The First TV Presidential Campaign, 1952
Lest you assume that political discourse has deteriorated in the United States, here is the first television advertisement for a presidential candidate, broadcast by the Dwight D. Eisenhower campaign in 1952. This video is from an online exhibit on American presidential campaign ads created by the Museum of the Moving Image. I heard about it from an interesting interview with the museum’s curator, David Schwartz, on a recent broadcast of Fresh Air .
The online exhibition has dozens of ads from 1952 to the present. I found this 1972 McGovern ad interesting. There is a whole series of McGovern ads on the site where he is talking over issues with voters. I was in gradeschool when McGovern was running for president, and a mock election was held at my school. I don’t remember what my reasoning was, but I voted for McGovern, and was shocked when he lost the mock-election – and the real election – by a landslide. I couldn’t believe that all those people could prefer Nixon to McGovern. Still don’t understand it, actually.