Side-by-side portraits of George McGovern and Thomas Eagleton encircled by white text over red and blue border over white background.
N.G. SLATER CORP., N.Y.C. 11
In 1972, George McGovern and Thomas Eagleton ran for US President and Vice President, respectively, for the Democratic Party. At the time, both candidates were US Senators: McGovern for South Dakota and Eagleton for Missouri. Their campaign rested on the withdrawal of US military from Vietnam, amnestry for draft dodgers, women's reproductive rights, a small redistribution of wealth, and the legalization of marijuana. Their campaign positions led to labor unions and Southern Democrats starting an "Anybody but McGovern" campaign.
At the 1972 Democratic Convention, a series of party process missteps resulted in McGovern giving his speech at 3 a.m., which reduced the television audience to only 15 million. To make the campaign even more difficult, it was uncovered that Eagleton suffered from bi-polar disorder and had ungone electroshock treatment during the 1960s. Although the polls suggested that Eagleton's health was not a factor for the vast majority of the population, the press viewed it as an important issue. Eagleton withdrew his candidancy and Robert Shriver, Jr. took his place on the ballot.
The campaign was so disastrous that McGovern's Republican opponent, Richard Nixon (1913-1994), commenced a Democrats for Nixon campaign to win over undecided democrats. Nixon resoundedly defeated McGovern, who only received 17 electoral votes—Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.