1960 election
The United States presidential election, 1960 was held on 8 November 1960. The Democratic Party nominated Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy as its presidential candidate, with Texas senator Lyndon B. Johnson serving as his running mate. The incumbent vice president, Richard Nixon, was named as the Republican Party nominee, and he chose Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. as his running mate. The 1957-1958 economic recession hurt the Republican Party, and Nixon wasted his energy by campaigning in all 50 states instead of focusing on swing states. Kennedy, meanwhile, enjoyed widespread support due to his youthful charisma, his status as a religious minority (he was of Irish Catholic descent), and his role in convincing the Governor of Georgia Ernest Vandiver in releasing the Civil Rights movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr. from prison, earning him the Catholic and the African-American vote. Kennedy also got the vote in big cities with the help of big-city bosses, and his running mate Johnson won him much of the South. The election also highligted the growing importance of television, as Nixon appeared nervous and shaky during a televised debate with Kennedy, while his points sounded better than Kennedy when people listened to the debate on the radio. Kennedy narrowly defeated Nixon in the popular vote, winning 49.72% of the vote to Nixon's 49.55%, and he won 303 electoral votes to Nixon's 219. The Southern Democrat Harry F. Byrd and his running mate Strom Thurmond won the support of 15 independent electors, including the entire state of Mississippi.


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