McGovern won two House races and three statewide Senate races in the conservative state of South Dakota, not liberal Vermont. He was a decorated World War II bomber pilot who flew 35 combat missions, often landing with his B-24 bomber badly shredded by anti-aircraft fire.
In the 1972 campaign, McGovern offered nothing like a Green New Deal, major overhaul of national health insurance, or any one of a number of sweeping increases in the size and reach of the national government. He did advocate something called a “demogrant,” anticipating Andrew Yang by half a century by proposing an annual grant of $1,000 to all American families, back when that was real money.
As the commentariat searches for Sanders’s predecessors, it is a reach to make McGovern a far-left icon. His economics and foreign policy were much closer to those of John F. Kennedy than to those of Hubert Humphrey.