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Hubert Humphrey presidential campaign, 1968


Hubert Humphrey presidential campaign, 1968

Campaign U.S. presidential election, 1968
Candidate Hubert Humphrey
Mayor of Minneapolis 1945–1948
U.S. Senator 1949–1965
Vice President 1965–1969
Affiliation Democratic Party
Slogan Some People Talk Change, Others Cause It

The Hubert Humphrey presidential campaign of 1968 began when Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota decided to seek the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States following the announcement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that he would not seek the party's nomination. Johnson had been stalled by the anti-Vietnam War candidacy of Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, who along with Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, became the main opponents for Humphrey. The contest between the men featured a battle for control of the Democratic Party, and cast Humphrey's "old politics", against the "new politics" of McCarthy and Kennedy. The main cause of the division was the Vietnam War, which intensified during Humphrey's tenure as Vice President and grew increasingly unpopular.

Humphrey entered the race too late to participate in any primaries, and relied on "Chicago. He selected little-known Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine as his running mate.

During the general election, Humphrey faced former Vice President Richard Nixon of California, the Republican Party nominee. Nixon led in most polls throughout the campaign, and successfully criticized Humphrey's role in Vietnam, connecting him to the unpopular president and the general disorder in the nation. Humphrey experienced a surge in the polls in the days prior to the election, largely due to incremental progress in the peace process in Vietnam and a break with the Johnson war policy, but was narrowly defeated by Nixon on Election Day.


  • Background 1
  • Lyndon Johnson campaign 2
  • Announcement 3
  • Campaign developments 4
  • Democratic National Convention 5
  • General election 6
  • Results 7
  • Aftermath 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11


Hubert Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey was first elected to public office in 1945 as Mayor of Minneapolis. He served two, two-year terms, and gained a reputation as an anti-Communist and ardent supporter of the Civil Rights movement.[1] He gave a rousing speech at the 1948 Democratic National Convention arguing for the adoption of a pro-Civil Rights plank, stating, "The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights."[2] That same year, he was elected to the United States Senate, where he worked closely with Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson. His persona and tactics in the Senate led to his nickname of "The Happy Warrior".[3] Contemporaries noted that Humphrey succeeded in politics because he had a likable personality and could connect with voters on a personal level.[4]

Humphrey first entered presidential politics in 1952 running as a favorite son candidate in Minnesota. In 1960, he mounted a full-scale run, winning primaries in South Dakota and Washington D.C., but ultimately lost the Democratic nomination to future President John F. Kennedy. In 1964, Humphrey was tapped as the running mate of President Lyndon Johnson, who went on to win in a landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater. As Vice President, Humphrey oversaw turbulent times in America, including race riots and growing frustration and anger over the large number of casualties in the Vietnam War. President Johnson's popularity had plummeted as the election grew closer.[5]

Lyndon Johnson campaign

Prior to Humphrey's run, President Lyndon Johnson began a campaign for re-election, entering his name in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary for March 1968. Late in 1967, building upon anti-war sentiment, Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota entered the race, making his challenge to the president no mystery, with heavy criticism of his Vietnam War policies.[6] Even before McCarthy's entrance, Johnson grew concerned about a challenge. He confided to Democratic Congressional leaders that an opponent could pull Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Benjamin Spock into their corner, defeating him in New Hampshire, and forcing his withdrawal from the race; similar to Senator Estes Kefauver's 1952 challenge to President Harry Truman, which likely caused the president to not seek re-election.[7]

Humphrey (left) and President Lyndon Johnson (center) discuss the Vietnam War.

Humphrey was assigned the task of campaigning for Johnson, and was described in the Associated Press as the "administration's strongest advocate on Vietnam" policy.[8] But the task became difficult following the Tet Offensive, which despite being a tactical victory, resulted in the deaths of thousands of American and South Vietnamese soldiers.[9] The attack included an invasion of the United States Embassy in Saigon,[10] which led many Americas to believe that the North Vietnamese were stronger than had been reported, and that the war was not nearing an end. From this point, most Americans either believed that the war should be escalated to completely destroy the enemy or that all American troops should be withdrawn from the nation to prevent the use of any more resources for the "hopeless task".[11] McCarthy decried the handling of the war, and declared that "the Administration's reports of progress are the products of their own self-deception."[12] The Johnson campaign tried many tactics to negate the war's detractors before the New Hampshire primary, including the circulation of the slogan, "the communists in Vietnam are watching...don't vote for fuzzy thinking and surrender".[13] Despite polls that placed McCarthy around 10% to 20% in the state, he won 42.2% of the vote, slightly below Johnson's 49.4%,[14] and the result was hailed as a "moral victory" for McCarthy.[15] Soon afterwards, inspired by the result, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York entered the race,[16] despite previously announcing that he would not challenge the president for the nomination.[17] Humphrey tried to encourage Johnson to be more involved in the campaign, but the President seemed uninterested. He delayed meetings with Indiana Governor Roger Branigin to arrange a favorite son "stand in" for the campaign, and neglected to hire the campaign's 1964 campaign manager Larry O'Brien, despite Humphrey's insistence. But Humphrey was able to convince Johnson to speak to the influential National Farmers Union in Minneapolis, ahead of the Wisconsin Primary.[9]

In late March, polls suggested that McCarthy would likely win the Wisconsin Primary.[9] Around this time, Johnson decided to drop out of the race. When he informed Humphrey of his decision, the Vice President argued that he should remain as a candidate. Johnson explained that it was not in the best interest of the nation to mix the partisan politics of a presidential election with the ongoing Vietnam crisis, and that if elected, he probably would not be able to complete the term since the men in his family usually died in their early sixties.[18] A week prior to the primary, on March 31, the President publicly announced that he would not seek nor accept the Democratic Party nomination,[19] thus setting the stage for a Humphrey presidential run.[20]


Democrats United for Humphrey

After Johnson's withdrawal, Humphrey was hit with a barrage of media interest and fanfare. His aides Rust Belt states in order to win.[26]

After weeks of speculation, Humphrey finally announced his candidacy on April 27, 1968, in front of a crowd of 1,700 supporters in Washington D.C.[29] chanting "We Want Hubert". He delivered a twenty-minute speech,[24] broadcast throughout the nation on television and radio[29] that had been in preparation for four days after Johnson's withdrawal. Labor Secretary W. Willard Wirtz, White House staffers Harry McPherson and Charles Murphy, and journalists Norman Cousins and Bill Moyers all contributed to the speech.[24] In the speech, Humphrey proclaimed that the election would be about "common sense, and a time for maturity, strength and responsibility."[29] He set his goals at not simply winning the nomination but winning in a way that would "unite [the] party"[29] so he could then "unite and govern [the] nation."[29] He argued that his campaign was "the way politics ought to be...the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose, the politics of joy."[24] His entrance occurred too late in the process to qualify for ballot access in the primaries.[29]

Campaign developments

As the campaign got underway, Humphrey tried to position himself as the [32]
George Smathers

At the Indiana primary, Humphrey began the strategy of using "favorite son" candidates as surrogates for his campaign, and to weaken his opponents. Governor Roger Branigin stood in for Humphrey in Indiana, and placed second, in front of McCarthy but below Kennedy.[37] Senator [41]

The next month, Humphrey's rival Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles, prompting the Vice-President to return to his home in Minnesota and "think about the next stage."[42] Humphrey was shaken by the event, and took two weeks off from campaigning. He met with President Johnson, and the two talked about "everything"[43] during a three-hour meeting. The assassination all but guaranteed Humphrey the nomination. He commented that he "was doing everything I could to win the nomination...but God knows I didn't want it that way."[44] A large number of Kennedy delegates switched to Humphrey, but he lost money from Republican donors concerned about a Kennedy nomination,[44] and popular opinion polls shifted in favor of Senator McCarthy.[45] In fact, Humphrey was booed before 50,000 people on June 24 at the Lincoln Memorial as he was introduced at a Solidarity March for civil rights. Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson described the response as ironic, given that Humphrey was booed at the 1948 Democratic National Convention after advocating a civil rights plank.[46] He tried to defend his record against the liberal detractors,[47] but often encountered anti-war protesters and hostile crowds while campaigning.[41] At the end of June, Republican Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon assessed the race, arguing that Humphrey would be the party's nominee for president but criticized him for being too closely aligned with Johnson's policies.[48] Humphrey asked for Johnson's permission to deviate from the administration's position on the war for a plan that included a bombing halt and drawback of forces,[49] but Johnson refused, explaining that it would disrupt the peace process[10] and endanger American soldiers. He relayed to Humphrey that the blood of his son-in-law who was serving in Vietnam, would be on his hands if he announced the new position.[49]

In July, Humphrey criticized McCarthy for simply complaining about the war effort and offering no plan for peace.[50] Afterwards, McCarthy challenged Humphrey to a series of debates on an assortment of issues including Vietnam. The Vice-President accepted the invitation but modified the proposal, requesting there be only one debate prior to the Democratic National Convention.[51] However, the one-on-one debate never occurred, largely due to the Eastern Bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the insistence from other candidates that they be included.[52] At the end of the month, Humphrey began to court Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts as a possible running mate, hoping the young Senator would increase his chances of winning the support of liberals, and alleviate the criticism spawned from his connections to Johnson.[53] Kennedy declined. Humphrey also asked Larry O'Brien, who had been named as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to be his campaign manager. O'Brien privately believed that Humphrey could not win in the general election, but joined because he felt "sympathy for Humphrey and the problems he faced."[54] He publicly predicted that the race would come "down to the wire".[54]

As former Vice President Richard Nixon gained the Republican Party nomination, Humphrey held what he thought was a private meeting with 23 college students in his office. There, he candidly discussed his thoughts about the political climate, unaware that reporters were also in the room and that his statements would become public. Humphrey remarked that youths were using the Vietnam War as "escapism" and ignoring domestic issues. He stated that he had received thousands of letters from young people about the Vietnam War but received zero about Head Start as part of the program designed for poor preschool children began to expire, which he saved with a tie-breaking Senate vote.[55] As the national convention approached with Humphrey's likely nomination, the war continued to divide the party and set the stage for a battle in Chicago,[56] Humphrey hoped to move the convention to Miami to escape a vitriolic venue, but President Johnson vetoed the idea.[43]

Democratic National Convention

Vice Presidential nominee Edmund Muskie

Just prior to the convention, Senator

  • "What has Nixon done for you?", Humphrey campaign advertisement
  • "Shifting Nixon" advertisement
  • "Nixon Peace Plan" advertisement

External links

  • Atkins, Annette (2007), Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press,  
  • Humphrey, Hubert (1976), The Education of a Public Man, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press,  
  • Kalb, Marvin L. (1994), The Nixon memo: political respectability, Russia, and the press, University of Chicago Press,  
  • Oberdorfer, Don (March 2001), Tet!: the turning point in the Vietnam War, JHU Press,  
  • Richardson, Darcy G. (2002), A Nation Divided, Lincoln, Nebraska: Writer's Club Press,  
  • Solberg, Carl (1984), Hubert Humphrey: A Biography, New York: W.W. Norton & Company,  
  • Van Dyk, Ted (November 1, 2007), Heroes, hacks, and fools: memoirs from the political inside, University of Washington Press,  


  1. ^ Richardson, p. 76
  2. ^ Atkins, p. 222
  3. ^ Richardson, p. 78
  4. ^ a b Sherman, Norman (1992), "The political style of Hubert Humphrey", Perspectives on Political Science 21 (1): 30–35,  
  5. ^ a b "Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President (1965–1969)", (United States Senate) 
  6. ^ Marlow, James (December 1, 1967), "Johnson Impassive Amid All the Furor", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia): 3 
  7. ^ Allen, Robert S.; Scott, Paul (November 15, 1967), "McCarthy disturbs White House", Rome News-Tribune (Rome, Georgia): 3 
  8. ^ Kelly, Harry (December 22, 1967), "Humphrey Is Give the Job Of Countering Sen. McCarthy", The Free Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia): 5 
  9. ^ a b c Solberg, p. 319
  10. ^ a b c d e Small, Melvin (2004), "The Election of 1968", Diplomatic History 28 (4): 513–528,  
  11. ^ Oberdorfer, p. 20
  12. ^ Oberdorfer, p. 174
  13. ^ Pearson, Drew (March 12, 1968), "Gene McCarthy Gets Praise for Views on McCarthyism", Spokane Daily Chronicle (Spokane, Washington): 3 
  14. ^ "Unforeseen Eugene", Time Magazine, March 22, 1968 
  15. ^ "LBJ Comes Out Slugging", The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida), March 19, 1968: 11 
  16. ^ "Both Parties Adjusting To Kennedy Emergence", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), March 16, 1968: 2 
  17. ^ Lewis, Ted (December 22, 1967), "McCarthy's campaign lacking fire", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane Washington): 14 
  18. ^ Humphrey, p. 267
  19. ^ "The Johnson Announcement", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), April 1, 1968: 3 
  20. ^ "Johnson withdrawal frees Humphrey to seek nomination", The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), April 1, 1968: 3 
  21. ^ Solberg, p. 324
  22. ^ Solberg, p. 329
  23. ^ Solberg, p. 331
  24. ^ a b c d Solberg, p. 332
  25. ^ Van Dyk, p. 67
  26. ^ a b Solberg, p. 325
  27. ^ Humphrey, p. 269
  28. ^ Van Dyk, p. 65
  29. ^ a b c d e f "Humphrey: A Happy Yes To Whooping Supporters", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), April 27, 1968: 1 
  30. ^ "Murfin Sees Humphrey Moving To The Right", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), April 28, 1968: 14 
  31. ^ Harris, Louis (May 6, 1968), "Kennedy Slipping, Now Trails Nixon", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania): 3 
  32. ^ a b Solberg, p. 336
  33. ^ a b c "Ball Resigns UN Post to Help Humphrey", Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio), September 27, 1968: 2 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Pulchritude-Intellect Input", Time Magazine, May 31, 1968 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i Macartney, Roy (August 31, 1968), "Promises, but no solutions", The Age (Melbourne): 1 
  36. ^ a b "Humphrey Gathering Pennsylvania Delegates", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), May 28, 1968: 7 
  37. ^ Harris, Louis (May 8, 1968), "Kennedy Leads Indiana; Branigin, McCarthy Close", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida): 1 
  38. ^ Young People' Win In Ohio"'", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), May 9, 1968: 9 
  39. ^ "Smathers Takes 57 Delegates; McCarthy 4", The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida), May 29, 1968: 2 
  40. ^ Solberg, p. 342
  41. ^ a b Solberg, p. 343
  42. ^ Alsop, Joseph (June 12, 1968), "Hubert Humphrey has work cut out for him", The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon): 12 
  43. ^ a b Solberg, p. 341
  44. ^ a b Solberg, p. 340
  45. ^ Bartlett, C. (June 14, 1968), "Delaware Sample", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington): 3 
  46. ^ "Humphrey Efforts Forgotten", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), June 24, 1968: 3 
  47. ^ McGill, Ralph (July 6, 1968), "Irreconcilable Liberals Do Humphrey Disservice", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania): 4 
  48. ^ "Mark Hatfield Fails to Convince", Eugene Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon), June 24, 1968: 61 
  49. ^ a b c Van Dyk, p. 74
  50. ^ Knowles, Clayton (July 23, 1968), "Humphrey Scores M'Carthy On War; Says He Complains but Has No Peace Plan – Terms Issues at Home Ignored Humphrey Sharply Criticizes McCarthy on War", New York Times (New York, New York): 1 
  51. ^ "An American Tradition on TV", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), July 24, 1968: 4 
  52. ^ "Humphrey-McCarthy TV debate plans collapse", Rome News-Tribune (Rome, Georgia), August 22, 1968: 5 
  53. ^ Fritchey, Clayton (July 28, 1968), "McCarthy eyes Ted As Running Mate", Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, Florida): 4 
  54. ^ a b Richardson, p. 403
  55. ^ "'"HHH: Viet Protest Is 'Escapism, St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), August 14, 1968: 3 
  56. ^ Kraft, Joseph (August 22, 1968), "Humphrey, Caught In Box On Vietnam, Raises Doubt Of Presidential Ability", Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio): 11 
  57. ^ "McGovern Decides To Run In Demo Nomination", The Virgin Islands Daily News (The Virgin Islands), August 12, 1968: 2 
  58. ^ Macarteny, Roy (August 27, 1968), "More Troops Ordered Into Chicago", The Age (Melbourne): 1 
  59. ^ "Warring Democrats Face Floor Fights On 3 Fronts", The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida), August 26, 1968: 8 
  60. ^ Lawrence, David (August 28, 1968), "Humphrey Runs Into Wall in Defense of War Policy", Spokane Daily Chronicle (Spokane, Washington): 4 
  61. ^ a b "Humphrey Chosen As Demo Nominee", The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas), August 29, 1968: 1 
  62. ^ All The Votes...Really, CNN 
  63. ^ "McGovern Endorses Hubert, Won't Campaign For Him", Spartanburg Herald (Spartanburg, South Carolina), August 30, 1968: 3 
  64. ^ "Gene Vows He Won't Back HHH", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), August 30, 1968: 1 
  65. ^ "HHH-Rocky Liaison Charged", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), October 28, 1968: 5 
  66. ^ Van Dyk, p. 79
  67. ^ Van Dyk, p. 80-81
  68. ^ Van Dyk, p. 81-82
  69. ^ "Nixon Congratulates Humphrey", Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), August 29, 1968: 1 
  70. ^ Richardson, p. 404
  71. ^ Richardson, p. 415
  72. ^ a b c "The Counterpuncher", Time Magazine, September 20, 1968 
  73. ^ Richardson, p. 405
  74. ^ "Muskie Defends Humphrey", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), September 21, 1968: 2 
  75. ^ Richardson, p. 405-406
  76. ^ a b Crossley, Archibald M.; Helen M. Crossley (1969), "Polling in 1968", Public Opinion Quarterly 33 (1): 1,  
  77. ^ a b Howard, Anthony (September 28, 1968), "Protests, Frustration Plague Humphrey Campaign Tour", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington): 82 
  78. ^ Van Dyk, p. 85
  79. ^ Van Dyk, p. 86
  80. ^ "Mr. Humphrey Tippy-Toes", The Victory Advocate (Victoria, Texas), October 3, 1968: 3 
  81. ^ "The Known and the Unknown", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), October 2, 1968: 12 
  82. ^ Van Dyk, p. 88
  83. ^ Richardson, p. 409
  84. ^ "Polls Vary Widely On Nixon Lead Size", The Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), October 19, 1968: 3 
  85. ^ "Nixon Charges Humphrey Comforts Looters, Rioters", St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), October 22, 1968: 7 
  86. ^ "'"Humphrey: Nixon Is On 'Road To Defeat, St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), October 24, 1968: 7 
  87. ^ a b "Humphrey Blasts Peace Move Talk", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), October 28, 1968: 3 
  88. ^ "The Phony Debate Issue", The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas), October 22, 1968: 3 
  89. ^ "A 3-way debate would have been in people's interest", The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), October 14, 1968: 3 
  90. ^ Richardson, p. 416
  91. ^ Richardson, p. 418
  92. ^ Richardson, p. 419
  93. ^ "McCarthy Endorsement Is Given to Humphrey", The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), October 29, 1968: 1 
  94. ^ Van Dyk, p. 89
  95. ^ Johnson, Robert "K.C." (January 26, 2009), "Did Nixon Commit Treason in 1968? What The New LBJ Tapes Reveal", History News Network (George Mason University) 
  96. ^ Van Dyk, p. 91
  97. ^ Van Dyk, p. 90
  98. ^ a b Richardson, p. 433
  99. ^ a b c "Nixon, Humphrey give their views in four-hour telethons from California", The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), November 5, 1968: 4 
  100. ^ Leip, David (2005), "1968 Presidential General Election", 
  101. ^ "Hubert concedes election to Nixon", The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), November 6, 1968: 1 
  102. ^ a b "Election Polls -- Vote by Groups, 1968-1972". Gallup. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  103. ^ a b Converse, Philip E.; Warren E. Miller, Jerrold G. Rusk, Arthur C. Wolfe (1969), "Continuity and Change in American Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1968 Election", The American Political Science Review 63 (4): 1083–1105,  
  104. ^ Light, Paul C. (1992), "Hubert Humphrey and political science", Perspectives on Political Science 21 (1): 10–15,  
  105. ^ Richardson, p. 471
  106. ^ Richardson, p. 472
  107. ^ Leip, David (2005), "1972 Presidential General Election", 
  108. ^ Richardson, p. 476
  109. ^ Richardson, p. 489
  110. ^ Hruban, Ralph H; Peter van der Riet, Yener S. Erozan and David Sidransky (May 5, 1994), "Molecular Biology and the Early Detection of Carcinoma of the Bladder – The Case of Hubert H. Humphrey", The New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society) 330 (18): 1276–1278,  
  111. ^ Kalb, p. 20


After the defeat, Humphrey was depressed. To stay active, his friends helped him get hired[104] as a professor at Jimmy Carter was nominated instead, and defeated Republican nominee Gerald Ford. Carter would later name Edmund Muskie as Secretary of State.[109] After being diagnosed with bladder cancer,[110] Humphrey died in 1978, while still serving in the Senate.[5] He called Richard Nixon prior to his death, and invited him to his funeral.[111]

Humphrey with Jimmy Carter in 1976


Post election polls showed that Humphrey lost the white vote with 38%, nine points behind Nixon, but won the nonwhite vote solidly, 85% to 12%,[102] including 97% of African-Americans. African-Americans favored Humphrey because of his record on civil rights, and their desire to quickly end the war in Vietnam, where blacks were overrepresented. The racial divide in the election had widened since 1964, and was attributed to civil rights protests and race riots.[103] Humphrey won 45% of the female vote, two points ahead of Nixon, but lost to the Republican among males, 41% to 43%. Voters with only a grade school education supported Humphrey 52% to 33% over Nixon, while Nixon won among both those with no higher education than high school (43% to 42%) and those who graduated from college (54% to 37%). Occupation demographics mirrored these numbers with manual-labor workers supporting Humphrey 50% to 37%, and with white-collar (47% to 41%) and professionals (56% to 34%) favoring Nixon. Humphrey won among young voters (under 30 years old) by 47% to 38%, and also edged Nixon among those between 30 and 49 years, with 44% to 41%. Nixon won among voters over 50 years, 47% to 41%. Catholics backed Humphrey with 59%, twelve points ahead of Nixon, but Protestants favored Nixon, 49% to 35%. Humphrey lost the Independent vote 31% to 44%, with 25% going to Wallace, and won a lower percentage among Democrats (74%) than Nixon won among Republicans (86%).[102] This discrepancy was connected to the tough Democratic primary election that caused some former McCarthy, Kennedy or McGovern supporters to vote for Nixon or Wallace as a protest.[103]

On Election Day, Humphrey was defeated by Nixon 301 to 191 in the electoral college. Wallace received 46, all in the deep south. The popular vote was much closer as Nixon edged Humphrey 43.42% to 42.72%, with a margin of approximately 500,000 votes. Humphrey carried his home state of Minnesota and Texas, the home state of President Johnson (as well as Maine, running-mate Ed Muskie's home state). He also won most of the Northeast and Michigan, but lost the west to Nixon and the south to Wallace.[100] Humphrey conceded the race to Nixon, and stated that he would support him as president. On his way out he remarked: "I've done my best."[101]

Election results by county.
  George Wallace


A few days before the election, Humphrey gained the endorsement of his former rival Eugene McCarthy. During a stop in Pittsburgh, Humphrey stated that the endorsement made him a "happy man."[93] The hopes of victory for Humphrey also began to look up as a bombing pause was achieved and that negotiations had progressed, cutting Nixon's 18 point lead to 2 points at the end of October. The Soviet Union had tried to influence the North Vietnamese to soften on the negotiations to prevent a Nixon victory,[10] but Nixon publicly accused President Johnson of speeding up the negotiations. Contemporary sources reveal that Nixon was personally involved in preventing the South Vietnamese from coming to the negotiation table, through the use of operative Anna Chennault who advised Saigon that a Nixon administration would offer them a better deal.[94][95] Members of the campaign later claimed that Humphrey did not bring this up before the election, because he did not want to appear desperate while polls placed him even with Nixon.[96] Humphrey held his final campaign rally at the Houston Astrodome on November 3 alongside President Johnson. Governor Connally did not attend the event, causing suspicion that he would back Nixon, but he later assured Humphrey that he would not do so. During his speech at the rally, Humphrey asked Americans to base their vote on hope rather than fear.[97] The next day, the eve of the election, he appeared in Los Angeles with Muskie, and was greeted by 100,000 supporters.[98] Later that day, Humphrey and Nixon each held a four-hour televised forum on rival television networks. Nixon tried to reverse Humphrey's boost from the bombing halt by stating that he had been advised that "tons of supplies"[99] were being sent along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by the North Vietnamese, a shipment that could not be stopped. Humphrey described these claims as "irresponsible,"[99] which prompted Nixon to proclaim that Humphrey "doesn't know what's going on."[99] McCarthy called in during Humphrey's telethon and affirmed his support for the ticket.[98]

[92] As election day neared, Wallace fell in the polls, greatly diminishing the chance that he would influence the result.[91] Both campaigns delegated a large amount of resources to denounce Wallace as a "frustrated segregationist".[90] Both the Humphrey and Nixon campaigns were concerned that Wallace would take a sizable amount of states in the electoral college and force the House of Representatives to decide the election. Although Wallace had focused most of his campaign on the south, he was drawing large crowds during appearances in the north.[89] Humphrey delivered a televised speech in [78] On September 30, hoping to separate himself from the policies of the Johnson administration at the advice of O'Brien who noted that he needed the anti-war vote to win in New York and California,

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union supporters hold signs during a Humphrey rally.
Humphrey delivers a speech during a campaign rally.

[4] Individuals close to the campaign noted that Humphrey looked tired and worn-out while flying from stop to stop, but would brighten up when he encountered a crowd.[77] The comment drew boos from the crowd.[77]: "regardless of the outcome of this election, I want it to be said of Hubert Humphrey that at an important and tough moment of his life he stood up for what he believed and was not shouted down."Boston At the end of September, Humphrey's chances for the presidency further declined as media outlets observed that the Republican Party would be the likely winners in the election. Humphrey acknowledged his odds, proclaiming at an event in [33] Both campaigns began to use their running mates to attack the other candidate. Republican Vice Presidential nominee

As the general election got underway, the largest hurdle for the campaign was finances. Polling numbers showed Humphrey trailing Nixon, causing donations to decrease. President Johnson refused to use the power of his office to help raise money, although many speculated that the tardiness of the Convention, scheduled to coincide with Johnson's birthday, contributed to the issue. To stay afloat, several loans were made, which eventually accounted for half of the $11.6 million used by Humphrey throughout the general election. Campaign workers decided that no money would be spent on radio or television advertising until the final three weeks of the election.[70] In September, President Johnson showed his support for Humphrey by giving what was described as the strongest endorsement of the campaign when he asked Texas Democrats to throw their support behind the Vice President.[35] However, Johnson did not give his official endorsement until an October 10 radio address.[71] Meanwhile, Humphrey campaigned in New York where he labeled Nixon a "Hawk,"[35] stating that the former Vice President "wanted to go to war (in Vietnam) in 1954."[35] At a later stop in Buffalo, Humphrey was met by protesters, whom he told to go do something useful.[35]

Humphrey-Muskie campaign logo

General election

Humphrey won the party's nomination on the first ballot after a two-hour debate among delegates the next day,[61] defeating McCarthy 1759.25 to 601. McGovern finished in third with 146.5,[62] and gave a lukewarm endorsement of Humphrey, asking him to be "his own man".[63] McCarthy refused to make an endorsement,[64] although he privately confided to Humphrey that his supporters would not understand if he immediately showed his support.[49] Humphrey also narrowly won the party plank in support of the Vietnam War, although his officials pleaded with Johnson to accept a compromise with the doves, which he refused.[10] The results caused the protests to intensify, prompting the use of tear gas, which Humphrey smelt in his hotel room.[61] He also received six death threats.[35] The tactics used to quell the protests were criticized by certain Democrats as being excessive.[10] During his acceptance speech, Humphrey tried to unify the party, stating "the policies of tomorrow need not be limited to the policies of yesterday."[35] He asked former Republican candidate Nelson Rockefeller to be his running mate, but he declined.[65] Several other names were mentioned to Humphrey during the convention. Texas Governor John Connally was suggested by a delegation of southern Democratic governors,[66] but the Governor himself suggested Vietnam ambassador Cyrus Vance. O'Brien and Fred Harris appeared to suggest themselves for the position,[67] and adviser Connell also suggested Harris, although Max Kampelman favored former Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver.[68] Humphrey instead decided on Senator and former Governor Edmund Muskie of Maine, who had been his preferred choice.[35] Observers noted the selection of the Senator, active in civil rights and labor and on neither side of the war issue, was a move to appeal to liberals while not upsetting establishment Democrats.[35] Republican nominee Richard Nixon congratulated Humphrey on his victory as the general election campaign began.[69]

[60] A televised debate was held featuring Humphrey, McCarthy and McGovern. Humphrey hoped to unite the party during the debate, affirming his support for peace in Vietnam, but his challengers were received better by the crowd, drawing more applause.[59] Eventually, 6,000 federal troops and 18,000 Illinois National Guardsmen were outside the convention, defending the premise.[58] to order federal troops into the city.Richard J. Daley Mayor of Chicago, forcing parks were held in the streets and protests and sleep-ins started, Humphrey stated that he had more than enough delegates to secure the nomination, but commentators questioned the campaign's ability to hold on to the delegates. The Texas delegation announced frustration at the McCarthy campaign's attempts to change procedures, and declared that they might renominate President Johnson as a result. Observers noted that Humphrey's delegates were supporters of Johnson, and could follow suit. Meanwhile, 1968 Democratic National Convention As the [57]

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