U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower Nomination and Campaign

About the U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a brief history of his nomination and campaign.

34th President



Nomination: June, 1952 ...

General Eisenhower returned from Europe to enter a hot political race against conservative Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, the congressional war-horse known as "Mr. Republican." The moderate-progressive wing of the party united behind Eisenhower as the only way of stopping Taft's drive for the nomination. At the Republican convention in July, Ike was ahead of Taft on the first ballot 595 to 500, but he was still 9 votes short of victory. Before the results could be announced, however, Minnesota switched its 19 votes from favorite son Harold Stassen to Eisenhower, putting the general over the top and giving him victory in his first political battle. In order to placate the militant anti-Communists in the party, the vice-presidential nomination was given to California's Red-hunting young senator Richard M. Nixon.

Election: With the popular Eisenhower at the head of its ticket--and with widespread public discontent over the outgoing Truman administration--Republican victory in November seemed assured. Under these circumstances, Illinois's able governor, Adlai Stevenson, did everything he could to avoid his party's nomination; but when the disheartened Democrats assembled in Chicago, they turned to him anyway, on the third ballot. Resolved to make the most out of a hopeless situation, Stevenson toured the country with a series of remarkable speeches and won a reputation as an urbane, witty egghead who badly overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Meanwhile, Eisenhower concentrated on lofty platitudes about "American ideals," while his running mate slugged away at the opposition. In one memorable pronouncement, Nixon attempted to identify the Democratic nominee with Truman's unpopular secretary of state, labeling Stevenson "Adlai the Appeaser--who got his Ph.D. from Dean Acheson's College of Cowardly Communist Containment!"

In September, the American people were temporarily distracted from these "issues" by the controversy surrounding the "Nixon Fund." It appeared that a top-secret fund of $18,235 had been collected for the benefit of Senator Nixon by some California oilmen and other patriots. Now "left-wingers" were claiming that young Dick had acted improperly in accepting this money, and they demanded that he be dropped from the Republican ticket. Even Ike was worried and refused to defend his embarrassed running mate.

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