We were counseled by our elders: Vote the lesser of two evils. But Humphrey’s kindness and humanity simply didn’t register. We saw only this wimpy, old guy who was probably lying about his newfound opposition to the war. And it didn’t really matter if Nixon won: We were young; we had a world to win, an establishment to overthrow. We had a plenty of time. Four years of Nixon would bring the country to its senses. What was one election?
It was more than 20,000 American deaths in Vietnam and uncountable numbers of Vietnamese people killed and wounded. It was the onset of a politics — Nixon’s Southern strategy — that began the process, which continues to this day, of white racial backlash. It was a descent, by many of us, into a reflexive, silly left-liberalism that caused the Democratic Party to suffer more than 20 years of defeat before being hauled back to reality by Bill Clinton in 1992.