To nobody’s surprise, the amiable man of limited educability and his venomous protege won themselves a thumping victory. Ike, the charismatic non-leader, “manifested” himself here and there, brought his magic aura with him, smiled and tranquilized a restive people. While fantastic eruptions were taking place in other parts of the world, the United States continued to behave predictably, if somewhat peculiarly. It now appears that no combination of circumstances could have stopped Eisenhower from being re-elected. He was a sure thing in prosperity or depression, peace or war, and one almost feels, dead or alive. The personal magnetism of a man who can turn any political condition to advantage is an awesome thing, and widespread worship attendant upon it deserves to be called Ikenology. The specific image is apparently irrelevant; its features, though always radiant, are infinitely plastic. Ike soothes the people as a prince of peace—and thrills them to the point of paroxysm when he brings not peace but a sword. The Republicans said, “A vote for Stevenson is a vote for Eastland.” They were right. The Democrats said, “A vote for Ike is a vote Dickie.” And they were right. So now we have both Dickie and Eastland. It takes an ingenious electoral system to achieve such results. But there were others, generated not so much by the good sense of voters who had suddenly become judicious ticket-splitters, as by the campaign itself.
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