The Sanders-Clinton Battle Echoes 1968 But Is Really More Like 1966

By Jack Limpert

Tom Sherwood Retweeted Martin Austermuhle
Bernie: look at ’68 & how that turned out. But some Bernies say a Trump win wd energize real liberals for 2020.

Tom Sherwood covers politics for the NBC television station in Washington, and Martin Austermuhle covers politics for public radio station WAMU in Washington, and, yes, there are some echoes of 1968 as Bernie Sanders supporters want their candidate to fight to the end, maybe hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. Clinton is just not liberal enough for some Sanders supporters.

In 1968, Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, trying to get U.S. troops out of Vietnam, ran for President against incumbent Lyndon Johnson. LBJ then decided in March to not run for re-election; that led to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey running for the Democratic nomination. After RFK’s assassination in June and Humphrey’s August nomination at a tumultuous Chicago convention, there was some feeling among McCarthy and Kennedy supporters that they’d rather see Richard Nixon in the White House than Hubert Humphrey.

But 1966 in California has even more relevance to what’s happening this year.

I was editing newspapers in San Jose and one of our political reporters wasn’t shy about his liberal leanings. California Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown, the father of now governor Jerry Brown, was running for re-election. Our political reporter found Pat Brown too moderate and boring and at one point he said he hoped Brown would lose in November to his Republican opponent, a movie actor. “That guy will be such a disaster that next time we’ll be able to elect a real liberal.”

The movie actor was Ronald Reagan, who won that 1966 election, was re-elected in 1970, and served two terms as President.

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