1972 Presidential Election Essay Research Paper The

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1972 Presidential Election Essay, Research Paper The 1972 Presidential Election: The Changing United States and its Search for a Leader The election of 1972 was one of the largest landslide victories by a presidential candidate in United States history. President Nixon was reelected to the presidency by beating Senator George McGovern of South Dakota in an impressive victory. The Nixon landslide victory tied FDR’s 60.8 percent of the popular vote in 1936 for the second largest popular vote get in American history. Nixon’s 60.8 percent of the vote compared to McGovern’s 37.6 percent, a difference of 23.2 percent, was also the fourth largest margin of victory in a presidential election in United States History. Nixon not only won with an impressive popular vote margin,

but he also won 49 of the 50 states’ electoral votes amounting to 520, while McGovern only received 17 electoral votes. He only won Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. The Nixon landslide victory cannot necceasarily be attributed to Nixon’s policy beliefs, but there are a number of factors which gave Nixon his impressive win. A possible realignment among the American electorate, McGovern being seen as having few leadership capabilities, along with McGovern’s possible failure to get his political message out to the American electorate, and a divide within the Democratic Party are all possible explanations for the Nixon landslide win. With the country at war, and high inflation rates plaguing the economy, the presidential election of 1972 would play a major role in

the what direction the American government would move in. The movement started in the presidential primaries of 1972. The democrats were seen to have many possible contenders to go up against the incumbent President Richard Nixon. Going into the New Hampshire Primary in early March, Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine was seen as the likely contender to face President Nixon in the general election. Muskie also had some strong opponents for the democratic nomination for president. Hubert Humphrey who lost to Nixon in 1968 was seen as a possible contender, along with Alabama Governor George Wallace, and Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. Muskie’s campaign was crippled when he only won the New Hampshire primary with 47 percent of the vote compared to the 65 percent he was

predicted to receive. Followed by bad publicity and his fourth place finish in Florida Muskie began to finish poorly in the remaining primaries. When McGovern won Massachusetts Muskie halted his campaign. Wallace was still considered a possible contender until an attempt to assassinate him left Wallace paralyzed and he thus withdrew from the campaign. Humphrey and McGovern were the remaining contenders. The California primary was one that left the Democratic Party divided. In debates between Humphrey and McGovern, Humphrey accused McGovern of being too liberal. Although McGovern won California, he won by a narrower margin than expected, which seemed to show that Humphrey’s attacks had taken their toll. McGovern won most of the remaining primaries and received the democratic

nomination for president. Although McGovern received the nomination, a divided Democratic Party may have hurt his campaign early on. The policy issues of the 1972 presidential election were some of the most highly publicized issues of any modern day election. The war in Vietnam was a hotbed of conflicting viewpoints among Americans. The role government should play in social assistance to the needy was another issue that seemed to capture the attention of many Americans. Not only did these issues weigh on the minds of many Americans, the economic state of the U.S was in a down period. Inflation was extremely high and many Americans were worried about job security. The country was divided about all of these issues and many others. Although it may seem clear to some the positions