Film Clinton showed at victory party included Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith

Presidential candidate Margaret Chase Smith arrives at Cow Palace in San Francisco for the National Republican Convention.  Maine Memory Network. Picture contributed by the Margaret Chase Smith Library

Presidential candidate Margaret Chase Smith arrives at Cow Palace in San Francisco for the National Republican Convention.
Maine Memory Network. Picture contributed by the Margaret Chase Smith Library

On the evening of the last big set of Tuesday primaries, when Clinton won the the majority of delegates awarded by voters and caucus goers, a Maine Republican made a brief appearance.

Hillary Clinton marked the historic nature of her candidacy as the first woman to be the presumptive nominee of a major political party.

The Clinton campaign showed a film focused on women and politics, which included one of Maine’s greats, Senator Margaret Chase Smith.

Smith made her own history in politics, including as the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the Republican presidential nomination. This was in 1964, 14 years after her “Declaration of Conscience” speech on the Senate floor. (Eight years later, Shirley Chisholm became the first Democratic woman to have her name placed in nomination for president.)

In her courageous Senate speech, Smith criticized the turn toward authoritarianism in her party, exemplified by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Many see that same tendency in the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Smith proclaimed:

I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.

While Smith’s appearance takes just a few seconds (starting about 38 seconds in), her inclusion served as a gesture of bipartisanship, a recognition of this esteeemed Maine woman’s achievement, and an implicit statement countering authoritarian bigots and promoting civility, open dialogue and inclusion.

 

 

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Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.