Others in the cartoon-rehashing game have a much better recollection of the 1968 presidential election than I, so this won't be a comprehensive retrospective by any means. So much of what I do remember is actually Frank Gorshin's and David Frye's impressions of the candidates. Here goes anyway.
|"I Think We Can Start Bringing Them Home Soon" by Pat Oliphant in Denver Post, September, 1968|
The #1 issue of interest to those 18- to 20-year-olds had to be the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam. They couldn't vote for president, but they did have to answer to their draft board.
President Lyndon Johnson's vice president, Hubert Humphrey, had won his party's presidential nomination. His long liberal record, at the 1948 Democratic Convention and as lead author of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was overshadowed by his association with Johnson and the war. He tried to promise to bring an end to U.S. involvement in Vietnam, only to be publicly contradicted by Johnson and Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford. (Laird in Oliphant's cartoon is Wisconsin Congressman Melvin Laird, who would become Richard Nixon's first Secretary of Defense.)
|"Anchored" by Tom "Obadiah" Curtis in National Review, October 22, 1968|
|"Making Like a Dove" by Roy Justus in Minneapolis Star, August, 1968|
|"The Newer Than New Nixon" by Robert Zschiesche in Greensboro Daily News, October, 1968|
|"The Fraidycat" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 24, 1968|
|"Measuring Up" by Ranan Lurie in Life, October, 1968|
|"Foreign and Domestic" by Herblock in Washington Post, October, 1968|
|"There Seems to Be More Than a Dime's Worth of Difference..." by Bill Sanders in Milwaukee Journal, October 25, 1968|
Mitchell's running mate wouldn't be old enough to serve as Vice President until 1980, and Cleaver (also not yet 35 years old) fled the country after a shoot-out between police and Black Panthers in Oakland, California. But then, getting elected was never really the point of their candidacies.
|"Out of the Running," unsigned (perhaps Ted Shearer), in The Afro American, Baltimore MD, October 19, 1968|
"Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver and Mrs. Charlene Mitchell are all doomed to defeat this year, and all of them know it. Their exercises in futility would be more tolerable as means of protests against ills in the society in some other election year. ...As it was, their campaigns, even lumped in with votes for comedian Pat Paulsen and comic strip characters Pogo and Snoopy, were not enough to throw any state from one of the front runners to another.
"The danger is that some voters, frustrated with conditions as they are or wishing to make an individual protest also, may throw away valuable votes."
|"Remind Me to Get That Fixed" by Dan Dowling, Kansas City Star,|
But since fewer than 500,000 votes separated Humphrey and Nixon, who can say how Wallace's 9.9 million would have divided up without him?
And yet, 50 years later, with one election decided by the Supreme Court, and two awarded to the second-place candidate, we still haven't fixed our cuckoo electoral vote system.