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Thursday, August 28, 2003
Another Comment on Clark
By Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

Comments in the post below on Clark raise the following that is worth considering as well: since the adoption of the current primary system for nominating presidential candidates (in 1972) there has been no political neophyte (defined as not holding prior elected office) able to capture a major party nomination:

2000: Gov Bush v. VP Gore
1996: Pres Clinton v. Sen Dole
1992: Pres Bush v Gov Clinton
1988: VP Bush v. Gov Dukakis
1984: VP Mondale v. Pres Reagan
1980: Pres Carter v. Gov Reagan
1976: Pres Ford v. Gov Carter
1972: Pres Nixon v. Sen McGovern

and even before the modern primary system was established, you have to go back to 1952 (fifty years ago) and Dwight Eisenhower to find a political newcomer being nominated (and elected):

1968: Sen McCarthy (brain fade) VP Humphrey v. VP Nixon
1964: Pres Johnson v. Sen Goldwater
1960: VP Nixon v. Sen Kennedy
1956: Pres Eisenhower v. Gov Stevenson
1952: General Eisenhower v. Gov Stevenson

Now, before people say: “see! it was a GENERAL! It proves Clark has a significant shot!” let’s remember: being the victorious Supreme Commander of Allied Forces after World War II, and being a global hero, is a tad more impressive than being the commander of NATO who oversaw the Kosovo campaign. I am not denigrating General Clark’s career, but one has to admit, those are two rather different resumes.

And one can keep going:

1948: Pres Truman v. Gov. Dewey
1944: Pres FDR v. Gov Dewey

Then you get to 1940 and Republican nominee Wendell Wilkie, who was drafted from the business community to run against FDR. He lost.

In 1936 and 1932 it was Gov’s v Presidents.

In 1928 Herbert Hoover won the Presidency, despite not holding prior elected office, although he had served as Secretary of Commerce in both the Harding and Coolidge administrations and had other governmental service on his resume. He beat a Governor (Alfred Smith) in 1928, before being beaten by a Governor (FDR) in 1932.

This historical pattern, amongst several key other reasons, is why I am of the informed opinion that Clark is a longshot at best. Ther is no denying that he has an impressive military career, but that simply isn’t enough.

Filed under: US Politics | |Send TrackBack


  1. 1968: Sen McCarthy v. VP Nixon????

    er, Sen. McCarthy did not get the nomination. It was sitting Vice-President Humphrey v. VP Nixon v. Gov. Wallace.

    Comment by Leroy — Thursday, August 28, 2003 @ 5:13 pm

  2. Thanks for the correction. I know it was Humrphrey. I guess the whole early primary thing sticks in my head.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, August 28, 2003 @ 5:36 pm

  3. No problem, I was just trying to help jog your memory is all. Heck, it was pretty impressive carrying it back as far as you did from memory (as I assume you did). And your point about Gen. Clark is well taken, for that same pattern of insider, or rather professional politician, being at the head of the ticket pretty much goes back to the beginning of presidential elections.

    Comment by Leroy — Thursday, August 28, 2003 @ 6:10 pm

  4. Thansk.

    I had ‘em by memeory until I got back into the FDR races. And I did have to confirm the careers starting with Stevenson–I couldn’t remember if he was a gov or a senator.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, August 28, 2003 @ 8:51 pm

  5. Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday, August 10, 2004 @ 2:57 pm

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