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Cooley Hurd

(26,877 posts)
Fri Apr 17, 2015, 11:27 AM Apr 2015

An exercise in perspective. The 1976 Democratic Primary:


The 1976 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1976 U.S. presidential election. Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1976 Democratic National Convention held from July 12 to July 15, 1976 in New York City.


Primary race
The Watergate scandal, resignation of Richard Nixon, American withdrawal from Vietnam. and recession of 1974-75 dominated domestic issues in the runup to the presidential election of 1976. President Gerald Ford had squandered his early popularity with an unconditional pardon of Nixon and his perceived mishandling of the recession, and by late 1975 had slumped badly in national polls.

Due to the absence of any clear front-runner for the nomination and a political climate that seemed tilted heavily in their party's favor, a record number of Democrats competed for their party's presidential nomination in 1976. Most of these candidates would drop out early in the race.

The 1976 campaign featured a record number of state primaries and caucuses, and it was the first presidential campaign in which the primary system was dominant. However, most of the Democratic candidates failed to realize the significance of the increased number of primaries, or the importance of creating momentum by winning the early contests. The one candidate who did see the opportunities in the new nominating system was Jimmy Carter, a former state senator and Governor of Georgia. Carter, who was virtually unknown at the national level, would never have gotten the Democratic nomination under the old, boss-dominated nominating system, but given the public disgust with political corruption following Richard Nixon's resignation, Carter realized that his obscurity and "fresh face" could be an asset in the primaries. Carter's plan was to run in all of the primaries and caucuses, beginning with the Iowa caucus, and build up momentum by winning "somewhere" each time primary elections were held. Carter startled many political experts by finishing second in the Iowa caucuses (where he came in second to "uncommitted&quot . Mo Udall, who had been leading in the polls at one point, came in fifth behind Fred R. Harris, leading Harris to coin the term "winnowed in", referring to his surprisingly strong showing.

Carter then won the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 24th, thus proving that a Southerner could win in the North. He then proceeded to slowly but steadily accumulate delegates in primaries around the nation. He also knocked his key rivals out of the race one by one. He defeated George Wallace in the North Carolina primary March 23rd, thus eliminating his main rival in the South. He defeated Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson in Pennsylvania April 27th, thus forcing Jackson to quit the race. In the Wisconsin primary April 6th Carter scored an impressive come-from-behind victory over Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, thus eliminating Udall as a serious contender. As Carter closed in on the nomination, an "ABC" (Anybody But Carter) movement started among Northern and Western liberal Democrats who worried that Carter's Southern upbringing would make him too conservative for the Democratic Party. The leaders of the "ABC" movement - Idaho Senator Frank Church and California Governor Jerry Brown - both announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination and defeated Carter in several late primaries. However, their campaigns both started too late to prevent Carter from gathering the remaining delegates he needed to capture the nomination.



Former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia


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An exercise in perspective. The 1976 Democratic Primary: (Original Post) Cooley Hurd Apr 2015 OP
^^^ blm Apr 2015 #1
It was an interesting race. John1956PA Apr 2015 #2


(2,649 posts)
2. It was an interesting race.
Fri Apr 17, 2015, 12:29 PM
Apr 2015

I recall the evening that Scoop won the NY primary. When he was interviewed after the results were in, he came off as having an old-school mindset about politics. He used his TV time to repeat his strategy of focusing on the major states, but he failed to address the voters' concerns such as inflation and the weakening job market.

An impressive candidate was Birch Bayh. Here is an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_Bayh :

On the eve of the January 19, 1976 Iowa caucuses, Bayh and former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter were considered the leading candidates. Bayh ultimately finished a distant third behind Uncommitted delegates and Carter,[36] seemingly hindered by his support for women's rights. "Bayh has become the focal point of the [abortion] issue," said the executive director of the National Right to Life Committee since Bayh opposed a constitutional amendment banning abortion before his subcommittee. Liberal support did not coalesce and Bayh finished third in the New Hampshire primary and then seventh in the Massachusetts primary.

Ellen McCormick, a non-politician who ran on a pro-life platform, ran in several states and received federal matching funds. Every Sunday at Catholic Mass, the lector (i. e., lay person who read aloud) petitioned the deity to bless her campaign.

One pundit branded Frank Church and Jerry Brown as the "Wizards of the West." That was after Mo Udall had dropped out.

Covering the election for CBS was Walter Cronkite. For NBC it was David Brinkley, who proceeded to join John Chancellor as co-anchor of the Nightly News. Frank Reynolds was the anchor for ABC.

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