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|‹ 1972 > 1980 › ›|
|United States presidential election, 1976|
|November 2, 1976|
|Nominee||George McGovern||Strom Thurmond|
|Home state||South Dakota||South Carolina|
|Running mate||Edmund Muskie||Lester Maddox|
The Socialists nominated George McGovern, Kennedy's Vice President, of South Dakota to fill his shoes. McGovern was perceived to be more extremist than Kennedy.
This was the first election the Christian Democrats took part in. The Christian Democratic Party was fromed in 1974 by the right-wingers in the Republican Party, which had collapased that same year. The CDP went off on a terrible start for their first presidential election, however, as the extremist J. Strom Thurmond was their nominee. His support was rendered null in solid Socialist or swing states, and was very extremist. His nomination in the very first election the CDP took part in eventually led to a reform in 1977 which moved the CDP from an pro-segragation anti-Civil Rights paleoconservative platform to a more moderate party, but still with strong ties to Thurmond's crowd.
The Vice Presidential candidates were Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine and former Governor Lester Maddox of Georgia. Muskie was seen as much more Moderate than Maddox.
In 1979, McGovern suffered a mental breakdown as he was unable to deal with the pressure of being president. He resigned in March and gave the presidency over to Muskie.
Bold denotes party nominees
Vice President George McGovern, South Dakota
Senator Edmund Muskie, Maine
Former Governor Jimmy Carter, Georgia
NEACO Head Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts
Governor Jerry Brown, California
Senator Morris Udall, Arizona
Ambassador Sargent Shriver, Maryland
Senator Henry M. Jackson, Washington
Rep. Shirley Chisholm, New York
Senator Frank Church, Idaho
Senator Fred Harris, Oklahoma
The Socialist primary included members of both the Socialist and Progressive parties. There were plays for a unified ticket (a Socialsit president, a Progressive Vice President) but those were shot down. It was obvious that George McGovern, Robert Kennedy's Vice President, was going to be nominated. The question was who would be his Vice President. McGovern wanted a centrist to counteract his perceived extremism, so he chose Ed Muskie of Maine to be his VP.
Christian Democratic Party
Senator J. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina
Former Governor Lester Maddox, Georgia
Former President George Wallace, Alabama
Former Vice President Richard Nixon, California
Former Governor Ronald Reagan, California
Former President Spiro T. Agnew, Maryland
The first-ever Christian Democratic primary, despite having a number of candidates ranging from centrist to extreme, was solidly in the bigoted hands of Thurmond and Maddox. Disgraced former president Spiro Agnew tried to make a run, but he failed to receive next to any support.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller, New York
Senator Birch Bayh, Indiana
Rep. Gerald Ford, Michigan
Senator Robert Byrd, West Virginia
Former Rep. Sam Yorty, California
Rockefeller and Bayh held the most cards entering the election, and they were unsurprisingly nominated.
The McGovern/Muskie campaign were able to play off Thurmond and Maddox's racist backgrounds, and that played to their benefit. McGovern won, not quite in a landslide, but not in a narrow election either.