Sunday, March 4, 2012

Five best books on failed presidential candidates

Scott Farris is the author of Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race But Changed the Nation.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best books list on candidates whose White House bids failed but whose stories have much to tell us about politics and ambition. One title on the list:
The Liberals' Moment
by Bruce Miroff (2007)

Modern conservatives still mark Goldwater's landslide loss in 1964 as the birth of their movement. Bruce Miroff's penetrating study shows that today's Democrats ought to feel the same way about George McGovern's similarly overwhelming defeat of 1972. Yet Democrats regard McGovern's campaign less as the birth of something new than as the death of something dear. McGovern saw that the old New Deal coalition of urban ethnic groups, organized labor and Southern white populists was fading, and so he created a "new politics" coalition focused on minorities, women, the young and educated issue activists—the same coalition that Barack Obama rode to victory in 2008. McGovern also changed the way we choose our presidents by opening up the process by which national convention delegates are selected. Republicans, too, have adopted this democratized process, generally replacing winner-take-all primaries with proportional delegate allocation that benefits insurgent campaigns. If the 2012 Republican nomination remains unsettled for months, it will be partly due to the legacy of a liberal Democratic nominee.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue