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This Day in History, 1984: Ferraro Named VP Candidate

Twenty-one years ago today, Walter Mondale, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, announced that he had chosen Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate. Although Mondale-Ferraro lost, it was a first in American history, as she was the first woman to run for Vice-President on the ticket of a major political party.

On a personal note, because Ferraro was the Congresswoman from the district right next to mine, the campaign decided to kick off their tour with a rally in front of Queens Borough Hall, within walking distance of where I lived. Although only fourteen years old, I attended that rally, admittedly more as an observer than a participant.

What I saw fascinated me. The owner of our local hobby store had advised me to watch the rally in person, then on the TV news, and note the differences. In person, the streets were filled with so many people that it was almost impossible to see Mondale and Ferraro at their lectern. Whenever they spoke, the crowd cheered loudly all around. I remember one woman standing near me who clapped and shouted after almost every sentence Ferraro spoke. But across Queens Boulevard, a line of protesters stood, with signs decrying Mondale and Ferraro's support of abortion rights. The rally lasted for the better part of an hour, if I recall correctly.

What did the TV news show? A few seconds of Mondale, a few of Ferraro, with the camera pointed solely at them as they spoke. No way for the home viewer to know just how many people had turned out in support of their ticket. No way for the viewer to know that protesters had turned out as well. It was one of the first times I remember being present at a news event and discovering just how much is often left out of news reports.


I was in London at the time. When I heard the news, my first thought was, "Well, they've thrown in the towel. He can't win with a female running mate." Of course, he didn't, but Ferraro wasn't the main reason.
Around the time of that election, Analog published a short story set a few years in the future, in which the VP was a woman. In that universe, Mondale-Ferraro had won, and it had become de facto for the male Presidential candidates to choose women as their running mates, because the electorate expected it. The story also noted that up to that point, no woman had yet stepped in to take over. I thought it was a memorable bit of speculation, even if it was rendered untrue.
The (I think) Analog election story I always remember, but can't remember the title or author, is one in which there is computerized voting and in addition for voting for a candidate, you are asked you opinions on several issues. The candidate vote is tossed and the election is based on the issues. Any idea? Maybe I should ask Stan.
Are you thinking of "Franchise" by Isaac Asimov? In that story, one average American is chosen each year by Multivac. Multivac asks him/her a ton of questions, and based on that, the winner of the election is chosen.
No. This one was more recent. Two candidates were running and each made themselves more and more like heroes from American history in order to garner they "image" vote (I think one recreated himself as Jefferson). Everyone could vote and didn't know that their votes for a man were chucked while the votes on issues were tabulated.


One of my earliest memories is of a Mondale-Ferraro rally. I don't know where it was, somewhere near Providence. But I do know that it was early September -- immediately after my first day of first grade. I remember jumping up and down on the bleachers of a stadium, yelling, "Ronald Reagan is no good, send him back to Hollywood!" Of course, I didn't know why we were there, who Reagan was, or what Hollywood was, but I had a great time jumping and yelling.

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy your This Day in History posts? From most of them, I learn more about something I vaguely remember from my childhood; some are events I wasn't even aware of (like the molasses flood).
I'm glad you like my This Day in History posts, but, um, who are you? I ask that Anonymous posters identify themselves in the body of the post.
OK, so who was the first woman to receive a vote in the Electoral College? (Hint: it wasn't Ferraro.)
Toni Nathan in 1972.
More trivia:

If I remember correctly, the first woman ever to run for President was Victoria Woodhull, in the 19th century, under the auspices of the Progressive Party.

December 2016

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