Yesterday’s post about the unlikely alliance of independent presidential candidate John Anderson and independent musician Todd Rundgren spurred two friends of mine to bouts of nostalgia.
One was a seven-year-old girl in Virginia in the fall of 1980; the other was a six-year-old boy in Toledo, Ohio. They both were drawn to the Anderson campaign — the girl because he looked grandfatherly; the boy for reasons he could not explain. When Anderson lost on Election Day, the boy wept.
That made me remember my own elementary school days, and the mock elections that would be held in class in Presidential years.
I wonder, if you added up voting results in the nation’s classrooms, how many classrooms would the Anderson-Lucey ticket have carried? And how would that have differed from the actual precinct-by-precinct national results, as voted by grown-ups?
Sure, a lot of schoolkids vote the way they hear their parents talking. Some even ask them for advice.
But I like to imagine there was a block of American children in 1980 who would have been drawn to the independent candidate for novelty’s sake, or because he looked like their grandpa, or because they got talked into supporting him by “cooler” kids, or because they’d seen him on TV and he lodged in their minds the way random things sometimes do.
With that in mind, I bet there were a couple of classrooms somewhere in this grand, sweeping, star-spangled, dream-hungry nation of ours where John Anderson got elected president.
(A belated shout-out here to Mrs. Gaydenson’s kids in Room 4B of Dacron Elementary. You were visionaries, all of you. Except Cindy and Alex. And Christy — she was out sick.)
Seems to me the nation’s kid vote would provide an interesting counterpoint to the adult vote.
I wonder if anyone — like one of those educational magazines for schoolchildren — has ever tried to round up an actual total of classrooms won per candidate. I am guessing not, as it would be an awful lot of work for something that would only be of interest to flakes and historical moss-nibblers like myself.
For what it’s worth, I was also seven on Election Day 1980 and do not recall having an attachment to any of the candidates. It would have been just like me to go for Anderson, though.
Perhaps it still is.