1968

Theo Lippman Jr.

October 26, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election.

7/8

The 46th was held in 1968 -- amid a national political turbulence unlike any other. President Lyndon Johnson, beset by anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, declined to seek another term. Sen. Robert Kennedy, leader of the anti-Johnson Democrats, was assassinated at the end of the primary season. Johnson's choice, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was nominated at a convention in which Chicago riot police and protesters engaged in bloody clashes in parks, streets and hotel lobbies.

The Republicans nominated Richard Nixon. Alabama Gov. George Wallace qualified to run in all states as a segregationist candidate. A public turned off by the war and by the Democrats' division seemed ready to pick Mr. Nixon.

Vice President Humphrey ran a dogged, energetic and passionate campaign. Nixon's huge lead in the September polls vanished. He won in a photo finish. Wallace got 46 electoral votes. Had Nixon lost California, which he carried by only 223,000 votes, no one would have won an electoral majority, requiring bargaining in the Electoral College with Wallace for his electors or selection of the president by Congress.

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