AMERICAN NOTES: The Unhappy Campaign

In the U.S., a presidential race is usually a kind of rite of passage. However profligate the political excesses, however tawdry the rhetoric, American campaigns have traditionally stirred the national blood with some sense of men and issues in collision, of a people engaged in a rich and complex process of choice. It can be an exciting business —even a lot of fun in its extravagant buncombe intermixed with tense concentration on the highest power stakes.

But 1972 has had little of all that. Columnist Marquis Childs was not exaggerating much when he described this presidential race as "one of...

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