asked if he thought their use was necessary to win the Vietnam War, he first said that America can win in Vietnam without them. But then he added, "we have a phobia about nuclear weapons. I think there may be times when it would be most efficient to use nuclear weapons." LeMay became a drag on Wallace's candidacy for the remainder of the campaign.

In 1968, Wallace told an audience that "If some anarchist lies down in front of my automobile, it will be the last automobile he will ever lie down in front of." He also said that "the only four letter words which hippies did not know were w-o-r-k and s-o-a-p". Wallace received support from extremist groups such as White Citizens' Councils.

In the election, Wallace carried five Southern states, and received almost ten million popular votes and 46 electoral votes, Nixon received 301 electoral votes, more than required to win the election. Wallace remains the last non-Democratic, non-Republican candidate to win any electoral votes by vote of the people. Wallace also received the vote of one North Carolina elector who had been pledged to Nixon.

In 1970, Wallace ran for Governor of Alabama again. The campaign was later described by President Jimmy as "one of the most racist campaigns in modern southern political history". Wallace ran an ad showing a white girl surrounded by seven African-American boys, with the slogan "Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama." Wallace referred to his opponent Albert Brewer as "Sissy Britches". Wallace narrowly won the Democratic nomination narrowly in a runoff election, and won the general election in a landslide.

Wallace had promised not to run for president a third time during the 1970 gubernatorial campaign, a promise he broke early on. The day after the election, Wallace flew to Wisconsin to campaign for the upcoming 1972 U.S. presidential election. On January 13, 1972, Wallace declared himself a Democratic candidate for President. In Florida's primary, Wallace carried every county to win 42 percent of the vote. In the 1972 campaign, Wallace announced that he no longer supported segregation and had always been a "moderate" on racial matters. For the next four months, Wallace campaigned vigorously. But his campaign came to an abrupt halt on May 15, 1972, when he was shot five times by Arthur Bremer while campaigning at the Laurel Shopping Center in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace was shot in the abdomen and chest, and one of the bullets lodged in Wallace's spinal column, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. A five-hour operation was needed that evening, and Wallace had to receive several pints of blood in order to survive. Three others who were wounded in the shooting also survived.

Following the assassination attempt, Wallace was visited at the hospital by Democratic Congresswoman and presidential primary rival Shirley Chisholm, a representative from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. At the time, she was the nation's only African-American female member of Congress. Despite their ideological differences and the opposition of Chisholm's constituents, Chisholm felt visiting Wallace was the humane thing to do.

After the shooting, Wallace won primaries in Maryland and Michigan, but the attempted assassination effectively ended his campaign. From his wheelchair, Wallace spoke on July 11, 1972, at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida.
Wallace later resumed his gubernatorial duties and easily won the 1974 primary and general election.

In November 1975, Wallace announced his fourth bid for the presidency. Wallace's campaign was hampered by concerned about his health. In the southern primaries and caucuses, Wallace carried only Mississippi, South Carolina and his home state of Alabama. He lost several southern state primaries to former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Wallace left the race in June 1976. He eventually endorsed Carter.

In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his past actions as a segregationist. He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness. In 1979, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: "I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over." He ran for Governor of Alabama again in 1982 and won the Democratic nomination by a margin of 51 to 49 percent and later won the general election, defeating Montgomery Republican Mayor Emory Folmar. During Wallace's final term as governor (1983–1987) he made a record number of appointments of African-Americans to state positions, including, two as members in his cabinet. On April 2, 1986, Wallace announced at a press conference in Montgomery that he would not run for a fifth term as Governor of Alabama, and would retire from public life after leaving the governor's mansion in January 1987.

On January 4, 1971, Wallace wed the former Cornelia Ellis Snively (1939–2009), a niece of former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, known as "Big Jim". The couple had a bitter divorce in 1978. On September 9, 1981, Wallace married Lisa Taylor, a country music singer, but they divorced in 1987.

Wallace died of septic shock from a bacterial infection in Jackson Hospital in Montgomery on September 13, 1998. He suffered from respiratory problems in addition to complications from his gunshot spinal injury.

Presidents and Populism: Joe McCarthy

The man who is probably most associated with the ugly side of populism was so vile that he had an ism named after him. Senator Joseph McCarthy led a witch hunt in the 1950s that ruined a lot of lives and reputations, with the ultimate one being his own. Mercifully he was never likely to be president, but he was none the less very influential and perhaps the most controversial political figure of his era.

Joseph Raymond McCarthy was born in Grand Chute, Wisconsin on November 14, 1908, the fifth of seven children.His father, Timothy McCarthy, was he son of an an Irish immigrant, and his mother Bridget was an Irish immigrant. Joe McCarthy dropped out of junior high school at age 14 to help his parents manage their farm. He graduated from Little Wolf High School, in Manawa, Wisconsin, at the age of 20, and received his LL.B. degree from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee in 1935. He was admitted to the state bar later that year. In 1936 he launched an unsuccessful campaign for district attorney as a Democrat and in 1939, he ran for the post of 10th District circuit judge. He won the election, making him the youngest circuit judge in the state's history. He used dirty tricks in the campaign, exaggerating his opponent's age. He was not well regarded as a judge and was he was disliked by lawyers and reversed often by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. His docket was heavily backlogged docket. He was censured in 1941 for having lost evidence in a price fixing case.

In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, McCarthy was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps. He could have used his judicial office to exempt himself from compulsory service, but did not. His education qualified him for an automatic commission as an officer, and he became a second lieutenant after completing basic training. He served as an intelligence briefing officer in the Solomon Islands. McCarthy served as an intelligence officer until February of 1945, and obtained the rank of captain by the time he was discharged in April of that year. He later falsely claimed that he had gone on 32 aerial missions in order to qualify for a Distinguished Flying Cross, which he received in 1952. McCarthy later campaigned using a letter of commendation which he claimed had been signed by his commanding officer and countersigned by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, but it was later revealed that McCarthy had written this letter himself.

McCarthy campaigned for the Republican Senate nomination in Wisconsin while still on active duty in 1944 but lost the nomination. After leaving the service he was reelected unopposed to his circuit court position, and ran for the 1946 Republican Senate primary nomination against three-term senator Robert M. La Follette Jr., founder of the Wisconsin Progressive Party and son former Wisconsin governor and senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. In his campaign, McCarthy attacked La Follette for not enlisting during the war, even though La Follette had been 46 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He also accused La Follette of making huge profits from his investments during the war, when in fact McCarthy himself had made over $42,000 in such investments. These attacks helped McCarthy win the nomination and ultimately the general election.

McCarthy was not well liked among fellow senators, who found him quick-tempered and prone to impatience and rage. His profile was elevated when, on February 9, 1950, he gave a Lincoln Day speech in which he produced a piece of paper that he claimed contained a list of known Communists working for the State Department. He said: "I have here in my hand a list of 205, a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department." In a later telegram to President Truman, and when entering the speech into the Congressional Record, he used the number 57. At the time of McCarthy's speech, communism was a hot button issue in the United States. The victory of the communists in the Chinese Civil War, the Soviets' development of a nuclear weapon the year before and other developments had the nation concerned.

In response to McCarthy's charges, the Senate voted unanimously to investigate, and a committee chaired by Senator Millard Tydings was convened. The Tydings Committee was a subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations set up in February 1950 to conduct "a full and complete study and investigation as to whether persons who are disloyal to the United States are, or have been, employed by the Department of State". During the hearings, McCarthy made specific charges against nine people: Dorothy Kenyon, Esther Brunauer, Haldore Hanson, Gustavo Durán, Owen Lattimore, Harlow Shapley, Frederick Schuman, John S. Service, and Philip Jessup. Some of them no longer worked for the State Department, or never had. McCarthy called Lattimore a "top Russian spy". McCarthy never produced any substantial evidence to support his accusations.

In its final report, the Tydings Committee concluded that the individuals on McCarthy's list were neither Communists nor pro-communist, and said the State Department had an effective security program. The Tydings Report labeled McCarthy's charges a "fraud and a hoax". In turn, some Republicans accused Tydings of a "whitewash of treasonable conspiracy". The full Senate voted three times on whether to accept the report, and each time the voting was precisely divided along party lines.

From 1950 onward, McCarthy continued to exploit the fear of Communism. He also began investigations into a number of homosexual men in the foreign policy bureaucracy, who were considered candidates for blackmail by the Soviets.

McCarthy attempted to discredit his critics and political opponents by accusing them of being Communists or communist sympathizers. In the 1950 Maryland Senate election, McCarthy campaigned for John Marshall Butler in his race against Millard Tydings. In speeches supporting Butler, McCarthy accused Tydings of "protecting Communists" and "shielding traitors". McCarthy's staff produced a brochure that contained a composite photograph doctored to make it appear that Tydings was having a conversation with Communist leader Earl Russell Browder. A Senate subcommittee later investigated this election and called it as "a despicable, back-street type of campaign". Tydings was defeated . McCarthy campaigned for several other Republicans in the 1950 elections, and all the candidates McCarthy supported, won their elections, and those he opposed lost. McCarthy was now regarded as one of the most powerful men in the Senate.

In 1950 McCarthy assaulted journalist Drew Pearson in the cloakroom of a Washington club, kneeing him in the groin. Pearson later attempted to publish reports that McCarthy was a homosexual, but the media refused to print the story.

In 1953, McCarthy married Jean Kerr, a researcher in his office. He and his wife adopted a baby girl in January of 1957.

McCarthy attached President Harry Truman for being "soft on and in league with Communists". Truman, in turn, called McCarthy "the best asset the Kremlin has" for attempting to "sabotage the foreign policy of the United States". Truman's Secretary of Defense, General George Marshall, was the target of some of McCarthy's harshest attacks. Marshall was a highly respected General and statesman, remembered today as the architect of the Marshall Plan for post-war reconstruction of Europe, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. McCarthy blamed Marshall for the loss of China to Communism. He accused Marshall of being part of "a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man". During the Korean War, after President Truman dismissed General Douglas MacArthur, McCarthy said of Truman, "The son of a bitch should be impeached."

One of the strongest bases of anti-Communist sentiment in the United States was the Catholic community. McCarthy identified himself as Catholic and he became popular in Catholic communities. He had the support of the powerful Kennedy family, which had high visibility among Catholics. McCarthy became a close friend of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and was a frequent guest at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. He dated two of Kennedy's daughters, Patricia and Eunice, and was godfather to Robert F. Kennedy's oldest child, Kathleen Kennedy. Robert Kennedy was chosen by McCarthy as a counsel for his investigatory committee. Joseph Kennedy made sizable contributions to McCarthy's campaigns. John F. Kennedy, who served in the Senate with McCarthy from 1953 until the latter's death in 1957, never attacked McCarthy and McCarthy refused to campaign for Kennedy's 1952 opponent, Republican incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

During the 1952 presidential election, the Eisenhower campaign toured Wisconsin with McCarthy. In a speech delivered in Green Bay, Eisenhower declared that while he agreed with McCarthy's goals, he disagreed with his methods. In draft of his speech, Eisenhower had intended to defend George Marshall, but on the advice of conservative colleagues who were fearful that Eisenhower could lose Wisconsin if he alienated McCarthy supporters, he deleted this portion from his speech. After being elected president, Eisenhower made it clear to those close to him that he did not approve of McCarthy and he worked to diminish his power and influence. But he never directly confronted McCarthy or criticized him by name in any speech. Eisenhower's relationship with McCarthy became more hostile once Eisenhower was in office.

McCarthy became increasingly critical of the Eisenhower Administration, but Eisenhower refused to confront McCarthy directly. In 1953, McCarthy became chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations. He used this position to use it for his own investigations of Communists in the government. A 27-year-old Robert F. Kennedy served as an assistant counsel to the subcommittee. The subcommittee investigated allegations of Communist influence in the various divisions of the State Department including the Voice of America and the overseas library program of the International Information Agency. McCarthy pressured the State Department into having its overseas librarians remove books and materials that McCarthy deemed to have Communist influences.

In autumn 1953, McCarthy's committee began an inquiry into the United States Army. Early in 1954, the U.S. Army accused McCarthy and his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, of improperly pressuring the Army to give favorable treatment to G. David Schine, a former aide to McCarthy and a friend of Cohn's, who was then serving in the Army as a private. McCarthy claimed that the accusation was made in retaliation for his inquiry into Army activities. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held hearings for 36 days and concluded that McCarthy himself had not exercised any improper influence on Schine's behalf, but that his committee's counsel, Roy Cohn, had engaged in what it termed "unduly persistent or aggressive efforts". The hearings adversely affected McCarthy's popularity, as the television audience saw him as bullying and dishonest. Newspaper reports of the hearings were also unfavorable to McCarthy. According to Gallup polls, those having a favorable opinion of McCarthy dropped from 50% in January 1954, to 34% in June. In the same polls, those with a negative opinion of McCarthy increased from 29% to 45%.

Republicans now viewed McCarthy as a liability to the party. GOP Congressman George H. Bender said "McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting, Star Chamber methods, and the denial of civil liberties." In one famous exchange which took place between McCarthy and the army's chief legal representative, Joseph Welch, Welch challenged Roy Cohn to provide U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. with McCarthy's list of 130 Communists or subversives in defense plants "before the sun goes down". McCarthy said that if Welch was so concerned about persons aiding the Communist Party, he should check on a man in his Boston law office named Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive lawyers association. In defense of Fisher, Welch criticized McCarthy for his reckless attack on Fisher's character, adding: "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

One of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods was an episode of the television documentary series See It Now, hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow, which was broadcast on March 9, 1954. In an episode entitled "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy", Murrow broadcast clips of McCarthy making various unfounded accusations and in his conclusion, Murrow famously said:

"No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men—not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

"This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

"The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it—and rather successfully. Cassius was right: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

The following week See It Now ran another episode critical of McCarthy. This one focused on a woman named Annie Lee Moss, an African-American army clerk who was unfairly targeted in of one of McCarthy's investigations. The Murrow shows led to a nationwide popular opinion backlash against McCarthy. In response, McCarthy appeared on See It Now on April 6, 1954, and made a number of charges against the popular Murrow, including the accusation that he colluded with a "Russian espionage and propaganda organization". This seemed to increase public mistrust of McCarthy.

On March 18, 1954 Sauk-Prairie Star of Sauk City, Wisconsin urged the recall of McCarthy in a front page editorial, along with a sample petition that readers could fill out and mail to the newspaper. The "Joe Must Go" movement caught fire.

Several members of the U.S. Senate had opposed McCarthy. Vermont Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders gave a speech on the Senate floor, questioning McCarthy's tactics in fighting communism, in which he compared McCarthy to Adolf Hitler, accusing him of spreading "division and confusion" and saying, "Were the Junior Senator from Wisconsin in the pay of the Communists he could not have done a better job for them." On June 11, Flanders introduced a resolution to have McCarthy removed as chair of his committees, but there was no clear majority supporting this resolution. Flanders next introduced a resolution to censure McCarthy. A special committee, chaired by Senator Arthur Vivian Watkins, was appointed to study and evaluate the resolution. The committee opened hearings on August 31.After two months of hearings and deliberations, the Watkins Committee recommended that McCarthy be censured. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to "condemn" McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22. The Democrats voting unanimously favored condemnation while the Republicans were evenly split. Senator John F. Kennedy was hospitalized at the time and did not vote.

After his censure, McCarthy continued senatorial duties for another two and a half years, but his influence was at an end. His speeches on the Senate floor were delivered to a near-empty chamber and the press ignored him. President Eisenhower is supposed to have said to his Cabinet that McCarthyism was now "McCarthywasm".

In one of his final acts in the Senate, McCarthy opposed President Eisenhower's nomination to the Supreme Court of William J. Brennan, because Brennan had given a speech Brennan in which he characterized McCarthy's anti-Communist investigations as "witch hunts". McCarthy was the only Senator to vote against Brennan's confirmation.

McCarthy suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was hospitalized for alcoholism. His drinking increased with the crash in his popularity and influence. Joe McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of his death was listed as acute hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver attributed to his drinking. He was buried in St. Mary's Parish Cemetery, in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Earlier this month a new book was published about the relationship between Eisenhower and McCarthy. It's called Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy by David Nichols. I've just began reading it and will write a review when I finish the book.


Presidential History Geeks

Latest Month



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner