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Forty Years Ago in August

Back in the days when we old fogeys were still young, energetic and idealistic, there was a Democratic Convention in Chicago. I can hardly believe that that it took place nearly 40 years ago, from August 26 to August 30, 1968. It had been a bitter, tumultuous primary campaign, and the convention was to be even more bitter and tumultuous.

In September, 1967, Allard Lowenstein and Curtis Gans, leaders of the National Student Association, had begun a formal movement to dump President Lyndon Johnson from the Democratic ticket. In September, Lowenstein approached Senator Robert Kennedy of NY, and asked him to run against President Johnson for the nomination. When Kennedy refused, Lowenstein turned to Senator Eugene McCarthy of MN, who agreed to run.

On March 12, 1968, McCarthy nearly upset Johnson in the New Hampshire primary, winning 40% of the vote. A few days later, Bobby Kennedy changed his mind and announced his intention to seek the nomination. On March 31, President Johnson announced that he would no longer seek nor accept his party’s nomination to run for a second term. Continue reading