by Michael Liss
The broken-down jalopy that was Hubert Humphrey’s campaign wheezed its way out of Chicago and headed…anywhere but there. The Convention was an utter disaster. The only “bump” in the polls was a shove backwards, and Humphrey seemed to have nothing with which to shove back. He had no coherent message on the biggest issue of the day—Vietnam. He was working for an absolutely impossible boss, LBJ, who demanded complete loyalty and delighted in humiliating him. His campaign was broke…it literally didn’t have enough money to pay for orders of Humphrey buttons.
It didn’t end there. He was fighting the electoral realignment centrifuge that was ripping apart the New Deal Democratic coalition. The formerly Solid South was more than 20 years into its secession. The Party’s hold on the blue-collar family was being tested by the cultural appeal of George Wallace. Suburbanites were worried about the violence in big cities and wanted leadership to do something about it. In theory, they were moderates, supporters of the Civil Rights movement. In practice, many applied a NIMBY approach. The youth vote was inextricably connected to the anti-war vote; the war was inextricably connected to Johnson; and LBJ was inextricably connected to Humphrey. Read more »