Friday, October 19, 2012

Two More McGovern Cartoons

I finally located the folders with my cartoons from 1983 and before, and found George McGovern in two more cartoons about the early race for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination.

Fair warning: both cartoons reference death, so I hope people don't find them in bad taste today. The first cartoon is from September, 1983, imagining Democrats' response to the announcement of McGovern's third try for the presidency:
The state of the race at the time was that former Vice President Walter Mondale was the front runner with the support of organized labor and a number of other interest groups. Ohio Senator John Glenn was a more centrist alternative, while California Senator Alan Cranston and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson were competing for the party's far left. Some of the party faithful held out hope that Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy would change his mind and run a second time, and there were Senators from Colorado, and South Carolina and a former Governor of Florida (Gary Hart, Fritz Hollings, and Reuben Askew) who were trying to get some attention.

McGovern's bid for the 1984 nomination was doomed from the start. In recent history, Democrats have shunned any of their candidates for president who had previously run and lost (although Teddy Kennedy could have easily been an exception had he tried in '84).

It hasn't always been this way: Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland for a third time in 1892 after he had been thrown out of office in 1888; and Williams Jennings Bryan won three out of the next four Democratic nominations. Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson for a rematch against Eisenhower in 1956; and if it weren't for the McGovern rule changes of 1968, Hubert Humphrey might have been a shoo-in for the nomination in 1972 or 1976.

As the nominating process stands since -- and even including -- 1968, the only way for a failed Democratic candidate to win the Democratic nomination is to have served as Vice President in the meantime. The examples of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Al Gore do not bode well for Joe Biden.

Back to George McGovern. He is only an extra in the cartoon below, but it might have some resonance for Republicans today. Democrats felt they had an opening to unseat President Ronald Reagan because the economy had been in recession since 1981. By December of 1983, however, all reports indicated that the recession was over.
If you missed the cartoon from December, 1983 (published in January), my earlier blog post is here.

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