United States presidential election, 1968
|Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Nixon/Agnew, Blue denotes those won by Humphrey/Muskie. Orange denotes states won by Wallace/LeMay, as well as a faithless elector from North Carolina who cast his electoral vote for Wallace/LeMay instead of Nixon/Agnew. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.|
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, won the election over the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the nation's cities, torn by riots and crime.
Analysts have argued the election of 1968 is a realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, the election saw the incumbent president forced out of the race and a Republican elected for the first time in twelve years. It was a wrenching national experience, conducted during a year of violence that included the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and subsequent race riots across the nation, the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, widespread opposition to the Vietnam War across university campuses, and violent confrontations between police and anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as the Democratic party split again and again.
The election featured the strongest segregation in public schools - a position which gained much popularity in his home state, and across much of the Deep South.
This was the last election in which New York had the most votes in the electoral college (43 votes). After the 1970 census, California gained the most electoral votes and has remained the most populous state since then. This was also the last election where at least one state was carried by a third-party candidate. (John Hospers received an electoral vote in the next election but did not win Virginia).
This is the most recent election where the victorious national ticket failed to carry the vice presidential candidate's home state. It is also the first (and as of 2012 only) election where an incumbent vice president ran against a former vice president for the presidency.
- Historical background 1
Democratic Party nomination 2.1
- Candidates gallery 2.1.1
- Enter Eugene McCarthy 2.1.2
- Johnson withdraws 2.1.3
- Contest 2.1.4
- Democratic Convention and antiwar protests 2.1.5
- Endorsements 2.1.6
Republican Party nomination 2.2
- Candidates gallery 2.2.1
- Primaries 2.2.2
- Republican Convention 2.2.3
- George Wallace and the American Independent Party 2.3
- Other parties and candidates 2.4
- Democratic Party nomination 2.1
General election 3
- Campaign strategies 3.1
- Campaign themes 3.2
- Humphrey's comeback and the October surprise 3.3
- Election 3.4
- Results by state 4.1.1
- Close states 4.2
- Results 4.1
- National voter demographics 5.1
- Voter demographics in the South 5.2
- See also 6
- Sources 7
- Notes 8
- Further reading 9
- External links 10
In the election of 1964, incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won the largest popular vote landslide in U.S. Presidential election history over Republican Barry Goldwater. During the presidential term that followed, Johnson was able to achieve many political successes, including the passage of his sweeping Great Society domestic programs (also known as the "War on Poverty"), landmark civil rights legislation, and the continued exploration of space. At the same time, however, the country endured large-scale race riots in the streets of its larger cities, along with a generational revolt of young people and violent debates over foreign policy. The emergence of the hippie counterculture, the rise of New Left activism, and the emergence of the Black Power movement exacerbated social and cultural clashes between classes, generations, and races. Every summer since 1964, major cities erupted in massive race riots that left hundreds dead or injured and destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars in property. Adding to the national crisis, on April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, igniting further mass rioting and chaos, including Washington, D.C., where there was rioting within just a few blocks of the White House and machine guns were stationed on the Capitol steps to protect it.
The most important reason for the precipitous decline of President Johnson's popularity was the Vietnam War, which he greatly escalated during his time in office. By late 1967, over 500,000 American soldiers were fighting in Vietnam. Draftees made up 42 percent of the military in Vietnam, but suffered 58% of the casualties as nearly 1000 Americans a month were killed and many more were injured. Johnson's position was particularly damaged when the national news media began to focus on the high costs and ambiguous results of escalation, despite his repeated efforts to downplay the seriousness of the situation.
In early January 1968, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara stated that the war would be winding down as the North Vietnamese were losing their will to fight, but shortly thereafter, they launched the Tet Offensive, in which the North Vietnamese and Communist Vietcong forces launched simultaneous attacks on all government strongholds in South Vietnam. The Tet episode led many Americans to ponder whether the war was winnable or worth it. In addition, they felt they could not trust their government's assessment and reporting of the war effort. The Pentagon called for sending several hundred thousand more soldiers to Vietnam. Johnson's approval ratings fell below 35%, and the Secret Service refused to let the president make public appearances on the campuses of American colleges and universities, due to his extreme unpopularity among college students. The Secret Service also prevented Johnson from appearing at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, because it could not guarantee his safety from assassination.
Democratic Party nomination
- Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Vice President, from Minnesota
- Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. senator from New York and former Attorney General (assassinated)
- Eugene McCarthy, U.S. senator from Minnesota
- South Dakota
- Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States, from Texas
of South Dakota
Enter Eugene McCarthy
Because Lyndon Johnson had been elected to the presidency only once, in 1964, and had served less than two full years of the term before that, the 22nd Amendment did not disqualify him from running for another term; Johnson had served only 12 months following the assassination of John F. Kennedy before being elected in 1964 to a full term. As a result, it was widely assumed when 1968 began that President Johnson would run for another term, and that he would have little trouble winning the Democratic nomination.
Despite growing opposition to Johnson's policies in Vietnam, it appeared that no prominent Democratic candidate would run against a sitting president of his own party. It was also accepted at the beginning of the year that Johnson's record of domestic accomplishments would overshadow public opposition to the Vietnam War and that he would easily boost his public image after he started campaigning. Even Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, an outspoken critic of Johnson's policies with a large base of support, initially declined to run against Johnson in the primaries. Poll numbers also suggested that a large share of Americans who opposed the Vietnam War felt the growth of the anti-war hippie movement among younger Americans was not helping their cause. On January 30, however, claims by the Johnson administration that a recent troop surge would soon bring an end to the war were severely discredited when the Tet Offensive broke out. While the American military was eventually able to fend off the attacks, and also inflict heavy losses among the communist opposition, the ability of the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong to launch large scale attacks during the Tet Offensive's long duration greatly weakened American support for the military draft and further combat operations in Vietnam.
In time, only Senator I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President." Not discussed publicly at the time was Johnson's concern he might not survive another term—Johnson's health was poor, and he had suffered a serious heart attack in 1955 while serving in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, he died on January 22, 1973, only two days after the new presidential term would have concluded. Bleak political forecasts also contributed to Johnson's withdrawal; internal polling by Johnson's campaign in Wisconsin, the next state to hold a primary election, showed the President trailing badly.
Historians have debated just why Johnson quit a few days after his weak showing in New Hampshire. Shesol says Johnson wanted out of the White House but also wanted vindication; when the indicators turned negative he decided to leave. Gould says that Johnson had neglected the party, was hurting it by his Vietnam policies, and underestimated McCarthy's strength until the very last minute, when it was too late for Johnson to recover. Woods said Johnson realized he needed to leave in order for the nation to heal. Dallek says that Johnson had no further domestic goals, and realized that his personality had eroded his popularity. His health was not good, and he was preoccupied with the Kennedy campaign; his wife was pressing for his retirement and his base of support continue to shrink. Leaving the race would allow him to pose as a peacemaker. Bennett, however, says Johnson, "had been forced out of a reelection race in 1968 by outrage over his policy in Southeast Asia.
It has also been reported that Johnson decided to wind down his re-election bid after popular and influential CBS News anchor
- The Election Wall's 1968 Election Video Page
- 1968 popular vote by counties
- 1968 popular vote by states
- 1968 popular vote by states (with bar graphs)
- Campaign commercials from the 1968 election
- How close was the 1968 election? at the Wayback Machine (archived August 25, 2012) — Michael Sheppard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- "LBJ Tapes Implicate Nixon With Treason". ABC News. December 5, 2008, (video).
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (1987). Nixon: The Education of a Politician: 1962-1972.
- Brown, Stuart Gerry. The Presidency on Trial: Robert Kennedy's 1968 Campaign and Afterwards. U. Press of Hawaii, 1972. 155 pp.
- Burner, David and West, Thomas R. The Torch Is Passed: The Kennedy Brothers and American Liberalism. (1984). 307 pp.
- Carter, Dan T. (1995). The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics.
- Chester, Lewis, Godfrey Hodgson and Bruce Page. An American Melodrama - The Presidential Campaign of 1968 (1969), highly detailed report by British journalists
- Converse, Philip E.; Miller, Warren E.; Rusk, Jerrold G.; Wolfe, Arthur C. "Continuity And Change In American Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1968 Election." American Political Science Review 1969 63(4): 1083-1105. in JSTOR
- Gallup, George H., ed. The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion, 1935-1971. 3 vols. Random House, 1972. press releases;
- Lewis, Chester; Hodgson, Godfrey; Page, Bruce (1969). An American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968. Viking Press.
- Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1991). Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. St. Martin's Press.
- Gould, Lewis L. (1993). 1968: The Election that Changed America. Ivan R. Dee.
- Herzog, Arthur. McCarthy for President (1969)
- Farber, David (1988). Chicago '68. University of Chicago Press.
- Humphrey, Hubert H. (1976). The Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics. Doubleday.
- Jamieson, Patrick E. "Seeing the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidency through the March 31, 1968 Withdrawal Speech." Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol 29#1 1999 pp. 134+
- Kimball, Warren F. "The Election of 1968." Diplomatic History 2004 28(4): 513–528. ISSN 0145-2096 Fulltext online in SwetsWise, Ingenta and Ebsco. Comments by others at pp. 563–576; reply, p. 577.
- Kogin, Michael (Spring 1966). "Wallace and the Middle Class". Public Opinion Quarterly 30 (1).
- LaFerber, Walter. The Deadly Bet: LBJ, Vietnam, and the 1968 Election (2005) short survey
- Lesher, Stephan. George Wallace: American Populist. (1994). 587 pp.
- McCarthy, Eugene. The Year of the People (1969), memoir
- McGinniss, Joe (1969). The Selling of the President 1968. Trident Press.
- Mayer, Jeremy D. "Nixon Rides the Backlash to Victory: Racial Politics in the 1968 Presidential Campaign," Historian (2002) 64#3 pp 351–366.
- Nelson, Michael. Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (University Press of Kansas; 2014) 360 pages
- Nixon, Richard (1978). RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. ; primary source
- Richardson, Darcy G. (2002). A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign.
- Rising, George (1997). Clean for Gene: Eugene McCarthy's 1968 Presidential Campaign. Praeger Publishers.
- Savage, Sean J. (2004). JFK, LBJ, and the Democratic Party. SUNY Albany Press.
- Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (1978). Robert Kennedy and His Times. Houghton Mifflin.
- Shesol, Jeff. Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade (1997)
- Small, Melvin. "The Election of 1968," Diplomatic History (2004) 28#4 pp 513–528, analysis of foreign-policy issues
- Solberg, Carl. Hubert Humphrey (2003), scholarly biography excerpt and text search
- Time. "Wallace's Army: The Coalition Of Frustration," Oct 18, 1968Time
- Unger, Irwin; Debi Unger, Debi (1988). Turning Point: 1968. Scribner's.
- White, Theodore H. (1969). The Making of the President—1968. Atheneum. , famous report by American journalist
- Woods, Randall. LBJ: Architect of American Ambition (2006)
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Although he was born in California and he served as a U.S. Senator from California, in 1968 Richard Nixon's official state of residence was New York, having moved there to practice law after his defeat in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. During his first term as president, Nixon re-establlished his residency in California. Consequently, most reliable reference books list Nixon's home state as New York in the 1968 election and his home state as California in the 1972 (and 1960) election.
- Thomas Adams Upchurch, Race relations in the United States, 1960-1980 (2008) p. 7-50
- James Westheider (2011). Fighting in Vietnam: The Experience of the US Soldier. Stackpole Books. pp. 136–38.
- Ben J. Wattenberg (2008). Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism. Macmillan. p. 40.
- "Johnson Can Seek Two Full Terms". The Washington Post. November 24, 1963. p. A2.
- Moore, William (November 24, 1963). "Law Permits 2 Full Terms for Johnson". The Chicago Tribune. p. 7.
- "Man Of The Year: Lyndon B. Johnson, The Paradox of Power". Time Magazine. January 5, 1968. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "Jan 30, 1968: Tet Offensive shakes Cold War confidence". History.com:This Day In History. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Sam Brown discussing his involvement in the "Clean for Gene" campaign. WGBH Open Vault. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- Jeff Shesol (1998). Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade. W W Norton. pp. 545–47.
- Lewis L. Gould (2010). 1968: The Election That Changed America. Government Institutes. pp. 16–18.
- Randall Bennett Woods (2007). LBJ: architect of American ambition. Harvard University Press. pp. 834–35.
- Robert Dallek (1998). Flawed Giant:Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973. Oxford University Press. pp. 518–25.
- Anthony J. Bennett (2013). The Race for the White House from Reagan to Clinton: Reforming Old Systems, Building New Coalitions. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 160.
- Moore, Frazier (July 18, 2009). "Legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite dies at 92". GMA News. Associated Press. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Wicker, Tom (January 26, 1997). "Broadcast News". New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Campbell, W. Joseph (July 9, 2012). "Chris Matthews invokes the ‘if I’ve lost Cronkite’ myth in NYT review". Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Walter Cronkite (1996). A Reporter's Life. Ballantine Books. p. 256.
- Bob Schieffer (January 6, 2004). This Just In: What I Couldn't Tell You on TV. Putnam Pub Group.
- Dallek (1998); Woods (2006); Gould (1993).
- David Milne, "The 1968 Paris peace negotiations: a two level game?", Review of International Studies (2011) 37(2): 577–599
- Robert Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger (2009) p 77
- Cook, Rhodes (2000). United States Presidential Primary Elections 1968–1996: A Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. pp. 12–13.
- Abbe A. Debolt; James S. Baugess (2011). Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. ABC-CLIO. p. 607.
- Jack Newfield, interview with Terry Gross, Fresh Air from WHYY, National Public Radio, WHYY, Philadelphia, June 4, 1998. Excerpt rebroadcast on June 4, 2008.
- "Our Campaigns - US President - D Primaries Race - Mar 12, 1968". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "White, pgs. 377–378". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- "AllPolitics - 1996 GOP NRC - All The Votes...Really". Cnn.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Our Campaigns - SD US President - D Primary Race - Jun 04, 1968". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Our Campaigns - Candidate - Harold Everett Hughes". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- Schlesinger, Arthur Jr. (1978). "Robert Kennedy and His Times".
- "BobbyDarin.net/BobbyDarin.com - Bobby Darin & Bobby Kennedy". Bobbydarin.net. May 10, 1968. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- "Another Race To the Finish".
- New York Times, February 18, 1968
- New York Times February 29, 1968
- New York Times, September 25th, 1967
- New York Times, September 29th, 1967
- Parmet, pp. 503–508.
- Parmet, p. 509.
- "1968 Year In Review". UPI. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- Perlstein, Rick (2008).
- Timothy Nels Thurber (1999). The Politics of Equality: Hubert H. Humphrey and the African American Freedom Struggle. Columbia University Press. p. 214.
- Conrad Black, (2007), p. 525.
- Laura Kalman (1990). Abe Fortas.
- Thomas W. Evans (Summer 1993). "The All-Volunteer Army After Twenty Years: Recruiting in the Modern Era".
- Aitken, Jonathan (1996). Nixon: A Life. pp. 396–397.
- pp. 264–266.
- Time November 15, 1968
- Theodore H. White, The Making of the President, 1968 (1970)
- Robert Dallek (2007), Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, HarperCollins, pp. 73-74.
- p. 237. Waiting for me in the lobby was Anna Chennault. A few minutes later I was being introduced to Nixon and John Mitchell, his law partner and adviser. (…) Nixon (…) added that his staff would be in touch with me through John Mitchell and Anna Chennault.
- Dallek, pp. 74-75.
- Dallek, pp. 73-74.
- Conrad Black (2007), Richard Nixon: A Life in Full, PublicAffairs, p. 553.
- Thomas Powers. “The Man who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA”. Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, p.198. “during the week which ended Sunday, October 27 , the National Security Agency intercepted a radio message from the South Vietnamese Embassy to Saigon explicitly urging (Nguyen Van) Thieu to stand fast against an agreement until after the election. As soon as Johnson learned of the cable he ordered the FBI to place Madame (Anna) Chennault under surveillance and to install a phone tap on the South Vietnamese Embassy”
- Mark Lisheron. “In tapes, LBJ accuses Nixon of treason”. Austin American-Statesman. December 5, 2008. “Johnson tells Sen. Everett Dirksen, the Republican minority leader, that it will be Nixon's responsibility if the South Vietnamese don't participate in the peace talks. ‘This is treason,’ LBJ says to Dirksen.”
Robert “KC” Johnson. “Did Nixon Commit Treason in 1968? What The New LBJ Tapes Reveal”. History News Network, January 26, 2009. Transcript from audio recording on YouTube of President Johnson: “This is treason."
- p. 582. ”The activities of the Nixon team went far beyond the bounds of justifiable political combat. It constituted direct interference in the activities of the executive branch and the responsibilities of the Chief Executive, the only people with authority to negotiate on behalf of the nation. The activities of the Nixon campaign constituted a gross, even potentially illegal, interference in the security affairs of the nation by private individuals.”
- Dallek, p. 75.
- Robert “KC” Johnson. “Did Nixon Commit Treason in 1968? What the New LBJ Tapes Reveal”. History News Network, January 26, 2009. Transcript from audio recording on YouTube of President Johnson: “Now, I can identify ‘em, because I know who’s doing this. I don’t want to identify it. I think it would shock America if a principal candidate was playing with a source like this on a matter this important. (…) I don’t want to do that.”
- Taylor, David (March 15, 2013). "'"The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason.
- Jules Witcover. “The Making of an Ink-Stained Wretch: Half a Century Pounding the Political Beat”. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, p131. “Johnson had turned over incriminating evidence about (Anna) Chennault’s activities to (Hubert) Humphrey's for use in the final days of the campaign. The idea was that such an act of treason would sink Nixon and elect Humphrey. But Humphrey declined to use it, partly because he felt he could not reveal the sources of the classified material (…) Later, in his memoir, Humphrey recounted a memo of his own at the time: "I wonder if I should have blown the whistle on Anna Chennault and Nixon. I wish [his italics] I could have been sure. Damn Thieu. Dragging his feet this past weekend hurt us. I wonder if that call did it. If Nixon knew.”.
- "In Tapes, Johnson Accused Nixon's Associates of Treason". The New York Times, December 4, 2008. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
- Dallek, pp. 77-78.
- "1968 Year In Review". UPI. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- "Misunderstanding the Southern Realignment". RealClearPolitics.com. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- Gould (1993) p 165; White (1969) p 401
- "Electoral Votes for President and Vice President". Senate Manual. Government Printing Office. 2005. Retrieved March 14, 2006.
- "1968 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "Our Campaigns - Political Party - Alabama National Democrat (NDPA)". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "Our Campaigns - AL US President Race - Nov 05, 1968". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- "1968 Presidential General Election Results - North Carolina". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- They used poll data from the sixth national presidential election survey conducted by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.
- Converse et al (1969)
- White, Theodore H., The Making of the President 1968. Pocket Books, 1970.
- United States House election, 1968
- United States Senate election, 1968
- History of the United States (1964–1980)
- History of the United States Democratic Party
- History of the United States Republican Party
- List of Presidents of the United States
- First inauguration of Richard Nixon
Source: Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. "Group Analysis of the 1968 Presidential Vote", XXVI, No. 48 (November 1968), p. 3218.
|NBC sample precincts 1968 election: South only|
|% Humphrey||% Nixon||% Wallace|
|Middle income urban neighborhoods||28||40||32|
|Low income urban neighborhoods||57||18||25|
|Rural (all income)||29||30||41|
Voter demographics in the South
Source: Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. "Group Analysis of the 1968 Presidential Vote" XXVI, No. 48 (November 1968), p. 3218.
|NBC sample precincts 1968 election|
|% Humphrey||% Nixon||% Wallace|
|High income urban||29||63||5|
|Middle income urban||43||44||13|
|Low income urban||69||19||12|
|Rural (all income)||33||46||21|
National voter demographics
Converse et al. (1969) assesses the significance of the 1968 presidential election. Many people were dissatisfied with Johnson but not with the Democratic Party. Their dissatisfaction was connected to the Vietnam War, civil rights, and law and order. Humphrey, the choice of an older generation, suffered from identification with the Johnson administration. Wallace attracted many Richard Nixon-bound Democrats and thus was a threat to Nixon. McCarthy's popularity in the New Hampshire primary was a nondifferentiated anti-Johnson vote from which many voters went to Wallace. These were not, however, the hard-core McCarthyite followers. Wallace's success was the result of the voter's identification with his stand on the primary issues - continuing segregation, getting tough in Vietnam, and law and order. Wallace's supporters were rural and small town residents in the South and skilled labor in the North. They were disgusted with public policy and were often alienated from politics. The Wallace candidacy helped to bend American politics and politicians to conservatism.
Notes: In Alabama, Wallace was the official Democratic Party nominee, while Humphrey ran on the ticket of short-lived National Democratic Party of Alabama, loyal to him as an official Democratic Party nominee
Hubert H. Humphrey
|States/districts won by Nixon/Agnew|
|States/districts won by Humphrey/Muskie|
|States/districts won by Wallace/LeMay|
Results by state
Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote
Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1968 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (August 7, 2005). Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (August 7, 2005).
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote|
|Richard Milhous Nixon||Republican||New York||31,783,783||43.42%||301||Spiro Theodore Agnew||Maryland||301|
|Hubert Horatio Humphrey||Democratic||Minnesota||31,271,839||42.72%||191||Edmund Sixtus Muskie||Maine||191|
|George Corley Wallace||American Independent||Alabama||9,901,118||13.53%||46||Curtis Emerson LeMay||California||46|
|Needed to win||270||270|
This was also the last election in which any third party candidate won an entire state's electoral votes, with Wallace carrying five states.
After, 1968 the only way to win the party's presidential nomination was through the primary process; Humphrey turned out to be the last nominee of either major party to win his party's nomination without having directly competed in the primaries.
Another important result of the 1968 election was that it led to several reforms in how the Democratic Party chose its presidential nominees. In 1969, the McGovern-Fraser Commission adopted a set of rules for the states to follow in selecting convention delegates. These rules reduced the influence of party leaders on the nominating process and provided greater representation for minorities, women, and youth. The reforms led most states to adopt laws requiring primary elections, instead of party leaders, to choose delegates.
From 1968 until 2008, only two Democrats were elected President, both native Southerners - Barack Obama, win a presidential election.
The election was a significant event in the long-term realignment in Democratic Party support, especially in the South. Nationwide, the bitter splits over civil rights, the new left, the Vietnam War, and other "culture wars" were slow to heal. It was no longer automatic for all white Southerners to vote Democratic for president, as Republicans made major gains in suburban areas and areas filled with Northern migrants. The rural Democratic "courthouse cliques" in the South lost power. While Democrats controlled local and state politics in the South, Republicans usually won the presidential vote. In 1968 Humphrey won less than 10% of the white Southern vote, with 2/3 of his vote in the region coming from blacks, who now were voting in full strength.
Nixon's victory is often considered a realigning election in American politics. From 1932 to 1968, the Democratic Party was obviously the majority party. During that time period, the Democrats had won seven out of nine presidential elections, and their agenda gravely affected that undertaken by the Republican Eisenhower administration. The election of 1968 reversed the situation completely. From 1968 until 2012, the Republicans won seven out of twelve presidential elections, and its policies clearly affected those enacted by the Democratic Clinton administration.
Nixon said that Humphrey left a gracious message congratulating him, noting "I know exactly how he felt. I know how it feels to lose a close one."
Of the states that Nixon had previously carried in 1960, only Maine and Washington did not vote for him again (He later carried both again in 1972). This was the last time until 1988 that the state of Washington voted Democratic, and last time until 1992 that Connecticut, Maine, and Michigan voted Democratic in a general election. Nixon is also the last Republican candidate to win a presidential election without carrying any of these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The election on November 5, 1968, proved to be extremely close, and it was not until the following morning that the television news networks were able to call Nixon the winner. The key states proved to be California, Ohio, and Illinois, all of which Nixon won by three percentage points or less. Had Humphrey carried all three of these states, he would have won the election. Had Humphrey carried any two of them, or California alone, George Wallace would have succeeded in his aim of preventing an electoral college majority for any candidate, and the decision would have been given to the House of Representatives, at the time controlled by the Democratic Party. Nixon won the popular vote with a plurality of 512,000 votes, or a victory margin of about one percentage point. In the electoral college Nixon's victory was larger, as he carried 32 states with 301 electoral votes, to Humphrey's 13 states and 191 electoral votes and Wallace's five states and 46 electoral votes.
Johnson learned of the Nixon-Chennault effort because the NSA was interfering in communications in Vietnam. In 2009, new tapes were declassified revealing that Johnson was enraged and said that Nixon had "blood on his hands" and that Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen agreed with Johnson that such action was "treason." Defense Secretary Clark Clifford considered the moves an illegal violation of the Logan Act. In response, Johnson ordered NSA surveillance of Chennault and wire-tapped members the South Vietnamese embassy and members of the Nixon campaign. He did not leak the information to the public because he did not want to "shock America" with the revelation, nor reveal that the NSA was interfering in communications in Vietnam. Johnson did make information available to Humphrey, but at this point Humphrey thought he was going to win the election, so he did not reveal the information to the public. Humphrey later regretted this as a mistake. The South Vietnamese government withdrew from peace negotiations, and Nixon publicly offered to go to Saigon to help the negotiations. Dallek wrote that Nixon's efforts "probably made no difference," because Thieu was unwilling to attend the talks and there was little chance of an agreement being reached before the election. However, his use of information provided by Harlow and Kissinger was morally questionable, and Humphrey's decision not to make Nixon's actions public was "an uncommon act of political decency." Either way, a promising "peace bump" ended up in "shambles" for the Democratic Party.
Nixon asked Anna Chennault to be his "channel to Mr. Thieu" in order to advise him to refuse participation in the talks. Thieu was promised a better deal under a Nixon administration. Chennault agreed and periodically reported to John Mitchell that Thieu had no intention of attending a peace conference. On November 2, Chennault informed the South Vietnamese ambassador: "I have just heard from my boss in Albuquerque who says his boss [Nixon] is going to win. And you tell your boss [Thieu] to hold on a while longer." In 1997, Chennault admitted that "I was constantly in touch with Nixon and Mitchell." The effort also involved Texas Senator John Tower and Kissinger, who traveled to Paris on behalf of the Nixon campaign. William Bundy stated that Kissinger obtained "no useful inside information" from his trip to Paris, and "almost any experienced Hanoi watcher might have come to the same conclusion". While Kissinger may have "hinted that his advice was based on contacts with the Paris delegation," this sort of "self-promotion....is at worst a minor and not uncommon practice, quite different from getting and reporting real secrets." In 2007, Conrad Black asserted that there is "no evidence" connecting Kissinger in particular, who was "playing a fairly innocuous double game of self-promotion," with attempts to undermine the peace talks. Black further commented that "the Democrats were outraged at Nixon, but what Johnson was doing was equally questionable," and there is "no evidence" that Thieu "needed much prompting to discern which side he favored in the U.S. election."
However, the Nixon campaign had anticipated a possible "
In October, Humphrey—who was rising sharply in the polls due to the collapse of the Wallace vote—began to distance himself publicly from the Johnson administration on the Vietnam War, calling for a bombing halt. The key turning point for Humphrey's campaign came when President Johnson officially announced a bombing halt, and even a possible peace deal, the weekend before the election. The "Halloween Peace" gave Humphrey's campaign a badly needed boost. In addition, Senator Eugene McCarthy finally endorsed Humphrey in late October after previously refusing to do so, and by election day the polls were reporting a dead heat.
After the Democratic Convention in late August, Humphrey trailed Nixon by double-digits in most polls, and his chances seemed hopeless. According to Time magazine, "The old Democratic coalition was disintegrating, with untold numbers of blue-collar workers responding to Wallace's blandishments, Negroes threatening to sit out the election, liberals disaffected over the Vietnam War, the South lost. The war chest was almost empty, and the party's machinery, neglected by Lyndon Johnson, creaked in disrepair." Calling for "the politics of joy," and using the still-powerful labor unions as his base, Humphrey fought back. In order to distance himself from Johnson and to take advantage of the Democratic plurality in voter registration, Humphrey stopped being identified in ads as "Vice-President Hubert Humphrey," instead being labelled "Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey." Humphrey attacked Wallace as a racist bigot who appealed to the darker impulses of Americans. Wallace had been rising in the polls, and peaked at 21% in September, but his momentum stopped after he selected Curtis LeMay as his running mate. Curtis LeMay's suggestion of tactical nuclear weapons being used in Vietnam conjured up memories of the 1964 Goldwater campaign. Labor unions also undertook a major effort to win back union members who were supporting Wallace, with substantial success. Polls that showed Wallace winning almost one-half of union members in the summer of 1968 showed a sharp decline in his union support as the campaign progressed. As election day approached and Wallace's support in the North and Midwest began to wane, Humphrey finally began to climb in the polls.
Humphrey's comeback and the October surprise
Humphrey, meanwhile, promised to continue and expand the Great Society welfare programs started by President Johnson, and to continue the Johnson Administration's "War on Poverty." He also promised to continue the efforts of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and the Supreme Court, in promoting the expansion of civil rights and civil liberties for minority groups. However, Humphrey also felt constrained for most of his campaign in voicing any opposition to the Vietnam War policies of President Johnson, due to his fear that Johnson would reject any peace proposals he made and undermine his campaign. As a result, early in his campaign Humphrey often found himself the target of anti-war protestors, some of whom heckled and disrupted his campaign rallies.
During the campaign, Nixon also used as a theme his opposition to the decisions of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Many conservatives were critical of Chief Justice Warren for using the Supreme Court to promote liberal policies in the fields of civil rights, civil liberties, and the separation of church and state. Nixon promised that if he were elected president, he would appoint justices who would take a less-active role in creating social policy. In another campaign promise, he pledged to end the draft. During the 1960s, Nixon had been impressed by a paper he had read by Professor Martin Anderson of Columbia University. Anderson had argued in the paper for an end to the draft and the creation of an all-volunteer army. Nixon also saw ending the draft as an effective way to undermine the anti-Vietnam war movement, since he believed affluent college-age youths would stop protesting the war once their own possibility of having to fight in it was gone.
Nixon campaigned on a theme to restore "law and order," which appealed to many voters angry with the hundreds of violent riots that had taken place across the country in the previous few years. Following the murder of Dr. King in April 1968, there was severe rioting in Detroit and Washington, D.C., and President Johnson had to call out the U.S. Army to protect lives and property as smoke from burning buildings a few blocks away drifted across the White House lawn. However, Vice-President Humphrey criticized the "law and order" issue, claiming that it was a subtle appeal to white racial prejudice. Nixon also opposed forced busing to desegregate schools. Proclaiming himself a supporter of civil rights, he recommended education as the solution rather than militancy. During the campaign, Nixon proposed government tax incentives to African Americans for small businesses and home improvements in their existing neighborhoods.
Since he was well behind Nixon in the polls as the campaign began, Humphrey opted for a slashing, fighting campaign style. He repeatedly - and unsuccessfully - challenged Nixon to a televised debate, and he often compared his campaign to the successful underdog effort of President Harry Truman, another Democrat who had trailed in the polls, in the 1948 presidential election. Humphrey predicted that he, like Truman, would surprise the experts and win an upset victory.
Nixon developed a "southern strategy" that was designed to appeal to conservative white southerners, who traditionally voted Democratic, but were deeply angered by Johnson and Humphrey's support for the civil rights movement. Wallace, however, won over many of the voters Nixon targeted, effectively splitting the conservative vote. Indeed, Wallace deliberately targeted many states he had little chance of carrying himself in the hope that by splitting the conservative vote with Nixon he would give those states to Humphrey and, by extension, boost his own chances of denying both opponents an Electoral College majority. The "southern strategy" would prove more effective in subsequent elections and would become a staple of Republican presidential campaigns. Nixon's campaign was also carefully managed and controlled. He often held "town hall" type meetings in cities he visited in which he answered questions from voters that had been screened in advance by his aides.
Also on the ballot in two or more states were black activist Eldridge Cleaver (who was ineligible to take office, as he would have only been 33 years of age on January 20, 1969) for the Peace and Freedom Party, Henning Blomen for the Socialist Labor Party, Fred Halstead for the Socialist Workers Party, E. Harold Munn for the Prohibition Party, and Charlene Mitchell – the first African-American woman to run for president – for the Communist Party. Comedians Dick Gregory and Pat Paulsen were notable write-in candidates. A facetious presidential candidate for 1968 was a pig named Pigasus, as a political statement by the Yippies, to illustrate their premise that "one pig's as good as any other."
Other parties and candidates
The segregation policies had been rejected by the mainstream of the Democratic Party – as the party's candidate for president. The impact of the Wallace campaign was substantial, winning the electoral votes of several states in the Deep South. Wallace was the most popular 1968 presidential candidate among young men. Wallace also proved to be popular among blue-collar workers in the North and Midwest, and he took many votes which might have gone to Humphrey. Although Wallace did not expect to win the election, his strategy was to prevent either major party candidate from winning a preliminary majority in the Electoral College, which would then give him bargaining power to determine the winner. Wallace's running mate was retired U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay. Among others who were considered were Ezra Taft Benson, John Wayne and Colonel Sanders. LeMay embarrassed Wallace's campaign in the fall by suggesting that nuclear weapons could be used in Vietnam.
George Wallace and the American Independent Party
As of 2012, this was the last time two siblings (Nelson and Winthrop Rockefeller) ran against each other in a Presidential primary.
|President||(before switches)||(after switches)||Vice President|
|Richard M. Nixon||692||1238||Spiro T. Agnew||1119|
|Nelson Rockefeller||277||93||George Romney||186|
|Ronald Reagan||182||2||John V. Lindsay||10|
|Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes||55||—||Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke||1|
|George Romney||50||—||James A. Rhodes||1|
|New Jersey Senator Clifford Case||22||—||Not Voting||16|
|Kansas Senator Frank Carlson||20||—|
|Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller||18||—||—|
|Hawaii Senator Hiram Fong||14||—||—|
|New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay||1||—||—|
Because Goldwater had done well in the Deep South, delegates to the 1968 Republican National Convention would be more Southern and conservative than past conventions. There was a real possibility that the conservative Reagan would be nominated if there was no victor on the first ballot. Nixon narrowly secured the nomination on the first ballot, with the aid of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched parties in 1964. He selected dark horse Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate, a choice which Nixon believed would unite the party, appealing to both Northern moderates and Southerners disaffected with the Democrats. It was also reported that Nixon's first choice for running mate was his longtime friend and ally, Robert Finch, who was the Lieutenant Governor of California at the time, but Finch declined the offer. Finch would later serve as the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in Nixon's Administration.
As the 1968 Republican National Convention opened in Miami Beach, Florida, the Associated Press estimated that Nixon had 656 delegate votes - only 11 short of the number he needed to win the nomination. His only remaining obstacles were Reagan and Rockefeller, who were planning to unite their forces in a "stop-Nixon" movement.
By early spring, California Governor Ronald Reagan, the leader of the Republican Party's conservative wing, had become Nixon's chief rival. In the Nebraska primary on May 14, Nixon won with 70% of the vote to 21% for Reagan and 5% for Rockefeller. While this was a wide margin for Nixon, Reagan remained Nixon's leading challenger. Nixon won the next primary of importance, Oregon, on May 15 with 65% of the vote and won all the following primaries except for California (June 4), where only Reagan appeared on the ballot. Reagan's victory in California gave him a plurality of the nationwide primary vote, but his poor showing in most other state primaries left him far behind Nixon in the actual delegate count.
Nixon won a resounding victory in the important New Hampshire primary on March 12, with 78% of the vote. Anti-war Republicans wrote in the name of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the leader of the Republican Party's liberal wing, who received 11% of the vote and became Nixon's new challenger. Rockefeller had originally not intended to run, having discounted a campaign for the nomination in 1965 and planned on making Senator Jacob Javits the favorite son, either in preparation of a presidential campaign or to secure him the second spot on the ticket; as Rockefeller warmed to the idea of entering the race again however, Javits moved his attentions back towards seeking a third term in the Senate. Nixon led Rockefeller in the polls throughout the primary campaign, and though Rockefeller defeated Nixon and Governor John Volpe in the Massachusetts primary on April 30, he otherwise fared poorly in state primaries and conventions, having declared too late to place his name on state ballots.
Senator Charles Percy was considered another potential threat to Nixon even before Romney's withdrawal, and had planned on potentially waging an active campaign after securing a role as Illinois's favorite son. Later however Percy declined to have his name presented on the ballot for the Illinois presidential primary, and while he never disclaimed his interest in the presidential nomination, he no longer actively sought it either.
Nixon's first challenger was Michigan Governor diplomatic corps into supporting the Vietnam War; the remark led to weeks of ridicule in the national news media. Since he had turned against American involvement in Vietnam, Romney planned to run as the anti-war Republican version of Eugene McCarthy. However, following his "brainwashing" comment, Romney's support faded steadily, and with polls showing him far behind Nixon he withdrew from the race on February 28, 1968.
The front-runner for the Republican nomination was former Vice President Richard Nixon, who formally began campaigning in January 1968. Nixon had worked tirelessly behind the scenes and was instrumental in Republican gains in Congress and governorships in the 1966 midterm elections. Thus, the party machinery and many of the new congressmen and governors supported him. Still, there was wariness in the Republican ranks over Nixon, who had lost the 1960 election and then lost the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Some hoped a more "electable" candidate would emerge. To a great extent the story of the 1968 Republican primary campaign and nomination is the story of one Nixon opponent after another entering the race and then dropping out. Nixon was always clearly the front runner throughout the contest because of his superior organization, and he easily defeated the rest of the field.
- Richard Nixon, former Vice President and 1960 presidential nominee from New York
- Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York and candidate for the 1960 and 1964 nominations
- Ronald Reagan, Governor of California
- Governor of Michigan
- Harold Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota and candidate for the 1948, 1952 and 1964 nominations
- Charles H. Percy, Senator from Illinois - (Declined to Actively Run)
- Jacob K. Javits, Senator from New York - (Declined - Endorsed George Romney; later Nelson Rockefeller)
Republican Party nomination
George McGovern (during convention)
- Representative Don Edwards of California
- Actor Paul Newman
- Playwright Arthur Miller
- Writer William Styron
- Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut
- Senator South Dakota
- Governor Harold E. Hughes of Iowa
- Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana
- Labor Leader Cesar Chavez
- Writer Truman Capote
- Writer Norman Mailer
- Actress Shirley MacLaine
- Actress Stefanie Powers
- Actor Robert Vaughn
- Actor Peter Lawford
- Singer Bobby Darin
Robert F. Kennedy
Source: Keating Holland, "All the Votes... Really," CNN
|Presidential tally||Vice Presidential tally|
|Hubert Humphrey||1759.25||Edmund S. Muskie||1942.5|
|Eugene McCarthy||601||Not Voting||604.25|
|George S. McGovern||146.5||Julian Bond||48.5|
|Channing Phillips||67.5||David Hoeh||4|
|Daniel K. Moore||17.5||Edward M. Kennedy||3.5|
|Edward M. Kennedy||12.75||Eugene McCarthy||3.0|
|Paul W. "Bear" Bryant||1.5||Others||16.25|
|James H. Gray||0.5|
However, the tragedy of the anti-war riots crippled Humphrey's campaign from the start, and it never fully recovered. Before 1968 the city of Chicago had been a frequent host for the political conventions of both parties; since 1968 only once has a national convention been held in the city (in 1996, the Democratic Party held the convention which nominated Bill Clinton there). Many believe that this is due in part to the violence and chaos of the Democratic Convention that year.
After the delegates nominated Humphrey, the convention then turned to selecting a vice-president. The main candidates for this position were Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Edmund Muskie of Maine, and Fred R. Harris of Oklahoma; Governors Richard Hughes of New Jersey and Terry Sanford of North Carolina; Mayor Joseph Alioto of San Francisco, California; former Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance of West Virginia; and Ambassador Sargent Shriver of Maryland. Another idea floated was to tap Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, one of the most liberal Republicans. Ted Kennedy was Humphrey's first choice, but the senator turned him down. After narrowing it down to Senator Muskie and Senator Harris, Vice-President Humphrey chose Muskie, a moderate and environmentalist from Maine, for the nomination. The convention complied with the request and nominated Senator Muskie as Humphrey's running mate.
When the 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago, thousands of young activists from around the nation gathered in the city to protest the Vietnam War. On the evening of August 28, in a clash which was covered on live television, Americans were shocked to see Chicago police brutally beating anti-war protesters in the streets of Chicago in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. While the protesters chanted "The whole world's watching," the police used clubs and tear gas to beat back or arrest the protesters, leaving many of them bloody and dazed. The tear gas wafted into numerous hotel suites; in one of them Vice-President Humphrey was watching the proceedings on television. However, the police claimed that their actions were justified because numerous police officers were being injured by bottles, rocks, and broken glass that were being thrown at them by the protestors. The protestors had also yelled verbal insults at the police, calling them "pigs" and other epithets. The anti-war and police riot divided the Democratic Party's base: some supported the protestors and felt that the police were being heavy-handed, but others disapproved of the violence and supported the police. Meanwhile, the convention itself was marred by the strong-arm tactics of Chicago's mayor Richard J. Daley (who was seen on television angrily cursing Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, who made a speech at the convention denouncing the excesses of the Chicago police). In the end, the nomination itself was anti-climactic, with Vice-President Humphrey handily beating McCarthy and McGovern on the first ballot.
Robert Kennedy's death altered the dynamics of the race. Although Humphrey appeared the prohibitive favorite for the nomination, thanks to his support from the traditional power blocs of the party, he was an unpopular choice with many of the George McGovern of South Dakota, a Kennedy supporter in the spring primaries who had presidential ambitions himself. This division of the anti-war votes at the Democratic Convention made it easier for Humphrey to gather the delegates he needed to win the nomination.
Democratic Convention and antiwar protests
At the moment of RFK's death, the delegate totals were:
Political historians have debated to this day whether Kennedy could have won the Democratic nomination had he lived. Some historians, such as Theodore H. White and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., have argued that Kennedy's broad appeal and famed charisma would have convinced the party bosses at the Democratic Convention to give him the nomination. Jack Newfield, author of RFK: A Memoir, stated in a 1998 interview that on the night he was assassinated, "[Kennedy] had a phone conversation with Mayor Daley of Chicago, and Mayor Daley all but promised to throw the Illinois delegates to Bobby at the convention in August 1968. I think he said to me, and Pete Hamill, 'Daley is the ball game, and I think we have Daley.'" However, other writers such as Tom Wicker, who covered the Kennedy campaign for The New York Times, believe that Humphrey's large lead in delegate votes from non-primary states, combined with Senator McCarthy's refusal to quit the race, would have prevented Kennedy from ever winning a majority at the Democratic Convention, and that Humphrey would have been the Democratic nominee even if Kennedy had lived. The journalist Richard Reeves and historian Michael Beschloss have both written that Humphrey was the likely nominee, and future Democratic National Committee chairman Larry O'Brien wrote in his memoirs that Kennedy's chances of winning the nomination had been slim, even after his win in California.
After Kennedy's defeat in Oregon, the California primary was seen as crucial to both Kennedy and McCarthy. McCarthy stumped the state's many colleges and universities, where he was treated as a hero for being the first presidential candidate to oppose the war. Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of the state's larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. Kennedy and McCarthy engaged in a television debate a few days before the primary; it was generally considered a draw. On June 4, Kennedy narrowly defeated McCarthy in California, 46%–42%. However, McCarthy refused to withdraw from the race and made it clear that he would contest Kennedy in the upcoming New York primary, where McCarthy had much support from anti-war activists in New York City. The New York primary quickly became a moot point, however, for in the early morning of June 5, Kennedy was shot shortly after midnight; he died twenty-six hours later. Kennedy had just given his victory speech in a crowded ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles; he and his aides then entered a narrow kitchen pantry on their way to a banquet room to meet with reporters. In the pantry Kennedy and five others were shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian who hated Kennedy because of his support for Israel. Sirhan admitted his guilt, was convicted of murder, and is still in prison. In recent years some have cast a doubt on this, including Sirhan himself, who said he was "brainwashed" into killing Kennedy and was a patsy.
After Johnson's withdrawal, Stephen M. Young from Ohio, and Governor Roger D. Branigin of Indiana. Instead, Humphrey concentrated on winning the delegates in non-primary states, where party leaders such as Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley controlled the delegate votes in their states. Kennedy defeated Branigin and McCarthy in the Indiana primary, and then defeated McCarthy in the Nebraska primary. However, McCarthy upset Kennedy in the Oregon primary.
Since the Vietnam War had become the major issue that was dividing the Democratic Party, and Johnson had come to symbolize the war for many liberal Democrats, Johnson believed that he could not win the nomination without a major struggle, and that he would probably lose the election in November to the Republicans. However, by withdrawing from the race he could avoid the stigma of defeat, and he could keep control of the party machinery by giving the nomination to Humphrey, who had been a loyal vice-president. Milne (2011) argues that, in terms of foreign-policy in the Vietnam War, Johnson at the end wanted Nixon to be president rather than Humphrey, since Johnson agreed with Nixon, rather than Humphrey, on the need to defend South Vietnam from communism. However, Johnson's telephone calls show that Johnson believed the Nixon camp was deliberately sabotaging the Paris peace talks. He told Humphrey, who refused to use allegations based on illegal wiretaps of a presidential candidate. Nixon himself called Johnson and denied the allegations. Dallek concludes that Nixon's advice to Saigon made no difference, and that Humphrey was so closely identified with Johnson's unpopular policies that no last-minute deal with Hanoi could have affected the election.
- The first faction consisted of labor unions and big-city party bosses (led by Mayor Richard J. Daley). This group had traditionally controlled the Democratic Party since the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and they feared loss of their control over the party. After Johnson's withdrawal this group rallied to support Hubert Humphrey, Johnson's vice-president; it was also believed that President Johnson himself was covertly supporting Humphrey, despite his public claims of neutrality.
- The second faction, which rallied behind Senator Eugene McCarthy, was composed of college students, intellectuals, and upper-middle-class whites who had been the early activists against the war in Vietnam; they perceived themselves as the future of the Democratic Party.
- The third group was primarily composed of Catholics, blacks and other minorities as well as several antiwar groups; these groups rallied behind Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
- The fourth group consisted of white Southern Democrats. Some older men, remembering the
With Johnson's withdrawal, the Democratic Party quickly split into four factions, each of which distrusted the other three.
 but claimed the president was able to watch a taping of it the morning after it aired and then made the remark. television station in Fort Worth, Texas, when Cronkite's editorial aired, acknowledged reports that the president saw the editorial's original broadcast were inaccurate,WBAPs Star-Telegram' Schieffer, who was serving as a reporter for the