Newspaper Articles


Charleston Gazette
May 12, 1960

Editorials

Best Man Didn’t Win—There Wasn’t One

There can be no cause for jubilation over the defeat of Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey in Tuesday’s West Virginia primary election.

This is not to detract anything from Sen. John F. Kennedy’s victory. Both Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Humphrey are able men and this nation and this state would not have been the loser had either won.

Sen. Humphrey, however, went down to a near-crushing defeat and his decision to withdraw from the contest for the presidential nomination is understandable.

But it is vital that the voice and the influence of this courageous liberal not be lost. It is vital that he be re-elected to the U.S. Senate from his home state of Minnesota in November. And, if the Democratic nominee for the presidency is successful, it is vital that Sen. Humphrey be given a major voice in the affairs of the new Administration.

Sen. Humphrey is a man of the people. He is a tireless and able fighter for those who do not have the power and the influence to fight for themselves. His record shows him to be, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, a man with the “spark of greatness.”

The results of the West Virginia primary can have crucial and adverse effects on the career of Sen. Humphrey. We desperately hope that this will not be the case. During the weeks that he was with us, we have come to know, to admire and genuinely to like the senator from Minnesota.

Sen. Humphrey traveled the length and breadth of West Virginia in his search for victory. He was emotionally and genuinely distressed at the tragic economic conditions he found here. He was, we firmly believe, sincere when he promised immediate action to correct these ills if he won the nomination and the presidency.

Nor can the absolute sincerity of Sen. John F. Kennedy be doubted when he promised, in effect, a “new Deal” for our hard-hit state. Sen. Kennedy does not show emotion as readily as Sen. Humphrey. He is a personally colder and, possibly, more intellectually reserved type of man. But he is an honest and forthright man. Perhaps the emotion did not spring to the surface but it was there.

In matters of this sort, it is usual to say that the “best man won.” We cannot fully agree. Nor could we agree if the results of the election had been reversed. It was a difficult and an agonizing choice to make between Sen. Humphrey and Sen. Kennedy. There was no clear-cut choice between good and evil, black and white, Republican and Democrat, promised and deeds. The voter had to choose between two good, able and honest men. The choice was made in the hurtful knowledge that the hopes and aspirations of the defeated candidate might be destroyed.

No, we cannot agree that the best man won, or the best man lost.

There was no best man.


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