On August 18, 1920, the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
On Thursday night, July 28, 2016, just short of 96 years later, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was nominated by the Democratic National Convention to become the next president of the United States.
Almost a century after women gained the right to vote, a woman is now one election away from becoming president.
As the Raw Story website explained, her nomination delivered a “competing — and compelling — vision to the dark, dystopian fantasy served up last week by [the Republican nominee] Donald Trump”.
Clinton accepted her party’s nomination “with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise,” adding, “tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union.”
It was her convention, a four-day televised production, that, as Raw Story wrote, wove “traditionally conservative themes, such as patriotism, military service, small-town values and the virtues of hard work, into an inclusive and socially liberal narrative lauding shared sacrifice and civic virtue”.
The election campaign, which includes races for the presidency and for congress, will be a significant chapter in American history, which History.com puts in context:
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote—a right known as woman suffrage. At the time the U.S. was founded, its female citizens did not share all of the same rights as men, including the right to vote.
It was not until 1848 that the movement for women’s rights launched on a national level with a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, organized by abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and Lucretia Mott (1793-1880).
Following the convention, the demand for the vote became a centerpiece of the women’s rights movement. Stanton and Mott, along with Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and other activists, formed organizations that raised public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. After a 70-year battle, these groups finally emerged victorious with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Clinton’s major opponent for the nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, graciously conceded and called for a unanimous affirmation of her nomination. Some of his delegates were not so gracious, threatening to cast their votes on November 8 for someone other than Clinton.
That reluctance to get behind the party nominee is not a new phenomenon in American politics. It is the story of democracy.
But with Donald Trump as the only major option available to voters, it is time for the Sanders’ supporters, many young and new to politics, to view the consequences of their refusal to support their party’s nominee.
In the official count for the 1968 presidential election between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace, Nixon won over Humphrey by less than one percent of the popular vote.
Five years later, after winning a second term, Nixon was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal.
In that 1968 election independent candidate and segregationist hero, George Wallace, won 46 electoral votes with 13.53% of the total popular vote.
Reflect on these returns from 1968 and ponder what happens when a third party throws a proverbial “monkey wrench” into a presidential race:
Almost ten million votes were cast for racial segregation adherents in a presidential race forty-eight years ago.
Would a Hubert Humphrey presidency have been superior to the Richard Nixon presidency? That is a “what if” question for history to ponder. What is pertinent to this year’s presidential election is that in 1968, a vote for a third party might have been a statement, but how did it affect the final result?
Votes for third parties in November could give Donald Trump the White House. And what would that mean?
ABC News described one reaction from Donald Trump to the Democratic convention:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday afternoon he wanted to “hit” some of the Democratic National Convention speakers “so hard” while watching them last night, including a “little guy. . .so hard his head would spin”.
“You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard,” Trump said. “I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them, I was all set and then I got a call from a highly respected governor.”
Trump didn’t immediately clarify what he meant, but he said he was made particularly upset by an unspecified person he called a “little guy.”
Presumably, the “very little guy” in Trump’s diatribe is Senator Tim Kaine, of Virginia, Clinton’s choice as her vice-president.
In the campaigning weeks before November 8, we should expect more of these bombastic bar room outbursts from Trump. Is this man a potential Commander in Chief? Does he fit the mold of an American president?
The answer is obviously, no.
The picture of Hillary Clinton and the 1968 election results, are Screen Shots.