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How to Run for President (And Still Have Been Born in Pennsylvania)
|Last Edited||Scott³ Apr 29, 2011 07:19pm|
|Author||G. Terry Madonna & Michael L. Young|
|News Date||Wednesday, April 13, 2011 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0|
|Description||"It’s been a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes. How does Pennsylvania do it? How does a state that has long been a political colossus in national elections and hugely important in presidential politics fail so dismally, election after election, to produce presidential aspirants? |
Pennsylvania’s first, only, and maybe last president was James Buchanan, who held the office leading up to the Civil War. Historians still argue about how effective or ineffective he was. Let’s just say you are unlikely to see many statues of him littering the capitol grounds the next time you visit Washington. After Buchanan, there was one resident Pennsylvanian nominated by a major party, Winfield Scott Hancock in 1880. Hancock, a bona fide Civil War hero, veteran of Gettysburg, and widely respected military commander, was defeated by James Garfield in the closest popular vote in presidential election history.
Since then it has been slow going for would-be presidents from the Keystone State. By any calculus, it’s a rare event that “Pennsylvania” and “presidential candidate” are used in the same sentence.
From the Civil War through the late New Deal, machine politics and patronage mostly occupied politicians in the state. “Making” presidents was far more interesting than becoming president during those times, and few Pennsylvanians found themselves even mentioned as presidential contenders.
There have been some exceptions, mostly favorite sons or other dark horse candidacies. U.S. Senator Philander C. Knox was a Republican candidate in 1908. In 1920, Governor William Sproul had some support at the GOP convention, as did Attorney General Mitchell Palmer at the Democratic convention. And Governor Arthur James was a dark horse candidate at the Republican Convention in 1940. All four were Pennsylvania natives."