Former U.S. Senator George McGovern, who served a total of twenty-two years in Congress. Served in the House of Representatives from 1957-61, before serving in the Kennedy Administration from 1961-63, then getting elected to the Senate in 1962 and serving there until 1981. A victim of the 1980 Reagan Revolution and lost his Senate seat. Was a public servant and man who knew himself very well and where he stood and what he represented and what he believed in. He ran for President in 1972 as what I would call a true Socialist-Liberal. Really, the last one we’ve seen as a presidential nominee. Someone with strong liberal positions on social issues. Who believed in a good deal of personal freedom, but someone who was more Progressive-Socialist on economic policy. And ran on raising taxes, creating a real welfare state in America and building off of both the New Deal and Great Society in America. And cutting the defense-budget. So you knew what you were getting from George McGovern and where he stood.
One thing that I respect about George McGovern, was that he didn’t meet all the stereotypes that have been thrown at Progressives. At least since he ran for President in 1972, but ever since. This was a man who grew up in South Dakota and was proud of it and represented South Dakota in Congress for twenty-two years. Winning five Congressional elections, two in the House and three in the Senate. He was not from Boston, or New York, or Washington, or Chicago, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Stereotypical progressive cities in America, where many Progressives either come from, or live now. Senator McGovern, was an American Patriot, who served his country proudly in World War II, not a Pacifist. He was a devout Christian, not an Atheist. And also simply because of his honesty and consistency, he was against the Vietnam War when it was popular in the mid 1960s and was against it when it was unpopular the rest of the way.
George McGovern’s legacy in the Democratic Party, is a positive one. At least in this sense because of his political judgement. And he knew how the civil rights laws and the Great Society of the 1960s were going to cost the Democratic Party in the South. That the Democratic Party were going to need new voters. Similar to the Republican Party of today and they were going to need new voters. So what he and his campaign did was change the rules of the Democratic Party to get more Democrats represented in the party. African-Americans, Latinos, Jews, women and others and making the Democratic Party a true national party. That didn’t have to have the South to be a competitive party nationally.