If you don’t vote for Hillary Clinton you are voting for racism, misogyny, anti-LGBT bigotry and the destruction of the United States.
Those of us who helped Nixon win by failing to support the better candidate acted as if voting in a presidential election was a simple matter of morality.
By Henry Weinstein
October 21, 2016
When I stepped into the polling booth on Nov. 5, 1968, to cast my first vote for president, I was an angry Berkeley law student active in a variety of causes, including the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement and endeavors to enable California farmworkers to unionize.
I did not like either of the major candidates. Richard Nixon and his running mate, Spiro Agnew, promised to bring an unholy version of “law and order” to our country, just as Republican candidate Donald Trump is hawking now.
I also had no enthusiasm for Democratic candidate Hubert H. Humphrey. Until he became vice president under Lyndon Johnson, I admired Humphrey, the Minnesota senator who had championed civil rights. But Triple H morphed into Johnson’s surrogate, supporting an unwise, immoral war in Vietnam.
A devastating Bill Mauldin cartoon crystallized my feelings about Humphrey’s noxious role. It depicted Humphrey speaking to a Vietnamese woman seeking shelter from American bombs in foxhole. The caption: “Ma’am, I represent The Great Society.”
My hostility to Humphrey intensified during the Democratic convention when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s gendarmes beat demonstrators with truncheons on city streets, prompting Connecticut Sen. Abe Ribicoff to blast the police’s “Gestapo” tactics in a speech from the convention podium. In response, Daley, a Humphrey backer, brandished his middle finger.
So, what to do on Nov. 5? Be practical, settle for half a loaf with Humphrey? Or “take a stand on principle,” not succumb to voting for “the lesser of two evils” and declare, in effect, “it really doesn’t make a difference?”
My emotions prevailed. I wrote in Dick Gregory, an African American comedian who championed civil rights and opposed the war. Some friends voted for Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. We walked out of our polling places feeling righteous.
In California, the smattering of votes garnered by Cleaver (27,707) and Gregory (3,230) had no impact on the outcome. Nixon defeated Humphrey by 223,000 votes. But there were people like us across the country who did not take the long view and consequently failed to do what Humphrey needed to win — register voters, talk to neighbors, canvas to increase election-day turnout. Nationally, Nixon prevailed — 31.7 million votes to 31.2 million votes.