“Boundless Confidence In America’s Promise”

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.20.08 AM

UPDATE: Initially, I wrote in this posting that “presumably the ‘very little guy’ in Trump’s diatribe is Senator Tim Kaine, of Virginia, Clinton’s choice as her vice-president.”

Two days later, Trump tweeted that he was referring to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a speaker at the convention.

News of that tweet arrived from Forward, a Jewish publication and the New York Daily News.

Is this the first of many moments in the Trump so-far “non” campaign, when the Republican nominee builds a case that he is not really serious about winning the election? 

by James M. Wall

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:

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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 100 days 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.

 

About wallwritings

James M. Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Jim launched this new personal blog April 24, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to jameswall8@gmail.com Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years.
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8 Responses to “Boundless Confidence In America’s Promise”

  1. Jack Graham says:

    With due respect, you can’t be serious in this black-and-white portrayal of candidates. Do you really believe that Hillary Clinton, the most corrupt candidate for President in our generation, who escaped indictment only because of manifest corruption in the DOJ and the FBI, represents “boundless confidence in America’s promise”? The United States are in rapid decline and fall because we have been betrayed by domestic enemies from within. That should be obvious to anybody who at least understands from impeccable forensic evidence that the collapse of the twin towers and building #7 on 9/11 was caused by controlled demolition, not air craft collision and office fires. Both major political parties have let us down in the Iraq War and the subprime mortgage foreclosure crisis. Our national stupidity is bipartisan: for instance, Tim Kaine joined John McCain in introducing legislation to repeal the War Powers Resolution of 1973, as if we had learned nothing from our misadventure in Vietnam. And both major parties fanatically support Israel if as that country were the 51st State, which is suicidal.

    Trump may not win the election; but, if he does, as he might, he may not be able to restore depleted American industry and agriculture by renegotiation of NAFTA and rejection of TPTP. He may fail in his attempts to reconcile with Russia. He may fail, because our problems may be more fundamental than he can see, and the decay has progressed to far. But it is not wisdom to throw out emotional, optimistic, fatuous phrases to conceal the deep moral, legal, political, social, and economic maladies of the United States.

    As for third party candidates like Jill Stein, not to mention others, it is part of life to have problems we cannot solve, in which case it is important at least not to be complicit in wrongdoing and ruin. it has always been moral and right to cast principled votes for third-party candidates

  2. Janet Gunn says:

    O mein Gott im Himmel!

    Janet

  3. David Timm says:

    As Mr. Graham points out above, we are beset with two monopolistic, crazy, out-of-control political parties, and neither of our two choices for the office of President of the United States are what we would like them to be. The airwaves are already filled with the fear-and-hate harbingers of what will certainly be the dirtiest and most propagandized Presidential campaign in history; and protesting by casting one’s vote for a third party candidate might bring on a short-lived rush of accomplishment and good feelings, but this is a very serious situation that we are dealing with. We need to fall in behind the best candidate available. Personally, I see Hillary as the less objectionable and far more qualified of the two major candidates, and despite my disagreement with her positions on Russia and the Middle East, I intend to vote my conscience and best judgement — for Hillary Clinton.
    As for casting a “feel good vote”, save that pleasure for your next Homecoming or Prom Queen election.

  4. Jim, Trump is indeed distasteful for many reasons, including his simplistic and stuff-of-cartoons “bombastic bar room outbursts.” But I simply cannot forget or forgive HClinton’s “We came, we saw, he died!” sadistic cackle at the butcher-knife sodomizing and murder of President Qaddafi and the concomitant shattering of the sovereign nation of Libya. In my view — given her position at that moment in time, mind you — that unwomanly, unhuman, worse-than-bar-room outburst was and is representative of her true character and portends her actions if, God forbid, she attains the presidency.

    Pity the Palestinians, always the punching bag, their quest for justice and dignity always smothered by the callous indifference or outright disdain of those who submit to the Zionist menace to humankind. I, too, am a Palestinian!

    I’m not in a swing or close-call state, but, even if I were, I could not bring myself to vote for either Trump or HClinton in November.

  5. Theresa says:

    Two huge problems I see in the analogy to third-party-voting the 1968 election:
    First, if all those who voted for third party candidate George Wallace, the Alabama governor and a staunch supporter of segregation, had instead voted for one of the two major parties’ candidates, is it logical to think they would have voted for Humphrey? The two immediately previous presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Democrats both, had advanced the cause of desegregation in the South. If those third party voters had had to choose between Humphrey and Nixon, It is not logical to suggest (as this article seems to suggest) that a large number of Wallace supporters might have chosen the Democrat instead of Wallace and changed the outcome of the election. Even though the South was considered a Democratic region back then, Nixon carried several states in the Deep South.
    Second, it is the Electoral College votes that really need to be examined. Even adding all of Wallace’s EC votes to Humphrey’s, Nixon was still way ahead. One would have to research third party votes in specific states to see if and where any of them would have changed the outcome in the Electoral College and hence, the election.
    This seems to be a poor example of how third party voting might influence an election. In fact, we seem to have the opposite lesson from 1968: that the third party voters did nothing to hurt Humphrey’s chances or help Nixon’s.

    One other thought: regardless of how third party voting might actually effect the election this year, for myself, as for other commenters, the values of neither of the two major parties’ candidates would allow me to vote for them. I agree Trump is by far the scarier choice. I am in a state where Hillary is certain to get the Electoral College votes, so it is a luxury for me that my vote for a third party candidate is not going to hurt her chances or help get Trump elected. But I think even if I were in a swing state, I would find it very difficult to give Hillary my vote.

  6. Roy Hayes says:

    If Hillary gets elected, she must be held accountable. She must not be allowed to start doing favors for those who have bought her for a very high price. Bernie lost out to Hillary, but he’ll still be around. He’ll continue the debate, because his ideas have caused the grassroots to vibrate. Whether or not Trump gets elected, he will be around to fuel the debate. I, personally, am investing a lot of faith in the grassroots. Peace, Roy

  7. Eugene Fitzpatrick says:

    From the get-go a prudent American voter should consider that personally voting for Mrs. Clinton is a non-starter, an absurd act that just aint gonna happen given that ignominy is her stock-in-trade. For the good of country and world the present wretched leadership of the Democratic Party needs to thoroughly disintegrate with the party being transformed back to its ‘for the common good’ phase of long ago. If it takes the election of a Trump to catalyze this requisite disintegration and transformation then so be it. The present amalgamation of the elites of both major parties is too untenable, too productive of sorrow and suffering.

  8. oldkahuna says:

    I do not consider a vote for a third-party candidate to be equivalent to voting for the prom queen. That is a disrespectful crack to make!
    The problem is corrupt capitalism and corrupt political parties. Change has started for both. A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote of “no confidence” in our current political structures. Trump will defeat himself. And Clinton is a person who has never seen a war she didn’t like.
    I refuse to vote for war and hate.
    NOTE: This is NOT a “feel good” vote!

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