Almost exactly 40 years after he was slaughtered in the 1972 presidential campaign to defeat Richard Nixon, Democrat nominee George McGovern died. That was 2012, he was 90.
After his humiliating loss, McGovern continued to serve South Dakota in the US Senate until 1980. Despite the “Reagan Revolution,” McGovern refused to believe that liberalism was dead.
As recently as 2011, McGovern wrote, “A bleeding-heart liberal, by definition, is someone who shows enormous sympathy towards others, especially the least fortunate. Well, we ought to be stirred, even to tears, by society’s ills. And sympathy is the first step toward action. Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction ‘Love the neighbor as thyself.'”
In 1972, McGovern was never expected to beat Nixon, but he was expected to make a showing. He was not able to overcome the resignation of his first choice for vice president Thomas Eagleton. Eagleton suffered from severe depression and was forced to drop out of the campaign.
Sargent Shriver reluctantly agreed to run with McGovern as the vice presidential candidate.
Nixon walloped McGovern with a commanding 60 percent of the popular vote and 520 electoral votes.