The Democrats: Feuds & Factions

The Democrats: Feuds & Factions

“Right now, they have a great big Band-Aid holding them together—Watergate. When it gets ripped off, watch out.”—Anne Armstrong, then White House counselor, speaking about the Democrats, July 16, 1974

The jockeying for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination has already begun, while the fights that divided the party in 1968 and again in 1972 still smoulder. Henry Jackson’s prime supporters in and around the AFL–CIO’s Committee on Political Education and the Coalition for a Democratic Majority are smoldering the hardest about such things as the retention of most of the McGovern-Fraser guidelines for delegate selection. The Jackson partisans have been vociferous in their dislike of those guidelines and have opened battle to get rid of them immediately after the 1972 election. Their first move was to dump McGovern’s Democratic National Chairwoman Jean Westwood and replace her with Robert Strauss, a conservative Texan. In more recent months, CDM and COPE spokesmen have denounced Strauss for selling them out on the delegate selection guidelines. There is, though, very little indication that COPE or CDM will object to very much in the present guidelines. Their real animus is directed against the “kooks and crazies” (COPE Director Al Barkan’s phrase) who proposed the guidelines and favored McGovern. But in 1974 and probably again in 1976, COPE will allocate money and personnel to reelect some of those “kooks and crazies” to Congress.

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Lima