Remembering Past United States Presidential Elections

Presidential Elections

Source

Presidential Elections

On November 8, 2016, American citizens will be voting in another Presidential election. The choice this year for many people seems to be the lesser of two evils: Donald Trump and Hilliary Clinton.

Since 1956, I can remember following a lot of elections, but voting in only a handful of them. In this article, I begin by recollecting the 1956 Presidential election and conclude with my thoughts on the 2016 election.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Presdident Eisenhower in 1956
Presdident Eisenhower in 1956 | Source

Election of 1956

In August of 1956, I had just turned 12 and was starting to take a little interest in national news. During the Presidential election campaign of 1956, I remember that President Dwight Eisenhower was running for reelection against the Democratic Party candidate Adalai Stevenson from Illinois. My dad had recently started farming, but was still working full-time as a millwright with Allis Chalmers in West Allis, Wisconsin. As a member of the AFL-CIO, dad's loyalty was with the Democrats and Stevenson. I recall my father referring to Eisenhower as "Eisen-Hoover," because he compared Ike's economic policies with those of former President Herbert Hoover.

President John F. Kennedy

Source

The Election of 1960

In the fall of 1960, i was a high school junior and can recall participating in a classroom political debate. I supported the Democratic Party candidate John F. Kennedy because my parents were Democrats. My math teacher gave me some good advice when I asked who he was voting for. Mr. Geiken replied that he would be voting for the lesser of the two evils. Up until that point, I thought that all politics was black and white.

President Lyndon B. Johnson

Source

The Election of 1964

By the election of 1964, I still wasn't old enough to vote in a Presidential election. At that time, I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Young Democrats. I was all-in for LBJ's Great Society Program plans and against the right wing extremism of Senator Barry Goldwater. On at least one Saturday in the fall of 1964, I can remember putting LBJ stickers on cars. Two years later, my political hero escalated the war in Vietnam and by November of 1966 I had received my draft induction notice.

The Elections of 1968, 1972, and 1976

I did not vote in the elections of 1968, 1972, and 1976 because I was moving around a great deal of the time. On election day in 1968, I was preparing to ship out for an overseas assignment on Taiwan. I could have voted in the election of 1972 when I was a student again at the University of Wisconsin, but apathy took over. When the election of 1976 came around, I was living on Taiwan as a civilian and neglected to vote by absentee ballot.

President Ronald Reagan

Official Presidential portrait of Ronald Reagan in 1985
Official Presidential portrait of Ronald Reagan in 1985 | Source

The Election of 1980

By the time of the election of 1980, I was back in the United States and living in Toledo, Ohio. Having returned a year earlier from Taiwan, i was following national and international news with great interest. Sensing that President Carter was letting the United States get pushed around as evidenced by the Iran hostage situation, I was attracted to Ronald Reagan as a candidate. I felt that he could lead the United States in standing up to the Soviet Union and terrorists, and improve the U.S. economic situation. After voting for Reagan in November of 1980, I received a job offer from the United States government one week later.

The Elections of 1984 and 1988

Once again I did not participate in the elections of 1984 and 1988. In 1984 i was in Taiwan again for one year of language training with the government, but neglected to vote by absentee ballot. I didn't vote in the election of 1988 because I was confident the Republicans would win and that my vote wasn't needed.

The Elections of 1992 and 1996

Unfortunately I did not vote in the elections of 1992 and 1996 and Bill Clinton was elected President. 1992 was a hectic year because I was going through a divorce and perhaps that is why I didn't vote. There was no excuse, however, for me not voting in 1996.

President George W. Bush

President George W. Bush  in 2001
President George W. Bush in 2001 | Source

The Election of 2000

I made sure that I was registered to vote in the election of 2000. What stimulated me was anger against the Democrats and President Bill Clinton. I had followed the Monica Lewinsky scandal with great interest and was very disappointed that Clinton was not found guilty of impeachment charges in the Senate. Since 1996, I had also been listening everyday to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. If enough citizens felt the same as me, I was confident that George W. Bush could defeat Al Gore in the election of 2000. I cast my ballot for Bush and the rest is history.

The Elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012

I did not vote in the past three elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012, because of having lived overseas in Thailand and neglecting to cast absentee ballots. My actions were definitely due to apathy and dissatisfaction with the Iraq War.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump in 2015
Donald Trump in 2015 | Source

The Election of 2016

Once again I will not be participating in the Presidential election in 2016. Although I strongly support the Republican candidate Donald Trump and despise the policies and character of Hilliary Clinton, I will not be casting an absentee ballot. Since Wisconsin is almost certain to be a "blue state," my vote wouldn't matter anyway. Still, I am holding out hope that Trump will be elected.

Summary

Throughout my life, my political views have changed from being socially and fiscally liberal to becoming conservative. I am afraid that the United States will be on a steep path of decline if there are any more future assaults on its conservative traditions.

© 2016 Paul Richard Kuehn

More by this Author


Comments 6 comments

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 6 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia

The first election I remember was Kennedy v. Nixon. I was more interested in this new group called "The Beatles."

I stood in the rain for an hour to vote for the first time to re-elect Richard Nixon. I learned my lesson and haven't voted for a Republican candidate since. Several times I've written in Colin Powell (even though he is a Republican) for two reasons. 1) I never vote for an incumbent - let another crook have a chance, and 2) It is my right to vote for the person I think would do the best job whether they are on the ballot or not.

I used to claim to be an Independent because I didn't want to be associated with the extreme Democrats. but to make clear I was NOT a Republican. Today I am willing to say I'm a Democrat because there are so few (if any) left in my metro-Atlanta county. My vote never really counts, but I keep casting my protest ballot anyway.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 6 weeks ago from Brazil

I have never known an election like the Trump vs Clinton. Being abroad, I am amazed at the circus it has become. Never have I known foreign newspapers pleading with Americans abroad to cast their votes.

I think Simon & Garfunkel said it best in their lyrics, "every way you look at this you lose".

I hope that within the next 4 years, a candidate with substance and courage will step forward.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 6 weeks ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for sharing a little of your voting history. When you stop to think of it, most politicians are dishonest and trying to fool the public.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 6 weeks ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes, this 2016 Presidential election has turned out to be a circus. It certainly isn't anything that I expected. I, too, am awaiting a candidate with substance and courage to step forward in the next four years.


Your Cousins profile image

Your Cousins 6 weeks ago from Atlanta, GA

You should reconsider casting your ballot because your vote always counts. This has been a rough election, but such an important one for our future.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 6 weeks ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for the advice. It's probably too late for me to vote now and I do realize that I am not a good citizen by not voting. Yes, this election is important for our future.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working