You know that feeling you get in the voting booth when you suddenly can’t decide who to vote for anymore? Sure, you did your homework and had come to a decision that morning, but the solitude of the cold, empty voting chamber was just too much for you to handle.
The lone gem in a pretty awful television ad campaign, George McGovern’s “Voting Booth” from 1972 depicts a middle-aged man going through this exact same emotional crisis. We hear the man’s internal monologue through a voiceover -- he weighs his options for the umpteenth time, worried about whether or not he’s doing the right thing -- and he ultimately ends up following his “gut feeling” and voting for McGovern.
The subtle mental prodding turned out to be ineffective. McGovern lost the election in a landslide, only managing 17 electoral votes, while Nixon raked in 520. Nixon even won McGovern’s home state, South Dakota.
The campaign wasn’t a total disaster, though. President Bill Clinton got his start in politics working for McGovern. And as political consultants like to say, you learn the most from campaigns you lose. Maybe that’s why Bill Clinton went on to become such a master of electoral politics.
Did You Know? In March 1969, McGovern became the first senator to explicitly criticize the President’s Vietnam War policy, an action that was seen as a breach of customary protocol by the rest of Senate.