Very rarely does the nation get a candid look at what it is like to be president. From Feb. 8 to March 4, the University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library will be hosting the exhibit “Private Presidential Pathways: The Photography of George Tames.” Tames was a White House photographer, whose iconic photographs captured honest moments of presidents during trying times of their presidency.
On Feb. 23 at 11 a.m., Tame’s photography exhibit at the library will be accompanied by a presentation from Dr. Bruce Schulman, William Huntington Professor of History at Boston University. Schulman’s presentation, “Three Elections that Reshaped the Presidency and the Nation – 1964, 1968, 1972,” will provide an in-depth conversation about the importance of these three elections and the effect each had on one of the nation’s most important positions.
During his presentation, Schulman plans to discuss topics spanning from Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency in 1964 to Richard Nixon’s landslide victory of 1972, with a focus on how these three elections changed the way the presidential candidates campaigned.
“Nixon ran a person-centered campaign, not a partisan one,” said Schulman. “He reached out to Democrats to run ‘Democrats for Nixon.’”
Schulman will also discuss how the states’ delegation process has changed over the span of these election years and the way political parties chose their candidates.
“As late as 1968, there were only 15 primaries, and they chose about one third of the delegates, which is what a candidate needed to become his party’s presidential nominee,” said Schulman. “Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee in 1968, didn’t even campaign in the primaries, didn’t win a single one and still won the nomination easily. But after the events of 1968, the parties reformed their process and the modern system began to take shape.”
Schulman plans to speak on how a few presidential candidates from the 1960s and ‘70s leveraged the new system of delegation.
“In 1972, the insurgent campaign of Democratic nominee George McGovern took advantage of the new system,” said Schulman. “The party establishment never supported him and many traditionally Democratic voters voted for Nixon.”