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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Relevant Missouri History

I saw this today from the New York Times. Given the presidential election currently proceeding, it's interesting to see how we've developed and changed--at least somewhat--and where our past leaders and current policies came from.

Harry S. Truman

Choosing a vice-presidential nominee has never been easy, but once upon a time the candidate at the top of the ticket didn’t have to sweat it, as it wasn’t his decision.

In the latter half of the 1800s, the power to pick a running mate often belonged to the party bosses who ran the local political machines. They helped determine turnout, which helped decide elections. Their strategy centered on geographic balance.

One of the their last great convention victories came on this day in 1944, when they replaced on the ticket President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president, Henry A. Wallace, with Harry S. Truman, a Missouri senator.

Truman wasn’t the top choice of likely Democratic voters. A Gallup poll that July found that 65 percent preferred Wallace, and Truman came in eighth place, with just 2 percent.

Roosevelt didn’t want him either. The three-term president said that if he were a delegate, he would back Wallace, whom conservative party bosses opposed. Roosevelt’s wishes were ignored, and when a delegate tried to enter the vice president’s name for the nomination, the day’s proceedings were quickly adjourned.

The decision was momentous, as Roosevelt died less than three months into his fourth term and Truman ascended to the presidency. Today, it’s customary for a convention to honor the presidential nominee’s choice for vice president.

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