What happened to Presidential “Favorite Sons”?

There was a time when there was such a thing as "favorite son" candidates. They were politicians who had no chance of winning nation wide but did have a reasonable chance of capturing the convention votes of their own states.  They then could use those votes as bargaining chips on platform planks and/or promised appointments, provided that no candidate won an outright majority in the first convention vote.  I’m surprised politicians no longer attempt that when they have local appeal but insufficient resources for a national campaign.

I think I would like to see a Democratic nominating convention in which the winner was not already decided before the convention began.  The massive protests, brought about by the Vietnam war policies of President Johnson, and divisive high-handed response to them at the 1968 Democratic Convention, prompted the Democratic party to completely overhaul its rules for selecting presidential delegates.  The current rules give much more weight to public opinion and primary contests and less to professional politicians and "king makers." 

Republicans also modified their nominating procedures, but not to the extent the Democrats did.  The Republican Party politicians retained more of the nominating power for themselves than did the Democratic Party. 

Perhaps an unintended consequence of those changes is that Democratic nominee is now often one who appeals most to the Democratic left, but not necessarily to the majority of American voters.  After those changes were adopted past candidates have tended to espouse more liberal policies than the majority of the country was ready to accept.  In the general election campaign nominees often had to hedge on statements they made when seeking the nomination, sometimes coming across as flip-floppers or wishy-washy.   

Returning some of the power to the nominating Convention could lead to greater consideration of the views of the center majority.  A convention that requires more than one vote to select the nominee would make for a more suspenseful and newsworthy convention, drawing greater television coverage, as well as perhaps result in more consideration being given to a nominee whose policies could help unite our still bitterly divided  country.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s