Dec. 29, 2016
A Little History Lesson About "Change" and "Charisma"
By Marc Platt
If you go back to 1932 and look at who America has elected to the Presidency, there are two factors that overwhelmingly were major factors. "Change" and "Charisma" are the two most-common factors that determined the winner. Sometimes BOTH came into play.
1932: FDR defeated Hoover in a year that definitely needed change from the Republican administration who presided over the stock market crash and the ensuing depression. Roosevelt also had charm and charisma which didn't hurt his chances. He won huge by 7 million votes.
1936: FDR defeated Alf Landon who received only 8 electoral votes. FDR's popularity and charisma crushed the Republican candidate.
1940: FDR defeated Wendell Wilkie (a businessman outsider). Sound familiar? FDR was VERY popular and even with the war looming, easily dominated.
1944: FDR defeated Dewey while the war raged on. Dewey was a popular NY Governor, whose baggage would be exposed 4 years later.
1948: Truman defeated Dewey in an upset in what should have been a "Change Election," but America had warmed up to Truman's workmanlike attitude. Dewey was looked at as a stodgy rich guy.
1952/6: Ike beats Adlai Stevenson twice. Ike was a popular and somewhat charismatic WWII general who easily won twice in change elections that cried out for stability in the 1950's.
1960: JFK beat Nixon narrowly almost exclusively on his charm and youth. The two men were actually close friends from their early years in congress.
1964: LBJ crushed Barry Goldwater in what was the beginning of what would become the modern far right movement that spawned Reagan. LBJ was all personality and hadn't mired the country in Vietnam at that point.
1968: Nixon slipped by Humphrey in the ultimate "Change Election." Nixon lied about his secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. He ran his campaign on "Law & Order" after the riots in the urban areas and political assassinations of MLK and RFK dominated that spring and summer. Nixon restructured the south's electoral prominence by turning disgruntled southern voters into Republicans after the civil rights legislation.
1972: Nixon crushed McGovern. Shenanigans and lies would become the undoing of Nixon, who would resign in disgrace in 1974.
1976: Jimmy Carter beats Gerald Ford in a "Change" election. Neither man was that charismatic, but Watergate and Vietnam had taken their tole on the country.
1980: Reagan crushes Carter. Charm, charisma and change all kicked in. The modern far right was now infiltrating all branches of government.
1984: Reagan crushed Mondale and then went on to get bogged down in scandals like Iran/Contra.
1988: Bush Sr. beats Dukakis. This should have been a change election, but Dukakis's stupidity of driving around in a tank and the "Willie Horton" ads did him in.
1992: Bill Clinton outlasts Bush, Perrot. Perrot was the "Personality" of this election, but bizarrely dropped out for a few months before coming back to give Bill Clinton (a charmer in his own right) enough cover to get the job done. This was a huge "Change" election.
1996: Bill crushed Bob Dole. By this time Bill Clinton's charm and charisma were dominating. He would go on to have his sex scandal, impeachment and congressional censure, but left office VERY popular.
2000: Dubya kinda beats Gore. George W. Bush was the guy you wanted to have a beer with. Gore rhymes with bore.
2004: Dubya "Swift Boats" Kerry. Dubya was a dolt, but Kerry and his Frankenberry image did not survive Bush's foul play. We all know how his term ended.
2008: Obama "The Celebrity" cruised past McCain in a "Change" Election full of Obama Charisma. Both factors contributed.
2012: Obama overwhelms Romney with his popularity and charisma.
2016: Trump squeaks by Hillary in a change election. Trump is ALL charisma and no substance, but this was a "Change" election year...So here we are.