Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 2000 South Carolina Republican Primary

In 2000, incumbent President Bill Clinton had served two full terms and was ineligible to run for a third. On the one hand Clinton was popular despite having just been impeached. Americans were content with a healthy economy thanks to the economic prosperity that flowed on the heels of the rise of the internet. Clinton had presented the first surplus budgets in recent memory. On the other hand, many Americans hadn't forgotten Clinton's smug denial to the nation that he "did not have sexual relations" with intern Monica Lewinsky, only to be later caught in this lie thanks to DNA evidence discovered on a little blue dress. Clinton had never directly apologized to the nation for his boldfaced lie, and the Republican Party did not intend to let voters forget that.

The primary contest began with a fairly wide field. For the Republicans, Texas Governor George W. Bush, son of George H. W. Bush, the most recent Republican president, took an early lead in early polling numbers. He had the support of much of the party establishment and he also had a strong fund-raising machine. Former cabinet member George Shultz played an important early role in gathering and securing Republican support for Bush. In April 1998, Schultz invited Bush to discuss policy issues with a number of leading experts including Michael Boskin, John Taylor, and Condoleezza Rice, a group known as the Vulcans. This group was looking for a candidate for 2000 that shared their world view and they were impressed by the younger Bush. Shultz encouraged Bush to enter the race. Due in large measure to this establishment backing, Bush dominated in early polling and fundraising figures.

Bush stumbled in some of the early primary debates, but despite this, he easily won the Iowa caucuses. Initially, many believed that his biggest challenger would be wealthy businessman Steve Forbes, who finished second to Bush in Iowa. But the man who ultimately gave Bush his biggest challenge was former Vietnam prisoner of war, Senator John McCain of Arizona. McCain surprised the front-runner when he won the New Hampshire Primary with 48% of the vote, compared to Bush's 30% in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. McCain did not have the same fund-raising power or establishment support that Bush had, but his surprise win in New Hampshire gave his campaign a boost of energy and donations.

For McCain's campaign, the key issue was campaign finance reform. McCain had announced his candidacy for president on September 27, 1999, in Nashua, New Hampshire, saying he was staging "a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve". McCain had focused on the New Hampshire primary, where his message appealed to many independents. He traveled on a campaign bus called the Straight Talk Express and held many town hall meetings, answering every question voters asked. In a successful campaign style that came to be known as "retail politics", he used free media to compensate for his lack of funds. One reporter later said, "McCain talked all day long with reporters on his Straight Talk Express bus. He talked so much that sometimes he said things that he shouldn't have, and that's why the media loved him."

The Bush campaign and the Republican establishment feared that a McCain victory in the crucial South Carolina primary might give his campaign unstoppable momentum. In South Carolina, voters had the option of crossing party lines in primaries such that McCain might draw support from independents and Democrats.

Bush's campaign ran on a program of "compassionate conservatism," calling for a greater role for the federal government in education, subsidies for private charitable programs, and large reductions in income and capital gains taxes. But the South Carolina Primary became known not for its compassion, but rather for its negative tone. There McCain's campaign was met with attack ads and dirty tricks. Although the Bush campaign said it was not behind any of these attacks on McCain, local Bush supporters were alleged in the media to be handing out fliers and making telephone calls to prospective voters with a number of absurd accusations against McCain. These included suggestions that McCain was a "Manchurian candidate" and had been brainwashed when he had been a POW in Vietnam. He was also accused of having fathered a child out of wedlock with an African-American New York-based prostitute. The rumor played on the fact that McCain and his wife had adopted a daughter from Bangladesh.

Bush also drew fire for giving a speech made at Bob Jones University, a school that still banned interracial dating among its students. Despite this, Bush appeared to be the winner in a debate hosted by Larry King on CNN. Here is a clip from the King debate showing the tension between the two candidates.

On primary day, Bush he won in South Carolina by a nine point margin of 52% to 43%. The victory hurt McCain's momentum as well as his fund raising.

McCain went on to win primaries in Michigan, in his home state of Arizona, and in a handful of New England states. But he faced difficulty in appealing to conservative Republican primary voters. In Michigan, despite winning the primary, McCain finished second among Republican voters. In the Virginia primary, he tried to win independent and crossover support by giving a speech blasting the religious right. The tactic backfired, and Bush won the state by a 53% to 44% margin. Bush's subsequent Super Tuesday victories in California, New York and the South made it almost impossible, mathematically, for McCain to catch up. He suspended his campaign the next day.

McCain endorsed Bush two months later, and made occasional appearances with Bush, but the tension between the two men was palpable. After Bush became president, McCain broke with the Bush administration on a number of issues, including HMO reform, climate change, and gun control legislation. Bush also opposed the McCain–Feingold campaign reform proposal.

Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day to all members of this community. Although this holiday isn't universally observed, wherever you are, I hope it means a day off for you.


There were once separate holidays for Lincoln's Birthday (February 12th) and Washington's Birthday (February 22nd under the current calendar). Washington's Birthday was a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. An Act of Congress passed in 1880 made it a holiday for government offices in the District of Columbia and in 1885 it was expanded to include all federal offices. Washington's birthday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, placing it between February 15 and 21. (Ironically, since the change it can never land on Washington's actual birthday of February 22nd).

The first attempt to create a Presidents Day occurred in 1951 when the "President's Day National Committee" was formed. The purpose was not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency. It was first thought that March 4, the original inauguration day, should be deemed Presidents Day. However the Senate Judiciary Committee felt that, because of its proximity to Lincoln's and Washington Birthdays, three holidays so close together would be too much. The name of the holiday was kept as Washington's Birthday, but by the mid-1980s, thanks to advertisers, the term "Presidents' Day" began to be commonly used and about a dozen state governments officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents' Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations.

Today, this holiday has become well-known for being a day in which many merchants, especially car dealers, hold sales. Until the late 1980s, corporate businesses generally closed on this day. Some schools, which used to close for a single day for both Lincoln's and Washington's birthday, now often close for the entire week (beginning with the Monday holiday) as a "mid-winter recess".

Many cities offer their own unique way of marking the holiday. For example, Alexandria, Virginia, hosts a month-long tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade, while the community of Eustis, Florida, continues its annual "George Fest" celebration begun in 1902. In Denver, Colorado there is a society dedicated to observing the day. At the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and at Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations throughout the federal holiday weekend and through February 22. In Alabama the third Monday in February commemorates the birthdays of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April). In Arkansas the third Monday in February is "George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day," an official state holiday. In New Mexico Presidents Day, at least as a state government paid holiday, is observed on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

Since 1862 there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington's Farewell Address be read on his birthday. The annual tradition continues with the reading of the address on or near Washington's Birthday.

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Here's something from the Punctuation Police: Apparently the holiday is the subject of a spelling controversy. Both Presidents Day and Presidents' Day are are considered correct by dictionaries and usage manuals. Presidents' Day was once the predominant style, and it is still favored by the majority of significant authorities—notably, The Chicago Manual of Style (followed by most book publishers and some magazines), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Webster's Third International Dictionary, and Garner's Modern American Usage. In recent years, the popularity of Presidents Day has increased. This style is favored by the Associated Press Stylebook (followed by most newspapers and some magazines) and the Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference. President's Day is a misspelling when used with the intention of celebrating more than one individual. Though President's Day is sometimes seen in print — even sometimes on government Web sites, this style is not endorsed by any major dictionary or usage authority.

No matter how you spell it, I hope you have a happy Presidents Day (or Presidents' Day). And now, in keeping with a tradition of this community, I give you the 2020 potus_geeks Annual Presidents Day Quiz (found behind the cut!) I'll post the answers in the first comment, but don't look until you've tried the quiz yourself first.

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Happy Presidents Day 2020 everyone!

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 1932 Republican Primaries

As the year 1932 began, the nation was in the grip of an economic depression. The Republican Party establishment believed that President Herbert Hoover's protectionism and aggressive fiscal policies would solve the depression. The rest of the nation had their doubts. Regardless of who was right, Hoover controlled the party and had little trouble securing a re-nomination.

By mid-1931 few objective observers thought that Hoover had much hope of winning a second term because of the ongoing economic crisis. It is somewhat surprising that in light of this, Hoover faced little opposition for re-nomination. In 1932 the Republican Party held primaries in only 13 states. Hoover won in only four of these, and in three (New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California) he ran unopposed.

The man who gave Hoover his only challenge (and the man who won a majority of the Republican Primaries in 1932) was a former one-term Senator from Maryland named Joseph Irwin France. France was born in Cameron, Missouri, who graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He also attended the University of Leipzig in Germany and in 1897, he graduated from the medical department of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. France taught natural science at the Jacob Tome Institute of Port Deposit, Maryland in 1897, but resigned later to practice medicine in Baltimore after his graduation in 1903.

Dr. France was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1906, serving until 1908. He left the Senate in 1908 for the world of finance, but later served as the secretary to the medical and surgical faculty of Maryland from 1916–1917. He returned to politics in 1916 and was elected to the United States Senate. During the 65th Congress, he served in the Senate as the chairman of the Committee on Public Health and National Quarantine. France attempted to introduce an amendment to the Sedition Act of 1918 that would have ensured limited free speech protections, but the amendment was defeated. A free speech advocate, he called the legislation "criminal, repressive, and characteristic of the Dark Ages." In March 1920 he introduced a joint resolution calling for the dissenters that were imprisoned during World War I to be pardoned.

France had a good record generally when it came to civil rights. He spoke at a 1920 meeting of the NAACP to support the enactment of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill. He fought against voter disenfranchisement for African-Americans, and proposed an amendment to a railroad bill so that black train passengers paying a first-class fare could get first-class accommodations. France lost his bid for re-election to the Senate in 1922, losing his seat to Democratic rival William Cabell Bruce. After his defeat, France became President of the Republic International Corporation. He also resumed the practice of medicine in Port Deposit.

In 1931 France decided to challenge opposed Herbert Hoover in Republican primaries during the Presidential campaign of 1932.
Civil rights. He was successful in winning Republican Primaries in North Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and Oregon. Hoover defeated him in his home state of Maryland. In the Ohio primary, France finished second to populist Jacob Coxey, leader of the famous "Coxey's army" that had marched on Washington in 1894.

Even though he did not win many of the primaries, this was an era when it was the party establishment and not voters in primaries, that had the greatest influence on who the candidate would be. At the 1932 Republican National Convention, a number of prominent Republicans, including former President Calvin Coolidge. all passed on the opportunity to challenge Hoover. France gave a speech at the Republican Convention in Chicago. The microphone malfunctioned, leaving France continuing his speech unamplified while the sound system was repaired. Few delegates were selected in the primaries and France was heavily defeated at the convention.

Franklin D. Roosevelt won the presidential nomination on the fourth ballot of the 1932 Democratic National Convention, defeating the 1928 Democratic nominee, Al Smith. The Democrats attacked Hoover as the cause of the Great Depression, and for being indifferent to the suffering of millions. During the election campaign, progressive Republicans like George Norris and Robert La Follette Jr. deserted Hoover.

In his campaign trips around the country, Hoover was faced with perhaps the most hostile crowds ever seen by a sitting president. His train and motorcades were pelted with eggs and rotten fruit and he was often heckled while speaking. On several occasions, the Secret Service intervened in attempts to kill Hoover by angry citizens, including capturing one man who was approaching Hoover while carrying sticks of dynamite. Another man was arrested already he removed several spikes from the rails in front of the Hoover's train.

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In the end, the public blamed Hoover's administration for the depression. In the electoral college vote, Hoover lost 59–472, winning only six states. He received 39.7 percent of the popular vote, down 26 percentage points from his result in the 1928 election. Roosevelt's performance in the popular vote made him the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the presidency with a majority of the popular vote since the Civil War.

As for France, in 1934 he attempted to win back his senate seat, but was unsuccessful. He died in 1939.

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 1912 Republican Primaries

In 1912, William Howard Taft probably knew that his prospects for re-election as president were in trouble. He faced two strong challengers for his renomination, never a good sign for an incumbent President. One of his challengers was a former President as well as his former mentor. A century ago, not every state held presidential primaries. Most state delegations were controlled by party bosses, and most of these liked (or at least preferred) Taft as their candidate. But in this early progressive era, eleven of the thirteen states that held primaries in the Republican Party sent a different message. Taft faced challenges to his renomination as the Republican Party's candidate for President from Theodore Roosevelt and from another progressive, Wisconsin Senator Robert LaFollette.

Taft's problems were no so much caused by a divided nation as they were by a divided Republican Party. The party was conflicted between its conservative wing, which supported Taft, and the more populist progressive wing of the party. Senator Robert LaFollette was a favorite among these Republicans. When Theodore Roosevelt returned from his travels out of the country, he too supported the progressives in the party and was displeased with much that Taft had done. By the middle of 1909, progressive Republicans had started accusing Taft of giving the pro-business wing of the party control when it came to filling political positions and doling out patronage. Roosevelt was also upset with Taft's actions in firing Roosevelt's good friend Bronson Pinchot from the position of Chief Forester following a dispute between Pinchot and Taft's Secretary of the Interior.

During the off-year elections of 1909, battles between reformers and conservatives were waged without a clear victor. In New York State, Governor Charles Evans Hughes asked the legislature to pass a bill providing for primary elections for each state office except for that of presidential electors. The proposal for primaries became the major issue in the state legislative elections, and the Democrats gained five seats. The following year, Roosevelt and sitting Vice President James S. Sherman each wanted to be the temporary chairman of the New York State Republican convention. Sherman's victory upset the progressive Republicans, highligting divisions within the party. The battle continued into Michigan that summer, where local conventions in the summer became polarized over Roosevelt.

Intra-party tension cost the Republicans in the midterm elections of 1910. In the Senate, the Democrats took ten seats from the Republicans, although the party still held the majority. But Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, defeating 45 incumbent Republicans to move from a 47-vote deficit to a 67 seat majority. In gubernatorial races, the Democrats took Idaho, Maine, and New Jersey while the Republicans took Nebraska, Nevada, and Tennessee. An Independent was elected in Wyoming, taking that seat out of the Republican column.

One of the major goals of the progressives in 1911 was for more primaries. By July 12, at least six states had passed legislation for delegates to the national convention to be chosen in primaries: North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon, New Jersey, and Florida. Progressive Republicans increased their calls for primaries following the off-year election of 1911. On November 11, leading Progressives contacted all Republican state chairmen and asked them to provide for selection of delegates to the upcoming Republican National Convention by primaries.

During the last two months of 1911, Progressive Republican leaders considered their options for the spring primaries. La Follette was gaining endorsements from progressives around the nation, but he many in the party considered him to be too radical for the party. They saw the former President Theodore Roosevelt as a better option. One by one, leading progressives began to announce their support for Roosevelt. On November 21, Roosevelt's name was officially entered into a primary, that of Nebraska. Roosevelt finally announced on December 23 that he would accept the nomination if granted to him, but he said that he would not campaign for it. A couple on months later, in February 1912, that changed when Roosevelt officially began his campaign for the nomination.

Taft, Roosevelt, and La Follette began their battle for delegates in state conventions and continued through the primary season. The first presidential preference primary that year was held in North Dakota on March 19. But by then, Taft was leading in the delegate count with 127 to 10 for his challengers. He had won these delegates not in primaries, but in state conventions where party bosses held considerable influence. Fearing loss of that influence, these bosses opted to support Taft, who wanted to maintain the status quo.

In the first primary, voters who braved the cold in North Dakota on primary day to give La Follette the first official presidential primary victory. The campaign in the state was dominated by the progressives and was almost exclusively a Roosevelt vs. La Follette race. La Follette won the contest by a margin of 57% to 40% for Roosevelt and 3% for Taft. Roosevelt blamed his loss on Democrats who he said had come out to vote for La Follette to embarrass his candidacy.

President Taft's first major victory came in New York's primary on March 26. Just before the vote, the New York Times reported that Taft had won 134 out of the 170 delegates chosen nationwide. New York Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Taft, by roughly a 2-to-1 margin; New York City gave Taft nearly 70% of the vote there. It was an embarrassing loss for Roosevelt in his home state and his second loss in the first two presidential primaries.

Roosevelt changed his strategy following his loss in New York. He announced on March 28 that he intended to run as an independent if he did not win his party's nomination. Roosevelt continued falling further behind in the delegate counts. La Follette won another primary on April 2 in his home state of Wisconsin. There he defeated Taft by a 73–26% margin. Roosevelt missed the filing deadline and only received some write-in votes.

Roosevelt's fortunes began to change with the Illinois primary on April 9. It turned out to be his first primary victory. Roosevelt won 61% of the vote to Taft 29% and La Follette 10%. Roosevelt won every county in the state. In the two weeks following the Illinois primary, Roosevelt won three more states. He defeated Taft by a 60-40% margin in Pennsylvania on April 13. Nebraska and Oregon voted on April 19, and Roosevelt won both of these states by receiving 59% and 40% respectively. Taft eked out a 50–48% win in Massachusetts, but Roosevelt won more delegates even though he placed second. By the end of the month, Roosevelt was leading in delegates chosen in primaries with 179 to 108 for Taft and 36 for La Follette.

Because only 14 states held primaries, Taft had 428 delegates overall while Roosevelt had 204 and La Follette had 36. On June 17, 1912, the Chicago Tribune published a column on the Republican primary entitled, "10 From South Desert Taft for Roosevelt". In this column the writer claimed that five Mississippi delegates and five Georgia delegates announced that they would not be supporting Taft in this second presidential election, and instead would switch their support to Roosevelt. All ten of the delegates signed a statement to this effect.

Roosevelt attacked President Taft in the Chicago Tribune on June 17, 1912 in a column that he authored. In the column Roosevelt wrote about the differences between his delegates and those for Taft. He stated that the delegates Taft had were from territories or states that had never cast a Republican electoral vote or were controlled by federal patronage. Roosevelt described Taft's delegates as follows: "one-eighth of his delegates represent a real sentiment for him and seven-eighths represent nothing whatever but the use of patronage in his interest in certain Democratic states". Roosevelt accused Taft of ruining the Republican Party and said that Taft had no chance of winning the election.

Five states voted in the final four weeks of the primary season. Roosevelt won all five states. He won Maryland 53–47 over Taft. In California, Roosevelt received 55% to Taft's 27% and La Follette's 18%. The major shock of the primary season was Roosevelt's 55–40% defeat of Taft in the President's home state of Ohio on May 21. One week later, Roosevelt won New Jersey, 56–41%. The primary season wrapped up with South Dakota, where Roosevelt won with 55%.

Altogether, Roosevelt won 290 delegates in the primaries to 124 for Taft and 36 for La Follette. Including delegates chosen in party conventions. But that didn't help him going into the convention. Taft had a 566–466 margin, placing him over the 540 needed for nomination. The convention turned out to be a disaster for the Republicans. Roosevelt challenged the credentials of nearly half of the Taft delegates, but Taft was supported by the party establishment. Taft delegations in Alabama, Arizona, and California were accredited on very close votes. After losing California, where Roosevelt had won the primary, the progressive delegates gave up hope. Roosevelt had hoped to form a "stop-Taft" alliance with La Follette, but relations were strained between the two and the alliance could not form.

On the evening of June 22, 1912, Roosevelt asked his supporters to leave the convention. He claimed that Taft had allowed fraudulent seating of delegates to win the presidential nomination and cheat the progressives in the party. Republican progressives reconvened in Chicago and endorsed the formation of a national progressive party. When formally launched later that summer, the new Progressive Party chose Roosevelt as its presidential candidate and Governor Hiram Johnson from California as his running mate. Roosevelt told reporters that he felt as strong as a "bull moose". Thanks to that remark, more people think of Roosevelt at the candidate for the "Bull Moose Party," rather than the Progressives.

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 1960 West Virginia Democratic Primary

The race for the Democratic nomination for President in 1960 was unique as it represented a break from tradition for the party in many ways. In the two previous contests, former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson had been the party's presidential candidate, and each time he had lost badly to Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower was now precluded from seeking a third term as President thanks to the recently adopted twenty-second amendment to the constitution. Republicans tried to continue his legacy by running his Vice-President, Richard Nixon, as their candidate. But it was unclear who his opponent would be.

The major candidates for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination were a young Senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy from Massachusetts, Governor Pat Brown of California, Senator Stuart Symington from Missouri, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson from Texas, Senator Wayne Morse from Oregon, Senator Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota and once again former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson. At the time only 16 states held primaries. Party bosses and establishment held a lot of sway in deciding who the party's candidate would be. A a result, more established candidates like Symington, Stevenson, and Johnson all declined to campaign in the presidential primaries. This reduced their potential delegate count going into the Democratic National Convention, but each hoped that the other contenders would stumble in the primaries, and they could then win the nomination with the help of party bosses in the states that didn't use the primary system.

Kennedy was seen as charismatic and attractive, but he also had his detractors within the party. Some Democratic Party elders such as former United States President Harry S. Truman, that that Kennedy was too young and inexperienced to be president. They thought he might make a good Vice-Presidential candidate for another Democrat, but did not think he was ready to be at the top of the ticket. Kennedy would have none of it, telling media who asked him about this, "I'm not running for vice president, I'm running for president."

Kennedy had another potential problem. As a Roman Catholic, his religion was an issue. Man Democrats still remembered the last time they had run a Catholic as their Presidential candidate. The experience of 1928 Catholic Democratic presidential nominee Al Smith was met by intense anti-Catholic prejudice and many wondered if that would affect Kennedy's chances of winning the nomination and the election in November.

In spite of these reservations, Kennedy gained considerable momentum by winning every primary he entered. He first challenged Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey in the Wisconsin primary, a state which bordered Humphrey's home state of Minnesota. Kennedy defeated Humphrey by a margin of 56% to 44%. Kennedy had two formidable weapons. The first was his family's money and the second was his family itself. Kennedy's attractive siblings and his wife Jacqueline spread out across the state looking for votes. Feeling overwhelmed, Humphrey complained to the media, "I feel like an independent merchant competing against a chain store." Kennedy's margin of victory in the state came almost entirely from Catholic areas.

Attributing Kennedy's victory to support from his fellow Catholics, Humphrey decided to continue the contest in the heavily Protestant state of West Virginia. It was there that the two candidates participated in the first televised debate of 1960. Kennedy knew that in order to secure his party's nomination, he had to win West Virginia's delegates. Losing would give credence to Humphrey's argument that Kennedy could not win in a state where Catholics were not a significant voting block.

Two years earlier, in 1958, Kennedy had commissioned Louis Harris to poll West Virginia voters to see how he would do running against Richard Nixon. Harris reported that Kennedy led his Republican opponent by fourteen points in the state. Encouraged by those numbers, Kennedy had set up what journalist Theodore White called "a shadow operation" in the state. By 1959, his campaign organization had chairpersons in each county. Harris then polled West Virginia Democrats and reported back to Kennedy that he led Humphrey by the overwhelming margin of seventy percent to thirty percent. Kennedy was confident that he had the votes he needed to carry the state.

Initially Kennedy decided that he would not campaign actively there unless Humphrey entered the primary. Humphrey did so, making an early decision to compete with Kennedy for West Virginia. Humphrey believed that his populist Midwestern background and his protestant faith would appeal to voters in that state far more than JFK's polished Ivy League image and his Catholicism. Although Humphrey had recently lost the Wisconsin primary, he believed that his prospects in West Virginia looked promising. Relying on their polling numbers at a time when polling was not as pervasive as it is today, the Kennedy campaign remained confident that their candidate would trounce Humphrey, who could not even carry his next door state.

By this time the issue of Kennedy's religion had entered the electoral discussion. The Humphrey campaign used this to try to erode Kennedy's support in West Virginia. Four weeks before West Virginia primary day, the tactic appeared to be working for Humphrey. Kennedy found himself trailing Humphrey by 20 points. When the campaign asked the county chairs why the voters had switched allegiance, they told him, "No one know you were a Catholic". Sensing that his campaign was in trouble, Kennedy moved his key campaign aides to West Virginia. he called on his close friends to volunteer their time. County campaign chairs in 39 of the state's 59 counties were trained to staff phone banks, host receptions, and go door to door to distribute literature. The candidate changed his schedule to campaign throughout the state. He brought in Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. to endorse his candidacy.

On April 25th Kennedy decided to directly confront the anti-Catholic bias. He began to tell audiences across the state, "I refuse to believe that I was denied the right to be President the day that I was baptized." On May 8th, two days before the election, in a broadcast paid for by the campaign, FDR, Jr. asked JFK how his Catholicism would effect his presidency. Kennedy replied that taking the oath of office required swearing on the Bible that the president would defend separation of church and state and that any candidate that violated this oath not only violated the Constitution but "sinned against God."

The Kennedy campaign began to frame the key issue in the primary as one of tolerance versus intolerance. Kennedy asked West Virginia's voters to remain faithful to their historical revulsion for prejudice. This spin appeared to make Humphrey, who had championed tolerance his entire career, appear intolerant and it put Humphrey on the defensive. Kennedy had a distinct advantage over Humphrey. He had a significant advantage when it came to spending and Humphrey could not match the well-financed Kennedy operation. Humphrey's campaign was low on funds and could not compete for advertising and other "get-out-the-vote" drives

On the day of the primary Kennedy defeated his rival soundly, winning 60.8 percent of the vote. That evening, Humphrey announced that he was no longer a candidate for the presidency. With a victory in West Virginia, Kennedy showed that his being a Catholic was not an impediment to being victorious in a heavily Protestant state.

Kennedy only competed in nine presidential primaries. He won them all, along with his home state of Massachusetts. Kennedy's other leading rivals, Lyndon Johnson and Stuart Symington, had failed to campaign in any primaries. Adlai Stevenson retained a loyal following of party liberals, but his two landslide defeats to President Dwight D. Eisenhower led most party leaders and delegates to consider him as being unelectable. After winning the Oregon primary in late May, Kennedy traveled around the nation speaking to state delegations and their leaders. As the Democratic Convention opened, Kennedy was far in the lead, but was still a few dozen delegates short of the delegate total he needed to win.

Johnson challenged Kennedy to a televised debate before a joint meeting of the Texas and Massachusetts delegations. Kennedy accepted and most observers believed that Kennedy won the debate. Johnson was unable to expand his delegate support. Kennedy won the nomination on the first ballot at the convention.

Potus Geeks Valentine's Day Edition: The Most Romantic First Couples

(Note: This is a republishing of an article posted last Valentine's Day)

A few years ago, potus_geeks polled its members about which first couples loved each other most. Here are the top five in reverse order:

5. Rutherford Hayes and "Lemonade Lucy" Hayes:

These two lovebirds first met in 1847 when both lived in Delaware, Ohio. His mother had encouraged him to get to know Lucy years earlier, but Hayes had believed that since she was 9 years younger than him, she was too young and he decided to date other women. But in 1850 when the two of them were in Cincinnati, Hayes began to spend more time with Lucy. They became engaged in 1851 and got married on December 30, 1852, at the house of Lucy's mother. Lucy was a Methodist, a teetotaler, and an abolitionist. It is believed that she was a strong influence on her husband. Lucy was a vigorous opponent of slavery, and she is said to have contributed to her husband’s decision to abandon the Whig Party in favor of the antislavery Republican Party. When the Civil War began, Hayes joined the 23rd Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry where he was promoted to the rank of Major. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain. During the war Lucy often traveled to visit her husband and would care for wounded soldiers.


As first lady, As First Lady, Hayes brought her zeal and energy to the White House. She was known as "Lemonade Lucy" because of a ban on serving alcohol at the White House. Many blamed her for that, but it was actually her husband who banned the serving of alcoholic beverages at state functions. Lucy Hayes also began the custom of conducting an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. The social highlight of the Hayes's years was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration, at which the President and the First Lady repeated their vows at a White House ceremony before many of the same guests who had attended the original wedding ceremony in Cincinnati.

When Lucy died of a stroke on June 25, 1889, Rutherford Hayes was greatly saddened by his wife's death. He wrote in his diary that "the soul had left [Spiegel Grove]". When Rutherford Hayes died of complications of a heart attack at his home on January 17, 1893, the last words he uttered were "I know that I'm going where Lucy is."

4. James and Sarah Polk:

This one might sound surprising, since James K. Polk wasn't much of a romantic. But the man really loved his wife. The former Sarah Childress met James K. Polk, who had been a former schoolmate of her brother. Her first impression of him was that he was ambitious, earnest, and a rather silent young man. According to some sources, their mutual mentor Andrew Jackson urged Polk to marry Miss Childress, telling him that she was "wealthy, pretty, ambitious and intelligent." It was Sarah encouraged James Polk to run for the state legislature and soon after his election, on January 1, 1824, they were married in her home in Murfreesboro.


Her personality was similar to her husband's in that both were serious, religious, and had a love of politics. Sarah was known to remain behind with the men to talk, rather than retire to the parlor with the ladies. It is said that humor was never a strong point with her (or with her husband). She loved to read and she regularly read the newspapers. She eventually took on the duties of an unpaid secretary to her husband. The Polks had no children, likely due to his problems from the urinary tract operation he had as a teenager. His career became like a surrogate child for Sarah.

From the time he was a Congressman, through to his Presidency, Sarah Polk joined her husband in Washington. She was always at her husband’s side, as his secretary, his confidante, and his unofficial chief of staff. As evidenced by her diary and her letters, she expressed herself freely on all issues, personalities and topics.

When James Polk died on June 15, 1849, his last thoughts were of his wife. Author Walter Borneman wrote of his subject, in his 2008 biography Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency:

"At twenty minutes before five on the afternoon of June 15, 1849, James Knox Polk breathed his last. Reportedly, his final words were 'I love you Sarah, for all eternity, I love you.' Even if this utterance was embellished, there was nothing in Polk's life to suggest that the sentiment behind it was not true."

3. Barack and Michelle Obama:

Michelle Robinson first met Barack Obama when he came to work as a summer associate in June of 1989 at Sidley & Austin. When he returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts to complete Harvard Law School, they continue to correspond and date. They became engaged in 1991 and were married on October 3, 1992 at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He was 31 and she was 28. Their first home was an apartment in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. Barack Obama taught at the University of Chicago law school and worked at a small civil rights law firm.


Michelle Obama is said to have been leery of her husband’s ambition to enter politics because of its instability, but she campaigned for him during his failed 2000 race for U.S. Congress and his successful one for the U.S. Senate in 2004. When Barack Obama was elected president in November of 2008, he thanked his wife for her sacrifices to his career and his reliance on her support. Through the campaign, he frequently referred to her as “the rock” which grounded him and their family.

2. Andrew and Rachel Jackson:

Rachel Jackson (born Rachel Donelson) had been in an unhappy marriage with Captain Lewis Robards, and the couple separated in 1790. Andrew Jackson arrived in Nashville in 1788 and lived as a boarder with Rachel's mother, Rachel Stockley Donelson. In 1791 Jackson and Rachel exchanged marriage vows in a ceremony after believing that Robards had obtained a divorce. However, the divorce had never been completed, making Rachel's marriage to Jackson technically bigamous and therefore invalid. After Rachel's divorce (the first in Kentucky history) was officially completed, Rachel and Jackson remarried in 1794. The two were quite passionate for one another. In 1813 when Andy was off fighting the British en route to becoming the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, Rachel wrote to him, "Do not my Beloved Husband let the love of Country, fame and honor let you forgit you have me Without you I would think them all empty shadows You will say this is not the Language of a Patriot but it is the language of a Faithful wife..."

During the election of 1828, Jackson's political opponents accused Rachel of being a bigamist. Despite the accusations, Jackson won by a margin of 178 to 83 in the electoral college. But the dirty campaign took a toll on poor Rachel. She had been having chest pains throughout the campaign, and she became aggravated by the personal attacks on her marriage. She became ill and died on December 22, 1828, just before the electoral ball for the new President. When Rachel died, Jackson was inconsolable. He refused to believe she was actually dead and insisted that blankets be laid on her body in case she woke up and needed warmth. He built a tomb for her in her flower garden. According to his granddaughter, Rachel Jackson Lawrence, Jackson visited Rachel's grave every night at sunset. He hung her portrait at the foot of his bed so she would be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night, and he once said, "Heaven will be no heaven for me if she is not there."

Jackson blamed his opposition for her death. He accused the John Quincy Adams campaign, and Henry Clay even more so, of causing her death, saying, "I can and do forgive all my enemies. But those vile wretches who have slandered her must look to God for mercy.

Jackson wrote his wife's epitaph, which reads as follows: "Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jackson, who died December 22nd 1828, aged 61. Her face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable, and her heart kind. She delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow-creatures,and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods. To the poor she was a benefactress; to the rich she was an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament. Her pity went hand in hand with her benevolence; and she thanked her Creator for being able to do good. A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor. Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could but transplant her to the bosom of her God."

1. John and Abigail Adams:

John and Abigail usually win every poll about first couples, hands down. The relationship of this couple was a remarkable one, especially considering that, in an age when women were considered almost as chattels, John Adams treated his wife as an equal (at least as much as he was able to within the mores of the times). Abigail in turn was a strong, confident and intelligent adviser to her husband. They were spouses, partners and best friends, and in fact would address one another as "my dearest friend" or "dear partner" in some of their correspondence.

Abigail and John were third cousins and had known each other since they were children. In 1762, John accompanied his friend Richard Cranch to the home of Abigail's father, the Reverand William Smith. Cranch was engaged to Adams' older sister, Mary. According to his account, John was quickly attracted to the petite, shy, 17-year-old brunette Abigail. Cranch describes her as being "forever bent over some book" much to her father's consternation (who apparently considered this to be unladylike.) John Adams was pleasantly surprised to learn that Abigail knew so much about poetry, philosophy and politics, something unusual for a woman at the time.

When John asked William Smith for Abigail's hand in marriage, Smith approved of the match, but Abigail's mother didn't. She described the future second President as "a country lawyer whose manners still reeked of the farm." Abigail was strong-minded and eventually she got her mother to gave in. The couple were married on 25 October 1764, five days before John's 29th birthday, in the Smiths' home in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The bride's father performed the nuptials. After the reception, the couple drove off to a cottage that stood beside the one where John Adams had been born and raised. This became their first home. They moved to Boston in a series of rented homes before buying a large farm, "Peacefield," in 1787, while John Adams was Minister to Great Britain.

This marriage is well documented through the couple's correspondence and other writings. Letters exchanged throughout John's political career suggest that his trust in Abigail's judgement was sincere. In the words of Adams' biograopher David McCullogh "She could quote poetry more readily than could John Adams." Their correspondence is indicative of their mutual emotional and intellectual respect. Perhaps some of the reason for this is because, in the words of one member of this community direcorrector, "it helped that they spent half of their marriage apart!"

Their notion of equality and the forward thinking in their relationship is illustrated in one of the most famous of their letters, one written by Abigail to John when the Declaration of Independence was being composed. Centuries before such an idea would gain acceptance, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband proposing equality for women and perhaps even giving women the vote. She wrote to her husband:

"And by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, desire you will remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and we will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."

Abigail would continue this theme in later correspondence to her husband. While some of this is written tongue-in-cheek, it is clear that this was an important issue to her. She later wrote:

"If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, but you know I have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the sentiment."

There are some other first couples who deserve honorable mention in a list like this. I would certainly send out props to Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Calvin and Grace Coolidge, James and Dolley Madison and Ulysses and Julia Grant. In such a difficult job, a strong, supportive and loving spouse may just be a President's best asset.

John Adams knew that his wife was not writing in jest. He would respond to her "your sentiments of the importance of education of women are exactly agreeable to my own."

The marriage lasted for 54 years. Abigail Adams died three days after their 54th wedding anniversary on October 28, 1818, of typhoid fever. She was two weeks shy of her 74th birthday. Her last words were said to be "Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long."

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 1948 Oregon Republican Primary

By the time the 1948 Republican presidential primaries, came around, the party believed that they were due for a return to the White House. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt had won the last four elections, but Roosevelt was not dead and gone. His successor, Harry Truman, appeared vulnerable, so much so that Truman himself was willing to step aside from the office if popular General Dwight Eisenhower wanted his job. In fact both major parties tried to woo Eisenhower, the most popular general of World War II, to be their candidate in the upcoming election. No one was sure whether Eisenhower was a Democrat or a Republican. It was later discovered that he was a moderate Republican, but in 1948 he flatly refused the nomination of either political party.

In 1948 not every state held a primary or caucus as they do today. Only 12 states held such contests, and the most memorable of those was probably the Oregon Primary, because of the fact that it was the first state to broadcast (by radio) a candidates' debate. After Eisenhower refused to run, the contest for the Republican nomination was between New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey (who had been the party's presidential candidate four years earlier in 1944), former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, General Douglas MacArthur, Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft and California Governor Earl Warren. Dewey was considered to be the front runner when the primaries began. He was seen as the leader of the party's powerful eastern establishment, where most of the money to run campaigns came from. In 1946 he was re-elected Governor of New York by the largest margin in state history. But Dewey was not universally liked by Republicans. He was perceived by many as cold, stiff and condescending.

Senator Robert Taft, the son of former President William Howard Taft, was the leader of the conservative wing of the party. He opened his campaign in 1947 by attacking the Democratic Party's domestic policy and foreign policy. Taft was a non-interventionist who opposed many of the alliances the U.S. government had made with other nations to fight the Cold War with the Soviet Union. He believed that his nation should focus on its own problems and keep its nose out of the business of other nations. On domestic issues, Taft and his fellow conservatives wanted to abolish many of the New Deal social welfare programs that had been created under Roosevelt. They considered these programs to be too expensive and harmful to business interests. But like Dewey, Taft was also not universally liked. Some in his party thought of him as a dull campaigner, and as someone who was too conservative and controversial to be electable.

The most surprising candidate of 1948 was Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota politics. Stassen had been elected Governor of Minnesota at the age of 31. He resigned as governor in 1943 in order to serve in the United States Navy in World War II. In 1945 he had served on the committee which created the United Nations. Stassen was seen as the most liberal of the Republican candidates. But he turned out not to be a good campaigner, and he was criticized for being too vague on many issues. The contrast was especially striking when Stassen was compared to the plain-spoken President Harry Truman.

Stassen stunned Dewey in the Wisconsin and Nebraska primaries in April of 1948, and he soon became seen as the front runner in the race. But he lost momentum in earl May when he made the mistake of trying to beat Senator Taft in Taft's home state of Ohio. By challenging Taft in Taft's home state, Stassen upset his party's conservatives.

Despite this setback, Stassen was still ahead of Dewey in the polls as the upcoming Oregon primary approached on May 21st. Dewey understood that a defeat in Oregon would likely end his chances at the nomination. He sunk a lot of money and manpower into the state and he also took a political gamble. He agreed to a debate with Stassen in Oregon on national radio. This was the first-ever radio debate between presidential candidates. The sole topic of the debate concerned whether to outlaw the Communist Party in the United States.

Stassen, despite his liberal reputation, decided to argue in favor of outlawing the party. Dewey, who had earned a reputation as a crime-busting prosecutor, took the opposite position. The debate was held on May 17, 1948, in a Portland, Oregon radio studio, with about fifty reporters present. The broadcast was carried on hundreds of stations, and heard by a nationwide audience estimated at forty million. It was a pivotal moment in the campaign as the Oregon primary would be the final contest before Republicans met for their convention in Philadelphia, in late June, to choose a nominee.

Senator Robert A. Taft, and popular California Governor Earl Warren decided not to do any campaigning in the state. General Douglas MacArthur was still in Japan, where he was the American proconsul. The primaries didn't award enough delegates to nominate a candidate, but they were an important way of getting attention for a candidate and giving him the appearance of momentum. Oregon became a showdown between Dewey and Stassen.

The format of the radio debate resembled a high-school debate and was nothing like contemporary political debates. The candidates were given a single question, one that was relevant in light of the post-war Red Scare. The question the candidates were asked to argue was “Shall the Communist Party of the United States be outlawed?” Each candidate delivered a potted twenty-minute speech on the topic, with eight and a half minutes reserved for rebuttals. Stassen took the affirmative. He argued that the domestic party was “directed by the rulers of the foreign power” in the Kremlin. The not-yet-famous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, who in early 1950 would accuse the State Department of harboring a large nest of Communist spies and traitors, was in Portland as a Stassen supporter.

Dewey, the former Manhattan district attorney, took the other side. He cited the Bill of Rights. He said in his remarks, “We know that if we will always keep every idea that’s bad out in the open, we will lick it.” At one point Dewey famously stated that "you can't shoot an idea with a gun." An audio version of the debate still exists, and it sounds rather boring by modern standards. But Dewey was judged to be more persuasive.

Dewey went on to win the Oregon primary and his party's presidential nomination on the third ballot at the convention that summer, in Philadelphia. In Oregon he narrowly defeated Stassen by a margin of 51.79% to 47.56%. Republicans in 1948 thought that they had an excellent chance of defeating President Truman. So did practically all of the news media. But as things turned out, Truman rallied for a surprising upset victory, perhaps the most surprising until 2016. Dewey’s defeat in 1948 haunted the Republican Party. Second guessing about whether Dewey was he too liberal, too eastern, or too effete may have played a role into pushing the party to its present position on the conservative end of the ideological spectrum, with the subsequent candidacies of men like Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

On February 12, 1809 (211 years ago today) Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). He is ranked by many as the greatest President and almost everyone places him in the top three. His brilliant leadership through the Civil War and the tragedy of his assassination, as well as his enduring oratory and wit make Lincoln precisely what he was described by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton at the time of his death, as someone who belongs to the ages.

Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his death on April 15, 1865. Lincoln successfully led the nation through its greatest constitutional, military, domestic and moral crisis – the Civil War, which resulted in his goal of preserving the Union.

Lincoln was raised in a poor family on the western frontier and was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, an Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s. After a series of debates in 1858 that gave him a national profile and brought his opposition to the expansion of slavery to prominence, Lincoln lost a Senate race to his opponent Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln, a moderate from what was then a swing state, secured the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860. With almost no support in the South, Lincoln swept the North and was elected president in 1860, with less than 40% of the popular vote. His election was the signal for seven southern slave states to declare their secession from the Union and form the Confederacy. The departure of the Southerners gave Lincoln's party firm control of Congress, but no formula for compromise or reconciliation with the south was found. When the North rallied behind the national flag after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort. His goal was to reunite the nation. As the South was in a state of insurrection, Lincoln exercised his authority to suspend habeas corpus, arresting and temporarily detaining thousands of suspected secessionists without trial.

Lincoln's efforts toward the abolition of slavery include issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery (mostly as a war policy). This led to Congress passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which finally freed all the slaves nationwide in December 1865. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including his commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln brought leaders of the major factions of his party into his cabinet (forging what historian Doris Kearns Goodwin would term a "team of rivals") and got them to cooperate. Under Lincoln's leadership, the Union set up a naval blockade that shut down the South's normal trade, took control of the border slave states at the start of the war, gained control of communications with gunboats on the southern river systems, and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865.

An exceptionally astute politician, Lincoln reached out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election under the banner of the coalition "National Union" Party. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln found his policies and personality were attached from all sides: Radical Republicans demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats desired more compromise, Copperheads (northerners wanting a negotiated peace) despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists plotted his death. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness.

Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln's death was the first assassination of a U.S. president and it sent the nation into mourning. Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents. For many he was the greatest of all.

Throughout the destruction and carnage of the war, Lincoln maintained his compassion, his humanity and his love of the common man. He was not vindictive and approved generous terms of peace when the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia was imminent. It is Lincoln's magnanimity, his compassion and his empathy that are very relevant today and sorely needed. His demonstration of these qualities in the most difficult of times make Lincoln relevant today.

Throughout what was likely the worst period in his nation's history, Lincoln maintained his humor and his his kindness. He took his job very seriously, but he did not take himself seriously. These are qualities that are crucial to strong leadership because they put the people ahead of ego and personal prosperity. They are needed now perhaps more than ever. It is Lincoln's humility and his his humanity that provide an outstanding example of what true leadership is and continue to make him very relevant today.

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 2020 New Hampshire Democratic Primary

Last night the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary was held, and with 95% of the polls reporting, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders finished in first place in the popular vote, while Sanders and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg each won 9 of the state's 24 delegates to the Democratic Party's nominating convention. Among the leading candidates, here's how the voting went:

This far Sanders has finished first in the popular vote in both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. There have been a number of surprises in the campaign thus far, including the strong finish of Buttigieg (who is in first place in delegates won this far) and the poor performance of former Vice-President Joe Biden. Biden, the candidate with the greatest name recognition, finished in fifth place and received 8.4% of the popular vote reported this far, well short of the 15% required to win delegates. Another surprise was the strong third place finish of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, the only other candidate to win any delegates, aside from the first two finishers. Klobuchar's better than expected finish has assisted her in raising the funds necessary to continue her campaign. Klobuchar's campaign manager Justin Buoen has reported that Klobuchar's campaign has raised $2.5 million since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Klobuchar previously raised $2 million in the 24 hours after the Democratic debate this past Friday.

In his victory speech, Sanders thanked the crowd for his victory and credited his win to the tireless work of his numerous volunteers. He called his victory "the beginning of the end for Donald Trump." He went on to predict victory in the next two contests, the Nevada Caucuses on February 22nd and the South Carolina Primary on February 29th. Sanders also congratulated his opponents, pledging his support for the eventual nominee of the party, even if that person isn't him. He told the crowd, "No matter who wins, and we certainly hope it's going to be us, we're going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country."

Pete Buttigieg also congratulated his fellow Democratic contenders, and commented at the remarkable distance that his campaign has come. He told the crowd, "Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay." He also thanked New Hampshire voters for their level of engagement in the primary, saying "So many of you turned out — diehard Democrats, Independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines and even some newly former Republicans — ready to vote for something new, ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we call in instead of who we push out. So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership. So many of you decided that a middle-class mayor and a veteran from the industrial Midwest was the right choice to take on this president not in spite of that experience but because of it."

Buttigieg congratulated Sanders for his strong showing in New Hampshire, but couldn't resist a subtle shot at the Sanders' advanced age, stating that he "admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student." Buttigieg went on to portray himself as the candidate who can unite the political factions. He once again subtly criticized the elder statesmen in the race by telling the crowd "most Americans don't see where they fit in" when presented with the choice of either revolution or status quo, an apparent knock on Sanders and Biden. He added, "We cannot defeat the most divisive president in modern history by tearing down anyone who doesn't agree with us 100% of the time."

Two candidates for the Democratic nomination dropped out of the race for the nomination: businessman Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

The next contest will be the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, February 22, beginning at noon Pacific time. Nevada Democrats have abandoned plans to use Shadow Inc., the vendor for a vote-reporting app that performed so poorly in Iowa. Unlike Iowa, Nevada has early voting. Iowa didn’t have any early voting, but Nevada is going to try to include it into the caucus process by using ranked-choice ballots by early voters submitted in advance. And in another twist that could only occur in the gambling state, ties in the delegate allocation process will be resolved by, and I'm not kidding about this, drawing cards. High card wins.
Three sets of results, again

Three sets of results will ultimately be reported:

1) The pre-realignment vote total: The initial tally of how many people prefer each candidate at each of the many precinct caucus sites, and the first-preference choices among all early votes. They are all added together for a statewide total.
2) The final vote total: After the first tally, any supporters of a candidate who got less than a certain threshold of the vote in a precinct (15 percent in most cases) can shift their support to another candidate. Candidates who are below the viability threshold are eliminated as “nonviable,” and a new and final tally of only viable candidates is taken.
3) County delegates: Finally, the final vote total in each precinct is then used to assign each viable candidate a certain number of county delegates.

In Iowa, results had Sanders winning the initial vote tally by a few percentage points, winning the final vote tally more narrowly, and barely losing the delegate tally to Buttigieg. A similar outcome could conceivably happen in Nevada as well.

The early voting period in Nevada goes from February 15 to 18. The most recent polling numbers for the Nevada Democratic Party race have Joe Biden ahead of Sanders by 3.5%, but those polls were taken in mid January, before the Iowa Caucuses, so those numbers are likely meaningless today.

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: The 1980 New Hampshire Democratic Primary

History shows that when an incumbent President is challenged for his own party's nomination for President, he is usually destined to be defeated in the general election. Examples of this can be found in the case of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. In 1980, an unpopular incumbent President Jimmy Carter was facing the daunting prospect of running for re-election. The campaign would become a referendum on his leadership, and there were plenty of problems in the nation, both domestically and internationally.


Iran was experiencing a major uprising that severely damaged its capability to produce oil, contributing to an oil crisis that subjected gas prices in the United States and elsewhere to rampant inflation. In January 1979, shortly after Iran's leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country, Iranian opposition leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from a 14-year exile. He installed an Islamist régime that was hostile towards the United States. In the spring and summer of 1979 inflation was on the rise and various parts of the country were experiencing energy shortages. Lines at the gas pumps grew longer and longer and President Carter was blamed for the problem.

Carter's approval ratings were very low. Gallup polling put them at 28%. Some other polls had them even lower. In July, Carter returned from Camp David and announced that he was reshuffling of his cabinet. In a national television address, he delivered a very pessimistic speech whose downcast demeanor resulted in it being called the "malaise speech" by the pundits. The speech caused a brief upswing in the president's approval rating, but his decision to dismiss his cabinet members was widely seen as an act of desperation, causing his approval rating to plummet back into the twenties. Some Democrats feared that their party would suffer an electoral disaster unless there was a new name at the top of the ticket. felt it worth the risk to mount a challenge to Carter in the primaries. Potential replacements for Carter included New York Governor Hugh Carey and Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, but they decided not to run. Carter was challenged for the nomination however, and the challenger was Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

The youngest of the Kennedy brothers, Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy had been asked to take his brother Robert Kennedy’s place at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, after Robert Kennedy's assassination in June of that year. He refused to run. When he ran for Senate Majority Whip in 1969, many believed that this would be a springboard for a run for the White House in 1972. But his popularity suffered greatly following the notorious Chappaquiddick incident.

On the night of July 18, 1969, Kennedy was at Chappaquiddick Island on the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. He was hosting a party for a group of young women known as the "Boiler Room Girls", a group that had worked on his brother Robert's 1968 presidential campaign. Kennedy left the party with one of the women, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. He was driving a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88, and he was believed to have been drinking. As he attempted to cross the Dike Bridge, which did not have a guardrail at that time. Kennedy lost control of his vehicle and crashed in the Poucha Pond inlet, a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy escaped from the overturned vehicle. He later said that he dove below the surface seven or eight times in an attempt to rescue Kopechne. He ultimately swam to shore and left the scene. Kopechne was trapped inside the vehicle. What was very troubling was that Kennedy did not report the accident to authorities until the next morning. By this time, Kopechne's body had already been discovered. Kennedy's cousin Joe Gargan later said that both he and Kennedy's friend Paul Markham had urged Kennedy to report it at the time, but Kennedy refused to do so until the next morning.

A week after the incident, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. He was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail. That night, he gave a national broadcast in which he said, "I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately". He denied driving under the influence of alcohol and also denied that there was any immoral conduct between him and Kopechne. Kennedy asked the Massachusetts electorate whether he should stay in office or resign; after getting a favorable response in messages sent to him, Kennedy announced on July 30 that he would remain in the Senate and run for re-election the next year.

The Chappaquiddick incident prevented Kennedy from running for President in 1972 and 1976. Many believed that Chappaquiddick had destroyed any chances he had to win on a national level. Despite this, in the summer of 1979, Kennedy consulted with his extended family. That fall he allowed rumors to spread that he might challenge Carter for the nomination in 1980. Gallup polling showed him beating the president by a margin of over two to one.

Kennedy’s official announcement was scheduled for early November. His campaign got off to a terrible start. In a television interview with Roger Mudd of CBS a few days before the announcement, Kennedy gave an incoherent, rambling and repetitive answer to the question of why he was running. Polls which had showed him leading Carter by 58-25 in August now had him ahead 49-39. Carter presented an image of confidence. When told of the Kennedy challenge, Carter snapped to reporters: "I'll whip his ass." Labor unions had urged Kennedy to run, as did some Democratic party officials who feared that Carter's unpopularity could result in heavy losses in the 1980 congressional elections. (Below is a video of Kennedy's answer given to Roger Mudd).

Carter was still very unpopular, but he enjoyed a momentary uptake in his popularity. The Khomeini régime had supported the kidnapping of 52 American hostages by a group of Islamist students and militants at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. At first Carter’s approval ratings jumped in the 60-percent range in some polls, due to a "rally ‘round the flag" effect. Americans seemed to initially appreciate Carter's calm handling of the crisis. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began on December 27. It also prompted Americans to get behind their president and allowed Carter to remain at the White House and appear presidential, while keeping Kennedy's campaign out of the headlines

Kennedy suddenly fell behind the President in popularity. Carter beat Kennedy decisively in the Iowa Caucuses on January 21, 1980, by a lopsided margin of 59.16% to 31.23%. Kennedy was hoping to rebound in New Hampshire. It was a New England State and Kennedy was a New Englander. Kennedy's fundraising efforts took a hit after Iowa and his campaign had to downsize. He remained defiant, saying "We'll see who is going to whip whose what."

But Kennedy never found the momentum he had hoped for in New Hampshire. After Iowa he lost the Maine Caucuses to Carter on February 10 by a narrow margin of 43.6% to 40.2%. In New Hampshire on February 26, the defeat was worse. Even though Carter did little campaigning in the state, the President still defeated Kennedy by nearly 10% (47.08% to 37.30%). On March 4, Carter won the primaries in neighboring Vermont by nealy a three to one margin (73.08% to 25.53%). The same day, Kennedy won his home state of Massachusetts as expected, for his first primary or caucus victory.

The race began to change later, as impatience began to build with the President’s strategy on Iran. Kennedy scored primary victories in New York and Connecticut. His campaign gained even more momentum after Carter's attempt to rescue the hostages on April 25 ended in disaster. Kennedy used the incident to cast more doubt on Carter's leadership ability. But even after Kennedy won the key states of California and New Jersey in June, Carter still managed to hold a significant lead in delegates, winning 28 state primaries, compared to 15 for Kennedy. Despite this, Kennedy refused to drop out, and the 1980 Democratic National Convention was one of the nastiest on record.

On the second last day of the convention, Kennedy conceded the nomination. In a memorable speech, he called for a more liberal party platform. Many Democrats considered this to be the best speech of his career. On the stage on the final day, Kennedy for the most part ignored Carter. He shook the president's hand only after it was physically directed towards Carter by house speaker Tip O'Neill, also from Massachusetts.


Kennedy is the last person to defeat an incumbent president in a statewide primary for that President's own party.