In 1972, the Democratic party was in disarray. George McGovern fought off eleven candidates to become presidential candidate, yet his anti-war stance, and liberal social and economic views made many Democrats feel uneasy. The Republican incumbent president Richard Nixon was easily voted to run for re-election, with Spiro Agnew as running mate. The Republican campaign was a well-funded, slick affair with a host of influential individuals helping with the canvassing. McGovern, meanwhile, was not well-liked and the former Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson even supported the Republican campaign in an attempt to hinder McGovern’s quest for the White House. McGovern’s liberal views alienated many mainstream Democratic voters, a weakness that Nixon played upon by highlighting some of his opponent’s more radical ideas. Nixon enjoyed a landslide victory with 60 per cent of the popular vote and 520 electoral votes. Behind the scenes, however, the extent of the Watergate Scandal was emerging.
— OR —