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Reply #12: It's not certain he would have won the nomination [View All]

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jeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-03 01:07 PM
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12. It's not certain he would have won the nomination
You must remember that before the California Primary (the day he was shot) he was actually in third place in delegates, behind Humphrey and McCarthy.

That is why California is often refered to as the "crucial primary" in 1968. Had he lost it, he would have been finished.

But he won. New York was next, and he certainly would have won that one too, being a Senator from New York and all. Winning the primaries in the two largest states would have been a huge boost. But it still would not have been enough for him to win the nomination. His only hope would have been to stop Humphrey on a first ballot and have McCarthy throw his support to him. Then convince labor (who was no real fan of Bobby's) and cities to support him.

Not a slam dunk, but doable.

Then he would have faced Richard Nixon. Nixon led Humphrey and Kennedy in the polls in 1968. Mind you that this was in June before the convention and RFK surely would've gotten a "bounce" just like anyone else. But there is no way that Kennedy would have won the south. Not with his Civil Rights record and Wallace in the race. The south was cruicial for the Democrats to win then. Nixon was from California and Reagan was then its Governor, so it is entirely possible that Kennedy would not have carried California either.

Texas, another Democratic state then, probably would not have supported him since LBJ hated Kennedy with a passion and probably would have prefered Nixon to him. The whole JFK being shot in Dallas may have had an effect. Texans voting for his brother for what happened. But that too is uncertain.

Johnson also would have been unlikely to pause the bombing, as he had in October, which created a last minute surge of support for Humphrey and almost carried him over the top. He really hated Kennedy.

So to say Bobby was a shoein for President in 1968 is a big stretch.

But I agree that he would have been the best President ever.
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