1968 United States presidential election (Nixon's The One!)

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1968 United States presidential election

← 1964 November 5, 1968 1972 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 61.9% Decrease 0.9 pp

Nominee Hubert Humphrey Paul Bagwell Orval Faubus
(replaced George Wallace)
Party Democratic Republican States' Rights
Home state Minnesota Michigan Arkansas
Running mate John Connally John Volpe None
Electoral vote 349 137 52
States carried 24 + DC 20 6
Popular vote 36,153,186 32,635,349 2,048,539
Percentage 53.9% 43.7% 2.7%

Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Humphrey/Connally, red denotes those won by Bagwell/Volpe, orange denotes the electoral votes for Wallace/Chandler. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Richard Nixon

Elected President

Hubert Humphrey

The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Democratic nominee, Senator Hubert Humphrey, defeated the Republican nominee, Michigan governor Paul Bagwell, and independent candidate Orval Faubus, who was originally the running mate to the late Alabama Governor George Wallace until his assassination in October.

President Richard Nixon, a Republican, was ineligible to run for a third term due to the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. The conservative and liberal wings of the Republican Party locked horns with each other, with Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller as the two most prominent candidates. In third was Michigan Governor Paul Bagwell, a moderate-to-conservative candidate who emerged as a compromise candidate after neither Rockefeller nor Goldwater could get a majority of delegates at the Convention. Bagwell, after receiving a formal endorsement from outgoing Nixon, secured the nomination on the fifth ballot and selected Massachusetts Governor John Volpe, which upset many conservatives. In the Democratic primary, Minnesota Senator and 1964 nominee Hubert Humphrey emerged victorious over a cast of candidates that included Washington Senator Scoop Jackson, California Governor Pat Brown, Texas Governor John Connally, and former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Humphrey cleared the primary and picked the more conservative Connally, hoping to rectify his harsh defeat in the previous election after losing support in the Deep South. Despite this, Wallace announced his second independent bid, hoping to score enough electoral votes to deadlock the election.

The election was marked by strained race relations following the passage of the 1966 American Civil Rights Act, the April assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the subsequent race riots that followed. Wallace's controversial campaign got national attention due to his inflammatory statements on the riots. On October 21, lone gunman and former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Wallace at a campaign event in Dallas, Texas. Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus assumed Wallace's role as the Dixiecrat candidate, however most ballots could not be changed to reflect Faubus' new candidacy.

Sixteen years of Republican rule came to a close with Humphrey's victory over Bagwell. Humphrey managed to score a wide electoral and popular vote victory, taking 54% of the popular vote and 349 electoral votes. Despite his success, Humphrey became the first Democrat to win the White House without winning a single state in the Deep South, and won only one former Confederate state (Texas). Meanwhile, Bagwell became the first Republican ever to win Georgia, taking a slim victory over Faubus and Humphrey in the Peach State.