Three Crazy Elections: 1968, 2000 and 2016 by
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The biggest electoral disappointments to me were in 1968 and 2016 with 2000 being a runner up.  With the 1968 election, I worked very hard for Eugene McCarthy.  First, his opponent was Lyndon Johnson.  When he dropped out, Robert Kennedy decided he wanted to be president.  People had begged Robert Kennedy to run earlier, but he declined.  After Johnson’s poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, he jumped into the race.  Too bad he did not have the courage earlier.  Since he was late to the race, my opinion of him was he was a man of no courage, and I continued to do work for McCarthy.  Finally, after Kennedy was assassinated, Hubert Humphrey decided to get into the race.  He did not run in a single primary, but still got the nomination and ran against Nixon.  Both my parents voted for Humphrey, mainly because Nixon was so bad.  We ended up with five more years of the Vietnam War under his leadership.  Some of my friends died there when Nixon was president.  Others only suffered PTSD, most of which was not treated.

My reflections of my elections disappointments of 1968, 2000 and 2016.

After the loss in 1968, it reaffirmed my decision to continue my chemistry major, even though history and political science were the most interesting subjects to me.  I figured that while science is not always logical, it is certainly more logical than politics, especially the politics of 1968.

2016 was another lesson in reality, and not democracy.  Ironically, I was busy until about 8:30 pm PST on election night.  I had not heard any news, so I called a friend Russ, and invited myself over for a beer.  He told me things were crazy now, Trump looked like he could win.  Russ was more upset than me.  Even though we were both chemists, Russ was black and could trace his ancestors to a Louisiana plantation where they were slaves.  His experiences in life were certainly different than mine. This was personal to him.  His brother was at his house too, also upset.  All of us could not believe the news.  To make matters worse for Russ, his super religious sister voted for Trump.  After all, the church told her that was the correct way to vote.

As a side note, Trump did not win the popular vote, but would have won it if California’s votes were not counted.  I certainly wondered about the rest of the country.  My explanation was that the wealth of the country had doubled in the past 40+ years, but so many people did not share in this wealth.  They voted for the unconventional candidate, but I was certain that the only group that would prosper under Trump was the one percenters.  It’s turned out to be true.

The year 2000 was another disappointment.  Who actually won the Florida vote?  We will never really know, thanks to the Supreme Court.  Their fumbling of the decisions about the Florida count and final decision left me with the impression that most of the justices should be replaced. I think kangaroos would have done a better job.  Unfortunately, the latest justice is no better and probably worse than the justices on the 2000 court.  In her conformation hearings, she could not even answer if Medicare was constitutional. Not the type of thinking American needs in the twenty-first century.

My final hopes for this year is the Supreme Court does not steal another election.  If they do, the country’s opinion of our government and the courts will sink even lower than it is today.  That would not be a good thing.

Profile photo of Joe Lowry Joe Lowry
I was a child that moved so often, (8 elementary/middle schools) and finally went to to high school in Arroyo Grande California. I ended up at San Jose State University graduating in Chemistry, minor in Biology. Got married, and had two sons. Unfortunately, my wife passed 35 years later. I worked initially in the pharmaceutical industry. After being down-sized, I ended up in the aerospace field, working on satellites. I still live in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Tags: 1968 2000 2016 Trump McCarthy Supreme Court
Characterizations: funny, well written

Comments

  1. Thanx for your recap of three disappointing elections Joe, hope we’re not disappointed this coming Tuesday!

    Your reference to RFK brought back memories. When my husband Danny was in college, before I knew him, he stomped for Kennedy’s 1964 NY Senate race.

    Four years later Danny and I were dating when RFK was assassinated on June 6, 1968. A stricken Danny called to tell me and we eloped a week later.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    We certainly agree on those three elections being pivotal in the direction of our country. Let’s hope 2020 sends us pivoting back in a good direction. It’s going to be a very frightening week and a chaotic end to a terrible year.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    Good recap of those disappointing elections and how they affected your outlook on life and and reality of living. As Dana just said, let’s hope for a better outcome this week!

  4. Suzy says:

    Clearly these were the three elections that were the most haunting in our lifetimes, since you, Laurie, and I all picked them to write about. I like your line about the Supreme Court, “I think kangaroos would have done a better job.” Subtly suggesting that they are a kangaroo court, which they kind of were in 2000, and are even more so now!

  5. I enjoyed this reflection, especially when you got outside the frame of familiar political narrative and delved into more personal insights, such as your friend who watched the returns with you and had a somewhat different perspective. The humor of “I think kangaroos would have done a better job” kind of popped out as in a dead pan delivery. I hope there’s more of those kinds of lines, where that came from.

    • Joe Lowry says:

      I try to put a good line or two in my writing. Let’s hope 2020 ends with the good news that Trump will have to retire from his government job. That way, he can go back to bankrupting his own private companies instead of the government.

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