5 Presidents Who Could Have Changed America
These men ran for President or who would have been in line for a shot at the office. Their ideas were ahead of their time and many times against the status quo.
- •William Jennings Bryan (1896)Bryan ran as a populist which was a new political movement gaining a lot of excitement especially by struggling farmers. Bryan sided with the "little guy," he wanted to help struggling farmers and punish big business such as a corrupt railroad tycoons.America was in the Gilded Age and the disparity between the richest Americans and everyone else was enormous. The establishment won the election with William McKinley who would keep the status quo and began American imperialism by war with Spain.
- •Eugene V. Debs (1920)The famous socialist labor leader was vocal in his opposition to the ills of capitalism. Debs led many labor protests including ones involving the IWW and his own American Railway Union. Debs actually accrued millions of followers and was campaigning from prison for his protest activity. In an age where the average worker was treated lesser than rich business leaders, Debs would have radically changed the life of so many Americans.
- •Henry Wallace (1944-45)Wallace was a liberal that was way ahead of his time. Wallace was the Secretary of Agriculture under FDR and the presumptive VP nominee in 1944. Wallace lost the nomination to Harry Truman at a convention that bordered on criminal. Political bosses worked things out to win the nomination for Truman. Wallace was against the Cold War, a ardent supporter of labor unions, and frequently spoke for equality for minorities and women. The early stages of the Cold War would have been vastly different.
- •Robert F. Kennedy (1968)RFK was a candidate who served as a symbol of progress and peace to many disillusioned Americans in one of the most tumultuous years in our nations history. Kennedy wanted to end the unpopular Vietnam War, poverty, and rising racial tensions in America. He served as Attorney General for his brother where he aided many civil rights cases. Kennedy also made many enemies because he disrupted the status quo. Tragically, he was gunned down after winning the important California primary in June 1968.
- •George McGovern (1972)McGovern ran against Nixon in '72 as the anti-establishment, peace candidate. He was against the Vietnam War and high military spending. The New Left, including many entertainment stars, backed this promising, liberal candidate. McGovern was the antithesis of Nixon and the right which made him appealing to those averse to Vietnam-era American policies. He wanted to help those struggling in America but lost badly to Nixon. Imagine American sentiment toward government with no Watergate scandal.
- •Bernie Sanders is likely to join this list this year. A self-proclaimed democratic socialist who engaged millions of Americans who would usually be apathetic to politics. Sanders wants to change the tax structure, make college free, and make big banks pay follow laws. Sanders has pushed liberals farther left than ever in American history.