1972: A Surprise Candidate for President

This primary season in the USA has had its ups and downs for various candidates.  Some favorites fell by the wayside.

trump-sanders-clinton1

Two candidates emerged in surprising victories with their messages.  Senator Bernard “Bernie” Sanders whipped up support among the young and others who were tired of Washington politics.  He could not overcome the establishment favorite with her pledged super delegates and her string of big primary victories—Hillary Diane Rodman Clinton.

Like an icebreaker Donald John Trump broke his competition to pieces, leaving him as the last man standing at the podium.  Flamboyant and controversial he will face off against a well-oiled machine which intends to keep the White House in Democratic hands, but November will show how the people decide for worst or worst—which depends on your view of worst.

A number of people view Hillary Clinton’s win as the Democratic party standard bearer as historic because she is a woman.  There are others who do not view it in such glowing effulgence as the Fortune article listed in the references indicates.

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Let’s take a look at another woman who ran for President in 1972—Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm.  In 1968 she became the first African-American woman to win the US House of Representatives.

She served seven terms (14 years) in the House. She was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Women’s Caucus.

Looking at the candidates in her party in 1972 (Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, George Wallace, Henry Jackson, etc.) Congresswoman Chisholm decided that her voice had to be heard.

It was during her 2nd term in the House that Chisholm ran for the US Presidency.  She became the 1st black woman to run for president, but this is not what she wanted people to focus on during her campaign.  The fact that her campaign was seen primarily as “symbolic” by many really hurt her.  She did not run on the mere base of being a “first,” but because she wanted to be seen as “a real, viable candidate.”

“Her bid for the presidency was referred to as the “Chisholm Trail,” and she won a lot of support from students, women and minority groups.  She entered 11 primaries and campaigned in several states, particularly Florida, but with little money she was challenged.  Her campaign was “under-organized, under-financed and unprepared.” It was calculated that she raised and spent only $300,000 between July 1971 when she first thought of running, and July of 1972.

“Overall, people in 14 states voted for Shirley Chisholm for president, in some fashion or the other.  After six months of campaigning, she had 28 delegates committed to vote for her at the Democratic Convention.  The 1972 Democratic Convention was in July in Miami, and it was the first major convention in which an African American woman was considered for the presidential nomination.  Although she did not win the nomination, she received 151 of the delegates’ votes.”    https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/shirley-anita-chisholm/

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Many of her fellow Democrats did not view her in a positive light.  Her fight to get elected seven times to the House and her fight to be placed on the Democratic ballot in 1972 was always against the establishment leadership.

“Chisholm’s campaign wasn’t easy. During the road to the primaries, she survived multiple assassination attempts, sued to make sure she would appear in televised debates and fought her way onto the primary ballots in 12 states. Though she didn’t win, in the end Chisholm won 10 percent of the total vote at the Democratic National Convention, clearing a path for future candidates that weren’t white or male.”   http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/44-years-ago-shirley-chisholm-became-the-first-black-woman-to-run-for-president-180957975/?no-ist

After 14 years she grew weary of politics in Washington and decided to return to teaching.  Her place in history in the last half of the 20th Century is assured.

She was asked how history should remember her after she had passed the confines of this planet traversing the cosmos.  Her reply was

“When I die, I want to be remembered as a woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be a catalyst of change.  I don’t want to be remembered as the first black woman who went to Congress.  And I don’t even want to be remembered as the first woman who happened to be black to make the bid for the presidency. I want to be remembered as a woman who fought for change in the 20th century.  That’s what I want.”

She was a remarkable woman.  She was not an establishment candidate—she was who she was and was never ashamed of her independence from those party bosses and corporate fat cats who controlled the politics in this country.

G. D. Williams © 2016

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References:

Poll: Most Voters Don’t View Clinton’s Nomination as Historic

“.. only 22 percent of Americans said they viewed Clinton’s nomination a “step forward” for the country, while 18 percent said it left them angry and another 30 percent said it made them frustrated.

“About one in 10 voters (12 percent) said Clinton is “the most historic nominee the nation has ever had,” while 30 percent of them said her nomination was “one of the most historic nominations, but not the most historic the nation has ever had.”

“Clinton’s nomination had only a small effect on whether someone felt proud. Only 29 percent of voters said it made them more proud and 22 percent said it made them less proud. More than 40 percent of voters said it had no effect on their pride. A quarter of them said it was “not that notable.”

Poll: Most Voters Don’t View Clinton’s Nomination as Historic

 

Before Clinton There Was Shirley Chisholm

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35057641

http://www.biography.com/people/shirley-chisholm-9247015

http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/C/CHISHOLM,-Shirley-Anita-(C000371)/

https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/shirley-anita-chisholm/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/44-years-ago-shirley-chisholm-became-the-first-black-woman-to-run-for-president-180957975/?no-ist

Shirley Chisholm: Declares Presidential Bid, January 25, 1972

I have faith in the American people. I believe that we are smart enough to correct our mistakes. I believe that we are intelligent enough to recognize the talent, energy, and dedication, which all American including women and minorities have to offer. I know from my travels to the cities and small towns of America that we have a vast potential, which can and must be put to constructive use in getting this great nation together. I know that millions of Americans, from all walks of life agree with me that leadership does not mean putting the ear to the ground, to follow public opinion, but to have the vision of what is necessary and the courage to make it possible, building a strong and just society, which in its diversity and is noble in its quality of life.

I stand before you today, to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates, simply because he is not right or because she is not a male. I do not believe that in 1972, the great majority of Americans will continue to harbor such narrow and petty prejudice.

I am convinced that the American people are in a mood to disc the politics and political personalities of the past.

http://www.4president.org/speeches/shirleychisholm1972announcement.htm

 

 

Trump Sanders Clinton picture

http://www.citizenop.com/news/2016/05/12/trump-sanders-kings-of-facebook-clinton-court-jester/

 

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