President Donald Trump recently said Joe Biden is the worst presidential candidate of all time.
Mr. President, that’s a bold statement, especially considering some of the “gems” to have represented his party throughout the last 231 years — since George Washington took oath in April 1789.
Is Biden the worst? It’s ultimately up to you, the reader, to settle on your own opinion.
However, you may want to consider a few others before making your decision.
Among those subpar candidates are the following:
• George McGovern (1972). The South Dakota senator was viewed as a significant underdog opposing Edmund Muskie, but Muskie’s campaign crumbled, allowing McGovern to secure the Democrat nomination. In July 1972, he had just four months to pick a running mate. He was turned down multiple times by various politicians — that’s a tell-tale sign he was a pretty bad candidate. Finally, Thomas Eagleton teamed up with McGovern.
McGovern gave a speech in which he praised Eagleton. Later, after a few unsettling things were unveiled about Eagleton, McGovern dropped him in favor of Sargent Shriver, JFK’s brother in-law. McGovern was considered “too far left” by many and ended up losing by a staggering margin — 520-17 — in electoral votes to incumbent Richard Nixon. McGovern didn’t even prevail in his own state.
NOTE: That was not the most lopsided victory in presidential election history (that belongs to Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale, 525-13, in 1984.)
• Thomas Dewey (1948). Dewey seemed to be a shoo-in thanks to Harry S. Truman’s unpopularity, even among his own party. Even Truman’s wife, based on accounts, felt like he had little to no chance of winning the White House. Famously, the Chicago Daily Tribune headline “Dewey Defeats Truman” had already been printed on the page based on assumptions.
On a positive note for Dewey, he fared well against the virtually unbeatable Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, when he collected almost 46% of the popular vote. And he’d served as New York’s governor for 11 years.
Dewey lost by “playing not to lose,” as sports followers would say. He sat back and chalked up an easy victory. All the while, Truman put forth a passionate campaign and fired up on-the-fence voters across the country, pulling off the upset. Complacency killed Dewey’s campaign.
• James Blaine (1884). Corruption plagued Blaine’s campaign, and led to his political demise. However, Grover Cleveland wasn’t squeaky clean, either. Looking back 136 years, this might have been one of the dirtiest presidential races in history.
Blaine was accused of bribery, collusion, graft and perjury amid his interest in the railroads. He even picked up the nickname “Slippery Jim” for his manipulative methods. Meanwhile, Cleveland was discovered to have had an illegitimate child.
According to historycollection.com, Blaine depended on his Irish Catholic roots (his mother) for votes in New York — a state he desperately needed to trump Cleveland. However, one of his supporters berated Democrats in a speech and called the party one of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.” The Democrats used it to their advantage, emphasizing it as an insult against Catholics. This turned the tide for Blaine in New York, giving way to Cleveland’s presidency.