In the early days of the 1972 election, President Richard Nixon, seeking re-election, faced a number of potentially tough challengers, and the strongest one may have been Senator Edmund Muskie. Among all the possible Democratic candidates emerging at the time, Nixon wanted to run against the one he saw as the weakest, George McGovern.
So he arranged that.
The Nixon dirty tricks team (which included at least one person active in recent years on the Trump dirty tricks team) fabricated a letter supposedly written by Muskie that served to discredit him as a candidate. That was one of several different fraudulent moves made against Muskie and other candidates.
The Democrats dutifully tossed Muskie and all the other candidates under the bus and ran George McGovern against Richard Nixon.
1972 election results:
47,168,710 votes, 520 Electoral votes: NIXON
29,173,222 votes, 17 Electoral votes: McGOVERN
The following presidential election was won by outsider Democrat Jimmy Carter. It is generally recognized that Carter’s win was in large part due to the country being tired of cheating Republicans, following the Watergate affair. The hit job on Muskie and other candidates was not forgotten, but had been absorbed into the larger array of illegal and unethical activities by the Republicans.
Owing largely to the Iran Hostage crisis, the country lost faith in Carter, and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Another significant factor was a third party candidate, Anderson, who took away mainly Carter votes.
Reagan was re-elected in 1984.
The 1988 election required that the Democrats get a strong candidate to run against Reagan’s vice president, George Bush. They did. The up and coming, popular, and highly qualified Gary Hart was the obvious candidate, and from early on was assumed to be the nominated one, and a likely next president.
But then something bad happened. Gary Hart was taken out of the running. The National Enquirer ran a story placing Hart in the company of a loose woman on a suspicious boat called “Monkey Business” in the Caribbean. There was even a photo of the woman, Donna Rice, siting on Hart’s lap.
The Democrats quickly tossed Hart under the bus, and put forward Mike Dukakis as their candidate. Let me note that Dukakis was a very good governor of Massachusetts, and would have made a good president.
This may or may not be a side story: When Dukakis was running, there was a famous photograph taken of him in a tank wearing a too-large helmet, looking goofy. This appeared to disqualify him as president to a lot of voters.
Also during the primary, came the “Willie Horton” affair, a racist ploy to make Dukakis look like he was weak on crime.
This led to further weakening of Dukakis’s campaign.
We now know that the Hart Monkey Business monkey business business was a setup by Lee Atwater, a Republican dirty tricks guy. We also now know that the racist and inaccurate Horton attack ads were Atwater work as well. (See Was Gary Hart Set Up?)
48,886,597 votes, 426 Electoral votes: BUSH
41,809,074 votes, 111 Electoral votes: DUKAKIS
Then a few other elections happened.
The 2016 election was probably won by Republican Trump in part because of the discrediting of the Democratic candidate, Clinton, using lies and misdirection. There are also some who would argue that Sanders should have been the candidate, but efforts to keep him out of the race caused Clinton to win the primaries. I’m pretty sure that is not true, but if you happen to think it is true, do check on the possibility that Sanders’ campaign was damaged at least in part by outside nefarious forces of Republican or Puto-Russian origin. Just in case.
Anyway, you can imagine how different the world would be today if Muskie had been elected president. Or Hart. Or Dukakis.
Today, we are seeing this happening again, I think.
Elizabeth Warren, the most viable current candidate to represent the Democratic Party in 2020, according to many, had made a reference in the past to her own heritage. Her heritage, her right.
The Racist Republican Don the Con Trump used that opportunity to attack “Pocahontas” Warren. Democrats thought this was despicable.
Much more recently, just now, Warren happens to have done a DNA test of her heritage, and found out the interesting, quaint, and largely unimportant fact that what her family had been telling her all along, that many generations back she had a Native American ancestor, is likely true given the genetic markers in her DNA. As is her right, she made this public.
What Senator Warren did is this: She challenged a made up, racist, insulting accusation made by Don the Con Trump, with a fact.
The result? Repeated outcries BY DEMOCRATS that this was not a good communications move, and therefore ELIZABETH WARREN IS NO LONGER QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT.
Excuse me, fellow Democrats, but I have something for you:
To the people who are jumping on this Never Warren She Did DNA OMG!!!!! bandwagon, many of whom are friends or colleagues whom I truly respect: Please think about the damage you are doing, and fucking stop doing it.
Thank you very much, that is all.