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How George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign changed American politics

US Democratic politician George McGovern (1922-2012) gets an enthusiastic welcome from his supporters during his election tour on the day of the New York State Primary, 20th June 1972.
US Democratic politician George McGovern (1922-2012) gets an enthusiastic welcome from his supporters during his election tour on the day of the New York State Primary, 20th June 1972.

Some political historians believe the roots of our presidential nomination process and much of the polarization in our politics can be traced to a presidential campaign 50 years ago.

In 1972, Democratic Sen. George McGovern made a run for the presidency. Despite having little experience on Capitol Hill, McGovern secured the Democratic nomination.

McGovern would go on to lose the presidential election to Republican Richard Nixon, who captured more than 60 percent of the vote and 49 states. McGovern’s campaign is often discussed as a cautionary tale for candidates moving to far to the extreme, with some analysts comparing him to Bernie Sanders.

The podcast “Of the People” takes a deeper look inside the 1972 Presidential campaign. It examines how party realignment and the changes to our primary system continue to impact our politics today.

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