Given the current state of politics, a history lesson seems in order. It involves the 1952 Republican Convention, after the party had lost five straight presidential elections (four to FDR, one to Truman).

The conservative wing of the party was behind Ohio Senator Robert Taft, who stood for dismantling many New Deal initiatives. The moderate wing, from its power base in the Northeast, was willing to accept the social welfare stuff and just wanted a winner.

Dwight David Eisenhower was Truman’s choice to be his successor. Ike declined that offer and declared himself a Republican, leading to the moderates to start a “Draft Eisenhower” movement.

Then the voters had their say. As a write-in candidate, he beat Taft in the New Hampshire primary and the race was on. Taft polled well in the Midwest as his supporters called Ike a Democrat in disguise. Earl Warren, California’s governor, dominated his state as a favorite son.

Going into the convention in Chicago, nobody was sure what would happen. A key vote on rules (shenanigans, some say) went against Taft. Warren supported Ike and wound up on the Supreme Court the next year.

Historians now say that the delegates’ hearts were with Taft (nickname: Mr. Republican), but they craved a winner. Ike was so unschooled in politics he had no VP in mind. Backers steered him to Dick Nixon, thinking his youth and commie-bashing skills useful.

Any of this resonating?

The last word is from LewRockwell.com, inspiration for this post. He warns that stealing the nomination at a brokered convention could kill the GOP as a party, noting that “I have long looked forward to that funeral. I do not look forward to all aspects of the social explosion that would also likely result.”

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