In 1972, new quotas mandated that certain percentages of delegates be women or members of minority groups. Also taking center stage of debates for the first time were abortion and gay rights. 36 years have gone by and it seems we really have not moved an inch.
36 years ago new rules for choosing and seating delegates created an unusual number of rules and credentials challenges. Sound familiar?
Back then South Dakota senator George McGovern had amassed the most delegates to the convention by using a grass roots campaign that was powered by opposition to the Vietnam War.
Now Senator Barack Obama is amassing delegates by using a grass roots campaign powered by opposition to the Iraq War.
Back then many traditional Democratic leaders and politicians felt that McGovern's delegate count did not reflect the wishes of most Democratic voters. Kind of like the infighting that we see going on now.
Back then Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter helped to spearhead a "Stop McGovern" campaign. The stop-McGovern forces tried unsuccessfully to alter the delegate composition of the California delegation. California had a "winner-take-all" primary format, which was contrary to the delegate selection rules. So even though McGovern only won the California primary by a 5% electoral margin, he won all 273 of their delegates to the convention.
The anti-McGovern group argued for a more proportional distribution of the delegates, while the McGovern forces stressed that the rules for the delegate selection had been set and the Stop McGovern alliance was trying to change the rules after the game. Hello Florida and Michigan!
Can someone tell me what year this is? Now I feel like Marty McFly watching the news. Just this morning on CNBC they interviewed a financial analyst who proudly wore on his lapel a large "WIN" button circa 1974. That stands for Whip Inflation Now (WIN) and was an attempt to to combat inflation, by encouraging personal savings and disciplined spending habits in combination with public measures, urged by U.S. President Gerald Ford.
It amazing with all the slick language of "Change" and "Progressiveness" you could still put on a pair of bell bottoms and be in political style. Maybe McGovern will win this time.