Before John Fitzgerald Kennedy ran for President he ran for Vice President and his father was furious. The year was 1956 and Adlai Stevenson was the again the Democratic Nominee for President. In 1952 Stevenson ran with John Sparkman of Alabama as his running mate but lost to the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket. In 1956 instead of picking a Vice President, Stevenson in a surprise move opened the vice presidential nomination to the convention.
The Nomination for Vice President went three ballots. Deals were made in hotel suites and on the convention floor. State Delegations switched their votes and forgot about favorite sons. On the second ballot Kennedy came with in 15 votes of the required number for victory. On the third vote the momentum shifted to winner Estes Kefauver.
In the 56 years since neither a Democratic or Republican convention has had more than one ballot. There is a reason for this. Kennedy knew the old guard in the Democratic Party weren't going to nominate him.In 1960 he hit the primary trail to prove his support. He beat Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey in Wisconsin and later in West Virginia where he addressed the religious issue. Ever since candidates have used an expanded primary process to come to the convention with enough delegates to win. Gone are 100 ballot elections that were decided in smoke filled rooms. The last of those was before Roosevelt, (Television, and air conditioning. Somewhere in 1920's would be a good guess.
|The Ballots after every Vatican Papal election are burned. Black |
smoke means no decision. White smoke means a new Pope.
The same political process working the 1956 Democratic National Convention works for the Vatican and the selection of a Pope by the College of Cardinals. In fact their saying "He who enters the Conclave a Pope comes out a Cardinal " is a favorite of politicians everywhere.
Angelo Roncalli was the fourth child of 13 born into an Italian Village of sharecroppers. His election as Pope in the fall of 1958 surprised everyone. He was a so-called "stop gap " Pope, a compromise whose best attribute was his age. Meaning he wouldn't live very long and probably wouldn't do any harm.He lived almost five years but his vigor and energy changed the face of Roman Catholicism. Today many consider Pope John XXIII to be the greatest Pope's of the Twentieth Century.
Crowd in St Peter's Square awaiting the
smoke then cheering the outcome