tv [untitled] February 12, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EST
an interesting argument, although i think it kind of pushes the arg gumt further than it should. perhaps gary donaldson who actually was maybe the first of these new studies has the right title on his. the first modern campaign. and donaldson's argument is basically television is what drove 1960, and it was the first election where that was true. and i would agree with that part. tv was important. and laura gifford, in her recent book, sees what's important in 1960 is the rise of conservatism in the republican party which, of course, manifest s itself at the republican convention and goldwater speaking to the entire convention. it's interesting to think that if nixon had actually won the 1960 election, goldwater would never have been nominated, of course, in '64 and probably not later either. and the whole direction of the republican party might have quite very well have been quite different, one could speculate about that. i think what actually drives the
'60 election and what makes it important historically is that it is the point where both money and television entered into politics in a big way. now, money, of course, is not new in politics. and one can go back to alexander hamilton to see that. but money is used in much larger quantities in 1960. and especially when kennedy comes up with the idea that the only way that he can actually win the democratic nomination is through by winning primaries, and he has to spend a lot of money. a lot of it his own money, in order to do so. and the combination of the money for the tv ads but also money for staff and running a campaign that starts way before the nominating convention, all of this is an innovation, nixon, since he has the nomination more or less locked up ahead of time doesn't have to worry about the nomination. but he can see that kennedy is on to something. and of course in 1968, nixon
copies the kennedy formula running in the primaries and using a lot of money and lining up television commercials and so forth. and he is, of course, successful in '68 as well. i think one of the things that we need is actually a big book on the 1960 election. i wrote one that was commissioned by a press to be short. and so i didn't really have space. but a book similar to the one that was done on 1968 by the three british journalists. something that would go into all of the details at the state level because the fact is that presidential elections are not a national election so much as they are 50 separate state elections. and what happens in a particular state often depends upon the political combinations that operate in that political state and who the personalities are there and the relationship of the candidate to those particular people, particularly inside the candidate's own party. looking at the papers of state leaders, for example, governors and senators would be very interesting as well as the
presidential candidates themselves. now, it's interesting that if you look at the 1960 election, kennedy and nixon both had a similar strategy. they both knew from polling data that the election was going to be very close. they knew that from the beginning. and they also knew that they were fairly equally balanced in terms of the electoral college. and therefore the winner of the election was likely to be the person who carried a majority of the most populous states. there were seven key states in 1960, new york, pennsylvania, ohio, michigan, illinois, texas and california. and largely the same states that are important today but you'll notice florida hadn't made it to the list yet. and if you could carry four out of seven of those, you probably would win. and if you carried five out of seven, there was almost no way you could lose. and interestingly enough, in 1960, almost all of those states were actually fairly competitive. it was not a case that either
side could really totally write off any of the big seven. and so both candidates made major efforts to win those seven. now, joe kennedy had maybe back in '56 figured out that kennedy's catholicism could give him an edge in new york and pennsylvania, states that had large numbers of catholics and where catholics after world war ii had begun to move away from the democratic party, especially catholics who had moved out of philadelphia and new york city into the suburbs. and eisenhower got a fairly substantial vote among those suburban catholics in '52 and an even bigger margin in '56. nixon, with his anti-communism, which played especially strongly among catholics and his appeal to conservative catholic democrats was a natural for continuing that in '60. but this could be neutralized by the democrats if they nominated a catholic candidate and
cultivated cath riolic votes on that basis. so it was always, i think, problematic whether nixon could really carry new york or pennsylvania. in addition, michigan was increasingly under the control of the uaw during the 1950s. and so by 1960, the odds of nixon actually being able to carry michigan were probably somewhat less than 50/50. this meant that nixon really had to carry all four of the remaining states, ohio, illinois, california and texas. well, he had the home state advantage in california. and although the democrats did make an effort in california, i don't think the kennedy campaign electoral map ever really thought that california was likely, even though it turned out to be very close, they couldn't really count on california ending up in the kennedy column. ohio had a natural tendency toward the republican party that was not true of some other midwestern states.
so nixon probably had a little edge there. it also had fewer catholics. illinois, the polls showed nixon running ahead in illinois all spring more than in other parts of the country. and nixon was probably quite confident that he could carry illinois. the key to the election actually maybe turned out to be texas. kind of strange. i mean, texas hadn't played that key role before. but eisenhower carried texas very easily. and if nixon could hold on to texas and illinois, he could, in fact, win the election. a couple of days before the democratic national convention, nixon wrote a letter to a friend in which he said that he expected that kennedy almost certainly would be the democratic nominee, but he wasn't sure, you know, what the total ticket would be. but that if kennedy could persuade johnson to get on the toi ticket with him, that would be by far the most difficult ticket for nixon to dweetefeat.
and that was, i think, a correct analysis. and the truth, i point this out in my book, johnson was absolutely essential to kennedy's victory. without johnson on the ticket, there is no way which texas, which turned out to be close anyway, would never have gone to kennedy because he was simply too liberal or ran as a liberal in that election. also senator clinton anderson of new mexico in his memoir says that without johnson, that kennedy would not have carried new mexico because there are about seven county as long the texas border that was settled by texans and they were greatly influenced by johnson. in addition, johnson learned that there was a move afoot by the states' rights governor of louisiana to have the democratic ee electric tors in louisiana be unpledged and not vote for kennedy in the electoral college. and this was stopped by personal intervention of russell long acting at the request of lyndon johnson. so if johnson hadn't been on the
ticket, that request would probably not have been made. it would have been hard for russell long to argue the case. as it turned out, the state central committee voted 51-48 to put kennedy electors on the ballot. it was very close and could have gone either way. johnson's campaigning was extremely important in the south, responsible for kennedy carrying south carolina and possibly north carolina as well. so when you kind of add it all together, johnson was one of the few cases in history where a vice presidential candidate actually made a difference. sam raburn after the election said that it was the most important vice presidential candidacy since teddy roosevelt's back in 1900. johnson did have an unusual role to play as it turned out. so the election turns out to be, you know, much closer perhaps than the kennedy people expected. but, you know, nixon had problems at the state level and, for example, illinois where you
had a weak incumbent governor, william straten, who was insisting upon running for a third term although his prospects were poor. he really didn't control the republican party. and mary daley who was about to become famous as a result of the 1960 election. mayor daly arranged for a brilliantly balanced democratic ticket with kennedy at the top to draw out those suburban catholics. but then running for governor, a lutheran, otto kerner, against the very unpopular stratton. and then the popular senator paul douglas picking up the university of chicago vote or the intellectual vote and also douglas had cultivated farmers in southern illinois for the entirety of his senate career. and so he could campaign in southern illinois not only for himself but also for otto kerner and jfk. and so the republican party in illinois was in shambles. and even though nixon had been ahead in the polls, he didn't
win the election in illinois, did he? now, whether he got the most votes, of course, is another matter. actually, that raises an interesting question, which is the vote count in both illinois and texas. it seems that in illinois, there is now a few years ago someone developed new techniques for evaluating vote stealing which involved random sample numbers and apparently if you try to add votes, you know, steal elections by simply making up numbers, you don't do it randomly the way you would if it were actually counting real votes. and so you can tell in the way -- if you have the precinct tallies, you could tell the difference. this was another study that needs to be done. e ed kalina's not very satisfactory voting in that election really needs to be supplemented. in addition, we know that in texas that the democratic officials controlled everything
all the way through the entire political system. there wasn't a single elected republican state or county official anywhere in the state of texas. and the way some of the vote counts were done in texas is truly bizarre and spectacular is the only way to describe it. without going into the details. i would suggest that probably more votes were stolen in texas than in illinois in reality. well, in 1968, richard nixon copied kennedy's 1960 formula to run in the primaries, to show popularity by winning primaries to build party organizations, by winning in primaries and to use television advertising in order to massage the electorate and win the election. the bigger budget and the bigger staff really mattered. the -- yeah -- well, that's good because i'm at the end. as nixon hinted in a letter just
before -- well, anyway, so the 1960 election was a big disappointment, of course, to nixon. and indeed, republican party officials were really angry with him because they believed that the underlying fundamentals of the economy and the peace and prosperity eisenhower eight years and so forth should have given nixon the victory. and, of course, one does wonder if he only hadn't done the debate in chicago under those sort of strange conditions wearing a gray suit that faded into the gray background and being sick, i think 101-degree fever, perhaps the debate is what really cost him the election. or maybe he was just up against the fact that in the country, he was only the number -- you know, the second most popular politician. or third. i suppose putting eisenhower number one. kennedy was simply more popular than nixon. there wasn't anything nixon could do about that until 1968 and then he didn't have to face that problem.
i will end with one thing. i don't think that religion was as important in 1960 as many people said at the time. and the reason i say that is if you overlay the returns for 1968 on 1960, you see that nixon's vote is similar in both elections and that humphries' vote more or less mirrors jfk's. and so the idea that there were large numbers of people who voted for nixon on grounds that kennedy was catholic, presumably they would have been turned around and voted for humphries who was, of course, protestant. but, in fact, that's not what happens. i think that the loss of democratic votes in states like oklahoma can actually be explained by the shift of oklahoma away from the democrats because they were a party that was becoming too liberal. and it was really a rejection of liberalism. and that would, of course, become a theme four years after 1960.
>> terrific. why don't we open up the discussion to our audience. and please wait until a microphone comes to you before you start asking your question. so there's a guy in the way back with the white shirt and a tie. wait, wait, wait. wait till the microphone gets to you because we're on camera. >> i'd like to address this question to dr. coffey. dr. coffey, had you given much thought as to milton eisenhower's motivation behind his statements, that they'd do everything they can to be elected? >> well, the letter -- can you hear? is this -- >> it's on. >> the letter is rather opaque. milton eisenhower writes saying don't get me wrong -- and this is almost a direct quote -- dick nixon is one of my dearest
friends. and the very next clause in the sentence is, but i cannot let him become president. earlier dr. gelman was talking about how milton eisenhower wrote that his brother, dwight, could have stopped nixon from being the vice presidential candidate in '56. i think it's a personal thing. milton eisenhower just -- i recall that milton eisenhower wrote negative things about nixon's trip to moscow. he would later say that he was embarrassed that nixon carried some of the family name with eisenhower. milton is someone who probably deserves a lot more attention since he was the much more famous eisenhower in the 1930s. i just think mostly it was a personal thing. >> there's a gentleman right there right next to him.
>> bill, i think you rightfully say we should look at the presidential elections as a conglomeration of 50 state elections. that got me to thinking about a couple of names that i think would -- we'd benefit from hearing your folks' opinion on. i know that spiro agnew was originally a nelson rockefeller man. and nixon, in his letters that i saw in the nixon project, was particularly impressed with himself that he was able to turn agnew away from nelson rockefeller and john mitchell had a lot to do with that. and tim, i know that you have covered a person who i think is critically important to nixon's electoral success and is also not mentioned very often. and that's george romney. and bringing romney into the cabinet and turning the michigan -- the michigan election. so my question for you is, am i correct in assuming that nixon had a great deal of skill in
terms of working with the state executives so as to maximize his political -- his political success in those states starting with rockefeller and then with romney? >> well, let's go back to 1960. one of nixon's real problems in 1960 is that of the ten most populous states, there were only two with republican governors. one is the discredited william stratton on his way out. and the other, of course, is nelson rockefeller. and if rockefeller wants to be president, the best way is for nixon to lose the 1960 election. so rockefeller has very little interest in helping nixon win new york state or win the election, either one. so i think having a weak republican party -- the party was really hurt by the 1958 elections. and so that really made a difference. and it made it much harder for nixon to run in 1960 than it would have been had the governors -- republican
governors who had been elected earlier in the '50s, had they still been in office. >> i think it helped a lot. one thing you had mentioned in your talk is the power of the uaw throughout the '50s and well into the 1960s. but the interesting thing about michigan is it's a ticket-splitting state. i mean, had a democratic governor in '60. 1962, john sweenson takes over. george romney gets himself elected in '64 and remained in republican hands for quite a long time. i mean, it was a master stroke. how many votes romney carried -- i mean, there was no way of knowing when people voted that romney was going to become the hud secretary. it was a smooth move. >> the guy in the middle. >> in 1968 when nixon picked agnew, it defies common sense
since vice presidency for nixon and johnson led to the nomination. and then the importance of 1960 johnson on the ticket. agnew just seems a puzzle being picked in 1960. all three of you should be able to comment on that. >> this is the question of why nixon chose agnew. the republican party in 1968 was not unified. this is very important. the republican party today is much more unified than it was in 1968. nixon could not choose a liberal because the conservatives had so much power. and he couldn't choose a conservative because there was still enough moderates and liberals. he couldn't choose therefore ronald reagan and nelson rockefeller, but further, he didn't want either of them. i mean, you don't want to be
overshadowed or have someone like that either. a few names -- a couple names were tossed out. gerald ford. george bush of texas. although a few hours before nixon chose agnew, he actually was talking to, i believe, rogers morton of maryland or i believe it's rogers. he had a brother from kentucky. was it thurston? and he said rogers, if you want the vice presidential nom, i'll give it to you. morton said no, no. so he centered on agnew. there wasn't a real ground swell for anyone. but also nixon couldn't afford to alienate anyone. there was -- he still had a tiny bit of fear that if i nominate someone that the party doesn't like, the floor might revolt, and maybe they might go for reagan. so yes, it defies common sense, but considers nixon's options. he didn't have any.
and agnew alienated nobody. because the question was, spiro who? >> right. >> also, by the way, you used the word "puzzle." in 1968, i mean, look at those times, that year. the whole year was a total puzzle. you've got the assassination of robert kennedy, martin luther king, two conventions, total chaos at both of them, but particularly at the democratic convention. vietnam war going crazy. the surprise announcement that lbj wasn't going to run again. if you look at the times, i mean, nothing made sense. for that particular year. >> there's another consideration, and that is that agnew is a play for white ethnic votes. that nixon is making a play -- trying to peel off some votes that traditionally had been identified as democratic. >> also to note that strom
thurmond submitted a list of who was acceptable and who wasn't acceptable. spiro as he was called i think was on the wrong list. my question is about chicago in '60, my beloved home state. there is a saying from back in the day that for every dead person who voted in chicago, a cow voted republican downstate. so it's important to enter that into the record. what is the state of investigation? bill, you kind of mentioned a study and kind of trailed off. it seems like one could take a hard look as this as someone who tried to do a journalist in 1960. >> as i understand it, ed kalina who has written a book called -- is it "courthouse to white house"? in which he goes back and looks at the precinct returns. and while one can only speculate about the 3,000 chicago precincts that used machine-counted ballots, maybe
there were -- there may have been valid tampering, but there's no way to prove anything with a voting machine. but the 600 precincts that used paper ballots, the republicans insisted, after the election on reviewing those ballots, and when they opened the machines and actually -- or the ballot boxes, not the machines, opened the ballot boxes and counted the ballots, "the chicago tribune" was reporting all of this. what you found was that the vote totals on the tally sheets bore really no relationship at all to what was inside the ballot boxes. and, you know, the number of votes would be off by sometimes ten votes. sometimes 30 votes. occasionally 100 votes. it was pretty consistent precinct for precinct. had it been random error, you would find some precincts where the error went towards nixon rather than always toward kennedy. this adds up to thousands of ballots overall. now, it's not enough to add up to the 8,800-vote margin that kennedy won illinois by. and, of course, there were republican counties downstate
which is to say outside cook county where republicans probably did steal ballots. although i've always thought there were probably a lot of democratic ballots stolen in east st. louis where the republicans didn't have any poll watchers. in cook county, they had poll watchers, and there was much less of an issue. both sides were stealing in illinois, but the democrats had more opportunity because of the fact that they controlled the political voting machinery in certain locations that were operated to their advantage. the technical statistical analysis -- and this is now being used -- when the united nations does vote monitoring overseas, this is what they do. you take each precinct and you look at the final digit. and while you might logically think that random numbers mean that 10% of the vote totals for a precinct would end in zero and 10% in 1 and 10% in 2, it
doesn't actually work that way if you spin random numbers. it turns out to be a different kind of distribution from that. and so you can compare the actual distribution on the ballots with the random number forecast and therefore the computer can actually tell you whether or not there's been vote tampering. >> hi, i'm from salisbury university. i have three really quick questions or comments directed toward professor coffey. all about a, i've worked through the agnew papers a little bit. and i found them to be pretty interesting and pretty rich for what they held. there at the university of maryland. so i thought you might want to comment on that. i also was fascinated to study agnew from the angle of native american indian policy. and it kind of dovetails with
what you were talking about. he took an interest in that. >> yeah, he did. >> when he got serious in 1970, he was really nowhere to be found in it. the last thing, when you mention these two marylanders, you've got this ideological divide in the party. it's also fascinating that it's a geographical divide. and maryland being something of a border state. that those two names come to the forefront. >> yeah. first of all, the agnew papers are at the maryland college park. after agnew resigned, he worked with the staff for about nine months. i worked with them. they're sensational papers. they're organized. the staff there is very efficient. and i found things about agnew writing in 1964 about jotting down notes about how he was worried about barry goldwater. i also found letters he wrote to -- if any of you were from california, do you remember senator thomas keekle?
agnew wrote him a letter in 1963 saying i'm endorsing you for president. keekle wrote back saying, i don't know who you are, and i'm not running. but agnew wrote -- and these papers are in the archives. agnew was saying, you are a practical person. and i don't want the party to go on in a crazy ideological direction either left or right. and so there are some real gems in the paper. the second thing about agnew and liberalism, he was someone who i think by 1972, '73 had become conservative in large part because he really believed that the liberals were out to get him. i mean, he really believed that particularly the media, "the washington post" and "new york times," had really treated him unfairly. and he began to read "national review." and he said, they're giving me a fair shake. and he also -- his aide, david
keen, told me that agnew really actually studied issues. he read a lot. and he was involved in -- he did -- he actually was intellectually curious, something people don't give him credit for. he was very well versed, very well read. but in terms of in the nixon administration and when it came to civil rights, particularly integrating schools, he was invited down to new orleans when they were going to do this in 1970. he said, i'm not going. during the native american riots, he said, okay, even though i was in charge of this policy, i'm not going to do it. the final thing with maryland -- maryland is a very strange state. is it south? is it north? is it east? is it west? it has a lot of people who are very difficult to discern what they are even in terms of are you a democrat or a republican? so agnew fit because he wasn't
south and wasn't north. i do disagree with you. i don't think agnew actually was there. i also disagree with the thing about strom thurmond. i don't think agnew was part of a southern vstrategy. i believe he was part of a suburban strategy. nixon figured out by '68 voters in the suburbs and states like pennsylvania were the ones making the difference and that's why agnew was on the ticket. >> you had your hand up in the purple right there. and then we'll continue. >> okay. the election, there's a story that has gone afoot that the election that i heard, i don't know if it's mythology or fact, that on election day 1960, did richard nixon, in fact, take