Thursday, September 08, 2011

C-SPAN's Losers Who Changed History

C-SPAN's "The Contenders" Looks at Losers Who Changed History

I missed last night's debate but speaking of losers, I've long wished for a followup to Irving Stone's "They Also Ran," a collection of biographies of defeated presidential candidates. And I have a strange idea of what's Must See TV, but if you're a regular reader of this blog you might, too.

My wishes have come true with "The Contenders," a new C-SPAN series airing Fridays at 7 (Iowa time) profiling 14 defeated candidates: five Democrats, five Republicans, a Whig and three from third parties. Half are from after the 1943 publication of "They Also Ran," and one of the earlier candidates was not included as Stone only looked at major party contenders.
September 9 Henry Clay (Whig, 1824, 1832, 1844)
September 16 James G. Blaine (Republican, 1884)
September 23 William Jennings Bryan (Democrat, 1896, 1900, 1908)
September 30 Eugene Debs (Socialist, 1900-1920)
October 7 Charles Evans Hughes (Republican, 1916)
October 14 Al Smith (Democrat, 1928)
October 21 Wendell Willkie (Republican, 1940)
October 28 Thomas E. Dewey (Republican, 1944, 1948)
November 4 Adlai Stevenson (Democrat, 1952, 1956)
November 11 Barry Goldwater (Republican, 1964)
November 18 Hubert Humphrey (Democrat 1968)
November 25 George Wallace (American Party, 1968)
December 2 George McGovern (Democrat, 1972)
December 9 Ross Perot (independent and Reform, 1992, 1996)
Of course, even with 14 shows, someone got left off. I would have liked a Fightin' Bob LaFollette episode. And the bar seems to have been set at nominees and general election contenders. I can think of a few folks who lost nomination battles yet "changed history": Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson in my lifetime, and perhaps Dean and Hillary depending how history plays out. Who's your pick?

(Hat tip to Ballot Access News)

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