Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Election: A Rerun of What Year?

I was going to blog about the most recent Census Bureau county and state level estimates for PA but they haven't been released yet for 2014.  I did look at some of my posts from the 2012 election titled 2012: A 1912 Rerun? (Only if you make it)The post included video/audio clips of the three main contenders for the presidency in 1912: Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and Teddy Roosevelt.  One contender I did not include in that Post was Eugene V. Debs,  He finished fourth in the vote that year with 6% of the vote. He ran for President four other times on the Socialist party platform with 1912 being the high water mark for the number of votes.  The 5th time he ran in 1920 he was imprisoned by the Wilson administration for opposing the US participation in WWI.  He still received 1 million votes that year while in prison (the first year women could vote). 

Bernie Sanders created the above documentary on Debs life with Sanders providing the voice of Debs.  Looking at the current crop of three presidential candidates it's tempting to say that there has never been anything like this year.  Looking back it can be seen that outsider campaigns were the norm rather than the exception.  The current group of candidates was whittled down to three after the Indiana primary.  Indiana just happens to be the home state of Eugene Debs.  He was followed in this tradition by Robert LaFolette, Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, and many other lesser known candidates in running outside the two party system to promote new progressive ideas that the two major parties were not discussing. 

Anti immigrant/labor candidates like Trump are also not new.  The Know Nothing party of the 1850's is a good example.  They had nominated former President Millard Fillmore as for President in 1856.  I have written about other contemporary politicians like Rick Santorum, Tom Tancredo, and Joe Arpaio.  

Where will the current group of candidates end up?  That is up to all of us or at least the ones who participate.  Many were predicting that Trump and Sanders would both fizzle out in the primaries even as both were .  Neither has so far though the Democrats have been somewhat more adept at denying Sanders the nomination.  

**Related Posts**

2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?

Italian Americans and Today's Immigrants

Immigration: An International Issue

2012: A 1916 Rerun