JFK NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT ON FIRST BALLOT 53 YEARS AGO TODAY
Los Angeles, California (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts was nominated on the 1st ballot at the Democratic National Convention here in Los Angeles 53 years ago today, July 13, 1960.
JFK defeated his closest rival, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, by a 2 to 1 margin. Other candidates trailed far behind.
The delegates of the state of Wyoming, with Ted Kennedy standing with them, gave all of their 15 votes to JFK and put him over the top.
Kennedy finished with 806 while LBJ had 409, Symington 86, and Stevenson 79.5, all others 140.5.
According to Teddy White, JFK had worked hard right up to the time for the balloting. White wrote...
"Still running hard the candidate addressed six more caucuses that Wednesday morning before returning to his hideaway at 3:30 in the afternoon, half an hour before nominations were to begin."
John F. Kennedy became the 1st United States senator since Warren G. Harding to be nominated by either major party for President.
The 1960 Democratic Platform on which JFK would run had been adopted on July 11, 1960. It was titled "The Rights of Man."*
*During the 1960 campaign, JFK proudly made reference to his party's platform.
At one point he said...
"The Republican platform has also been adopted. I do not know its title, but I have heard it referred to as 'The Power of Positive Thinking.'"
The Democratic platform addressed the economy by saying...
"We Democrats believe the economy can and must grow at an average of 5% annually, almost twice as fast as our annual rate since 1953."
The platform went on to predict that a Democratic president would end the high interest rate and tight money policy of the Eisenhower administration.
In addition, a strong civil rights plank had been written into the platform with the backing of the Kennedy people. Martin Luther King, Jr. described it as...
"The most positive, dynamic and meaningful civil rights plank that has ever been adopted by either party."
On the issue of CIVIL RIGHTS, the platform stated...
"We shall...seek to create an affirmative new atmosphere in which to deal with racial divisions and inequalities. What is now required is effective moral and political leadership by the whole Executive branch of our government to make equal opportunity a living reality for all Americans.
As the party of Jefferson, we shall provide that leadership.
The time has come to assure equal access for all Americans to all areas of community life, including voting booths, schoolrooms, jobs, housing and public facilities.
To accomplish these goals will require...the strong, active, persuasive and inventive leadership of the President of the United States."
The platform also included planks on national defense, disarmament, immigration, civil liberties, foreign aid, labor, tax reform.
It concluded with these words...
"As the Party of Hope it is our responsibility and opportunity to call forth the greatness of the American people.
In this spirit, we hereby rededicate ourselves to the continuing service of the Rights of Man everywhere in America and everywhere else on God's earth."
On the Floor of the Convention
"The Making of the President 1960," by Theodore H. White, Atheneum Publishers, New York, 1961.