The Nation: The Button Bottoms Out

In election year 1976, the campaign button is becoming an endangered species, set back by high costs (up to a nickel a button) and competition from other forms of political advertising. "Television has made the biggest cut into our business," laments Frank Boston, a button manufacturer in Illinois. Now orders are 5,000 to 10,000 a whack, compared with as high as 100,000 in better button days. Another manufacturer, William Crookston of Los Angeles, is pinning his own hopes on producing buttons for fast food chains to distribute to youthful customers. Future generations may well ponder what turned the nation from preserving...