Just something that popped into my head this morning as a way to stretch the ol’ brain muscles and see what I remember from those AP US History classes back in the day. Without referring to Google, Wikipedia, the encyclopedia, or any resource other than your own memory, how many presidential elections can you go back before you can’t remember who the major party candidate was that came in second?
Answer before you read downthread to avoid spoilerizing yourself. For myself, here’s what I came up with before hitting a brick wall at 1944;
That’s as far as I made it. I hit a blank on 1944, and had to go to Wikipedia to learn that Dewey was the candidate then as well. [/SPOILER]
I was born in 1963 (and I think that’s a useful thing to know about those answering), so my memory of politics starts with Nixon-McGovern, and it’s solid from then on… Everything before that is history, and some candidates stand out more than others. My thoughts ended up like this:
1968: Lessee, I don’t think Johnson ran, and RFK died so… Humphrey? My uncertainty here almost makes me stop, but I remember the earlier candidates better, so I move on:
1964: Goldwater - Johnson’s “nuke” ad was unforgettable.
1960: Nixon - Debates with Kennedy
1956: Stevenson - Chiefly known in my memory as “that guy who kept losing to Eisenhower,” so I named him for '56 and '52 even though there’s a big foggy blotch about the actual campaigns.
1948: Dewey - Would have gotten this if I’d considered it, but I was sufficiently fuzzy about 1952 that I didn’t try.
1944: I’m sure I’ve heard before that Dewey lost twice, but unless I dredged up that passing reference, I’d have had no clue. As it is, I didn’t try.So, either 1968 or 1952, and hypothetically 1944, or - on a good day - 1940.
Pretty much the same here. I can vaguely recall 1956 election and “I like Ike” buttons. I know he beat Stevenson. I know but don’t remember it was the same matchup in 1952 and I’ve see the Dewey defeats Truman headline picture enough to recall that one. So 1944 is my first blank.