I have observed and voted in many elections. Some, I don’t think which candidate won would have changed history very much; some it would have greatly affected the world. For example, I really do not think Eisenhower v Stevenson (both times) would have altered the trajectory of civil rights greatly. Both would have upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling on school desegregation. Stevenson would not have appointed Warren, probably, but a more liberal from the outset would have effectively done the same.
The place I wonder about with those two is Vietnam. But I know from my history studies that the first “advisers” in Vietnam were sent in under Truman and the first American casualty from that was in 1949. So Republican or Democrat, we were so determined on one level to stop the spread of communism that we would have been in that. After all, it was Johnson that escalated and Nixon who despite his “secret plan to end the war’ that invaded Cambodia.
The place where things could have changed, I believe, is the 1972 Nixon/McGovern election. Nixon, with his fears, set up Watergate and the subsequent pardon by Ford guaranteed that the powers that be would never really be held accountable, leading up to Iran/Contra and the clear crimes of the Reagan/Bush administration.
Reagan, however, is a different situation. I do not know the veracity of the secretary I heard tell the story of that campaign’s deal with the Iranians to hold the hostages to insure the defeat of Carter. I do think it perfectly possible. I do hold him responsible for the demonization of minorities. His “welfare queen” code talk that I am hearing thirty years later. He was a better actor than I was crediting him.
The appointment of George W. Bush by the Supreme Court followed in less than a year by the tragedy of Sept 11 set up the destruction of the Constitution that I had known, loved, and taught. The expansion of the military/security/homeland espionage network has eroded any real civil rights.
The use of social issues to frighten people who are afraid enough of the modern world erodes again more rights. We now heard how only victims of ‘legitimate’ rape deserve the opportunity to have an abortion. And yet, I can guarantee, that the powers that be will use every medical opportunity to guarantee that their daughters and granddaughters do not have be bear unwanted children.
Frightened seniors are being deluded into thinking the Affordable Care Act had cut their Medicare benefits when it has only cut payments to hospitals and has increased the prescription benefit. They hear that the Ryan plan will not affect them, yet the cuts to Medicaid will cause many seniors to have to either leave long term care facilities or use less desirable ones.
If these fanatics win in November, I seriously want my children and grandchildren to emigrate to somewhere that women are considered full human beings, that medical care is a right not a priviledge, where education is focused on High Order Thinking Skills and not biblical superstition.