Are All Primary Seasons Crazy?

hollings windbreaker

A highlight of the exhibit is this windbreaker, one of those worn by Hollings campaign workers in 1984.

Political pundits have been shocked and amazed by the unfolding of both the Democratic and Republican presidential primary contests. No one but the candidates and their close associates gave any legitimacy or hope to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump when they announced their bids for the presidency. Most knowledgeable folks assumed then that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would crush their opposition. After voting in Iowa and New Hampshire, the field is still muddled and all eyes turn to South Carolina. The electorate for our upcoming primary contests is more diverse and should be more focused on national security and religion.

Hollings case

The Hollings-centric case – notice the photo at left detailing the 1984 vote count from Dixville Notch, NH, as the votes came in at midnight, launching Primary Day in that state

SCPC has mounted a special exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery showcasing past presidential primary fields, and particularly the 1984 presidential run by South Carolina’s own Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings. His campaign is represented by buttons, bumper stickers, a windbreaker, editorial cartoons, and one of my favorite items, a paper fan handed out at the 1983 Florida Democratic State Convention featuring photos of the seven Democratic candidates.

The display includes material from campaigns circa 1952 to 1992, including those of Lamar Alexander, John Anderson, Jerry Brown, John Connally, Pete du Pont, Dwight Eisenhower, Geraldine Ferraro, Steve Forbes, Lindsey Graham, Gary Hart, Hubert Humphrey, Jesse Jackson, John Kennedy, Alan Keyes, Wilbur Mills, Ed Muskie, Richard Nixon, Ross Perot, Ronald Reagan, Sargent Shriver, Paul Tsongas, and George Wallace. You may also see a vintage punch card voting machine donated by Congressman Joe Wilson.

exhibit corner

Yes, we have an old punch card voting booth!

Come see how many of these candidates you remember. The exhibit will be up through the end of the month.

Herb Hartsook

PS:  To answer my own question, I believe that indeed all primary seasons have crazy moments. Let us know what you think!

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