By Jim Coughlin
Well, As I see it, it looks like next year’s presidential election will be a rematch between incumbent United States president Joseph R. Biden and former President Donald John Trump. There is a saying, “history repeats itself” and we, as a nation, should set our sails and get ready for this rocky election campaign to begin.
It has been approximately 70 years since the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956. They both featured President Dwight David Eisenhower, “Ike” as the Republican nominee and Adlai Stevenson, the then governor of Illinois as the Democratic nominee.
In both elections, Eisenhower handily defeated Stevenson.
In 1952, Eisenhower won 55.2 % of the popular vote to Stevenson’s 44.3 l %. In the electoral college, Eisenower won 442 to Stevenson’s 89, only managing to win 9 states, all of which were in the southern United States. Interestingly enough, Stevenson DID NOT even win his home state of Illinois in either election. In 1952, Stevenson won the southern states of West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to capture 89 electoral votes.
I am told by a friend who is an avid political researcher and historian that the reason why Stevenson won those southern states is because his Vice Presidential running mate was an avowed segregationist.
In 1956, the results were similar in that Stevenson almost duplicated the states he won four years earlier, with the exceptions being that he lost both West Virginia and Louisiana. In the popular vote, Eisenhower won 57.4% to Stevensin’s 42.0%, and captured 41 electoral votes.
But next year’s election will not be anywhere close to the 1952 and 1956 elections. It could end up being the closest presidential election ever, even closer than the elections of 2000 that featured former president George W. Bush and former Vice President Al Gore, (involving Florida), and the one in 2004 between President George W. and Massachusetts’s own John F. Kerry, then a United States Senator, (involving Ohio.)
Unfortunately, it will be all about the great divide that we, as Americans and as a nation are currently experiencing between Democrats and Republicans, and between the backers of Biden and Trump. It does not have to be this way. But as history is our judge, our politics has in recent years got very combative and, indeed, extremely personal. Sady, today having a difference of opinion on which candidate one is supporting for president has been known to strain many friendships and relationships.
I believe that we, as Americans, can do better than that.We should learn to talk to each other and respect each other, and if I may invoke the age old adage of “to agree to disagree” and to above all respect the other person’s opinion, without taking offense at their differing opinions.
The best way to accomplish this is to begin to talk with people with whom we politically disagree. And to do it, respectfully. That is to listen to others, and their different views from our own, and to then see where common ground can be reached.
This is not an impossible task.
The national polls all indicate that this election will, indeed, be a cliffhanger between Biden and Trump. A recent poll that came out in the New York Times after the former president’s recent indictment by the United States District Court for the District of Washington, D.C. had both Biden and Trump at 43%.
However, this poll did not indicate the electoral college breakdown which at this stage is impossible to either predict or even speculate.
On the Republican side, there are about 14 candidates seeking the nomination, with only two of them, former Governors Chris Christy of New Jersey and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas being Trump critics. The remaining candidates all occupy the camp of those being either supportive of Trump, or are afraid to criticize him, while at the same time they are all wanting you to vote for them, instead.
Quite frankly, I can’t figure out that particular political reasoning.
Hutchinson, for his part in the wake of the recent Trump indictments has called upon him to end his candidacy, while Christie has been extremely critical of the former president, mostly for his poor judgement, especially in the area of good government issues and political transparency.
Together, Hutchinson and Christy along with another candidate, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd are Trump’s very well deserved opposition within the ranks of the Republican Presidential candidates.
Another candidate that is somewhat of a Trump critic is Trump’s former Vice President, Mike Pence who figured prominently in the attempted initial certification of the presidential vote by the United States Congress on January 6th, and the subsequent insurrection that occurred at the United States Capitol Building.
To his everlasting credit, Pence was a true leader that day when he refused to go along with Trump’s demand to have him as the Vice President block the certification by the Congress of the individual state’s votes for president. The proponents of this measure within Congress wanted to send some electoral votes back to the individual state legislatures what they called a “recertification of the votes.” If this was done, it would have undoubtedly resulted in the presidential election ultimately being decided by the United States House of Representatives.
In this process, according to the constitution, each state’s congressional delegation would have only one vote in selecting the next president of the United States, and NOT having the people of the United States decide who would be elected president of the United States.
This would have been EXTREMELY UNDEMOCRATIC for our republic. Thank goodness that this did NOT happen.
Pence has not registered too well in recent polling for the Republican nomination, mostly at about 3%. At this stage, it is not entirely certain whether Pence will be allowed on the debate stage on August 23rd with the other candidates because he needs to have an increase in two areas in order to qualify: campaign donations and better poll numbers. However, if he reaches those two postulates, this could be his moment to shine and publicly criticize Trump for what he has previously criticized him for, namely his concoction regarding the attempt to block the vote certifying the election of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President of the United States on January 6, 2021.
If Christy gets to debate on August 23rd, he will undoubtedly add an especially good flair to the debate because he is especially well suited to challenge Trump on good government issues on which Trump is especially vulnerable given his past political performance in this particular area. He will be especially good at doing so because he can easily employ his very well developed lawyer skills as the former United States Attorney (for the District of New Jersey) in fighting it out with the former president.
One Republican candidate who may eventually become a strong contender for the nomination is South Carolina United States Senator Tim Scott who has been rising in recent public opinion polls. He could be a very strong candidate especially in the Iowa Caucuses that is historically known for its large number of Evangelical voters attending their party caucuses.
An issue that will surely surface within the Republican primaries is the question of Trump’s legitimacy as a candidate and whether the twice impeached, and three times indicted former president should be the Republican standard bearer to go against President Biden in November.
There is also the possibility that the former president may soon be indicted by the Fulton County District Attorney in Georgia for his well known effort in urging the Georgia Secretary of State (in a taped telephone conversation) to help him “find 11,780 more votes” which Trump said “was one more than he needed” in order to win the state.
It will be interesting to watch these issues eventually work themselves out in preparing for the Republican presidential nomination.
So, stay tuned and let the race to the GOP presidential nomination begin.