Richard Nixon defeats Senator George McGovern (D-South Dakota) and is re-elected President of the United States.
With only 55 % of the electorate voting, the cheapest turnout because 1948, Nixon carried all states but Massachusetts, taking 97 % of the electoral votes. During the campaign, Nixon pledged to secure “peace with honor” in Vietnam. Aided by the prospective for a peace agreement in the ongoing Paris negotiations and the upswing in the American economy, Nixon easily defeated McGovern, an outspoken peacenik whose party was divided over numerous problems, not minimal which was McGovern’s intense views on the pugilative war. McGovern had said throughout the campaign, “If I were President, it would take me twenty-four hours and the stroke of a pen to terminate all military operations in Southeast Asia.” He stated he’d withdraw all American troops inside 90 days of taking office, whether U.S. prisoners of war have already been released. To plenty of Americans, including numerous Democrats, McGovern’s position was tantamount to total capitulation in Southeast Asia. Given this radical alternative, Nixon seemed a greater substitute for most voters.
In other races, the Democrats widened their majority in Congress, picking right up two Senate seats. Almost unnoticed throughout the presidential campaign was the arrest of 5 men linked to Nixon’s re-election committee who had broken in to the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complicated in Washington, D.C. The Watergate scandal eventually became Nixon’s undoing, and he resigned the presidency as a upshot of it in August 1974.