An Election Break

Cheer up, my fellow voters. If the Trump/Clinton race is causing you some angst, I hope you’ll enjoy a few of these classic Buchwald humor columns from 52 years ago. I’ll try to post one every weekend until our own tumultuous campaign season is over.


By Art Buchwald

1964 Presidential Election


The big question asked at a political convention is whether all the spontaneous demonstrations, the parades and the colorful ballyhoo have any effect on changing the delegates’ votes.

The answer is an unqualified yes.

I spoke to an uncommitted Republican delegate who told me he would have no idea whom to vote for if it weren’t for the demonstrations that precede the nominations

He said, “I’m not concerned with issues. I’m interested only in personalities. I think the one who puts on the best spontaneous demonstrations has earned the nomination.”

“How do you judge them?”

“Well, I like girls. I’ve always believed that the candidate who has the prettiest girls working for him is probably the one who can do the best job for the country. The first thing I do when I come to the convention is to take a look at the girls.”

“Is there anything special you look for?”

“Oh, I look to see the way they’re dressed. If they have a neat appearance. If they smile when they talk to you. Important things like that.”

“Is there anything else that influences your vote?”

“A good band during a demonstration can always move me. I like a lot of trombones in a band. In 1952 I was going to vote for Taft, but he was weak on trombones, so I went over to Eisenhower.”

“What are some of the other factors that affect your vote?”

“Did I tell you about girls?”

“Yes, you did.”

“Well, let’s see. I always look to see who has the most colorful posters. I look for originality in posters as well as size. It isn’t enough just to have the poster show the candidate’s face. The same goes for buttons. I always felt Nixon lost in 1960 because his buttons didn’t say anything.”

“What about spontaneous demonstrations?” I asked.

“I think they’re almost as important as girls. As a matter of fact, I never decide which way to go until I see the spontaneous demonstrations. A convention is much too serious a business to make up your mind before you see how a candidate has organized his demonstration. I think that’s where Harold Stassen makes his mistake every time. He never seems to be able to get his spontaneous demonstrations off the ground.”

“I hear Goldwater is very strong on spontaneous demonstrations.”

“That’s what I hear too, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. Scranton probably started too late to organize a good spontaneous demonstration, but I’m keeping an open mind.”

“What else do you use as a yardstick?”

“Well, there are the girls.”

“You mentioned them.”

“That’s probably it, then. Of course, if anyone wants to buy me a drink, I’ll take that into account too.”

“Do you ever try to find out where the candidates stand?”

He looked at me as if I was crazy. “What for?”


About David B. Smith

I'm a math professor at San Bernardino Valley College - awesome place! - and author of adult Christian fiction. Lisa and I have two grown daughters and four grandkids.
This entry was posted in Art Buchwald, Elections, Political Conventions, voting. Bookmark the permalink.

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