A Good Year for Headline Writers

Newspaper headline writers have to be happy with Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate—with Trump and Pence, the last names of all four candidates in November’s election fit easily into one-column headlines.

Looking back, it almost appears newspaper editors control the nominating process: Trump, Clinton, Obama, Romney, McCain, Bush, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Dukakis, Reagan, Mondale, Carter, Ford, Nixon, McGovern, Humphrey, Goldwater, Johnson. A lot of short names.

When longer names got the nomination—Goldwater, Humphrey, McGovern, Dukakis—they lost to shorter names.

The 1940s and ‘50s were different: Eisenhower, Stevenson, Truman, Dewey, Roosevelt. Longer names—Roosevelt and Eisenhower—won most of the time.

How did headline writers handle that? Roosevelt became FDR and Eisenhower became Ike.

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