1956

THEO LIPPMAN JR.

October 21, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election.

The 44th in 1956 was a repeat of the 1952 election in many ways. Republicans again nominated Dwight Eisenhower. Democrats again nominated Adlai Stevenson. There was more suspense in the vice-presidential contests. Citing Eisenhower's heart attack of 1955 and intestinal surgery of 1956, some moderate Republicans tried but failed to get Richard Nixon dumped from the 1956 ticket. Stevenson threw the vice-presidential nomination open at the Democratic convention. Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver edged out Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy.

Ike ran on his record. He had ended the war in Korea, upheld desegregation in Little Rock with troops, continued the popular main elements of the New Deal, controlled inflation and unemployment. He won 57 percent of the popular vote, and his Electoral College showing -- 457 to 73 -- was the best any Republican had ever achieved.

1956 also produced a Democratic House and Senate, the first election since the Republican Party was founded in which one party won the presidency and the other won Congress. But not the last.

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