How to Lose a Presidential Election in the 20th Century

Presidential Election
State Library and Archives of Florida Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Instead, Nixon would take part in a number of so-called town hall meetings. But not everything was as it seemed. These events would take place in front of a panel of ‘ordinary’ people like a housewife, a plumber, a doctor, and an African-American taxi driver but many wondered if the Nixon campaign had managed to get his supporters on the panel but there was no evidence to back that up.

It turns out that the political commentators had been looking in the wrong place, as the Nixon team hadn’t infiltrated the panel, but the audience instead. His team had stacked the audience with about four or five hundred avid Nixon supporters. So, whatever response Nixon gave to the question from the panel, his answers were met with overwhelming audience support, making him look like the clear winner. And he was, as he went on defeat Humphrey.

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