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Losers' Gains. Though they never came close to Humphrey in the delegate count, neither McCarthy nor South Dakota's George McGovern, the third candidate, could in fact be called a loser at Chicago. By standing in the national spotlight, Senator McGovern, who entered the race only 18 days before the nomination, has probably improved his chances for re-election to a second term this fall. Not only will his restrained performance as a presidential candidate enhance his reputation in the upper house (assuming that he is re-elected), it will probably also gain him consideration for a spot on some future national ticket.
For his part, McCarthy has forced the retirement of the President, precipitated the de-escalation of the war, and brought about a re-examination of the American political structure. That may eventually prove more important than anything he could have done during four years as President. As leader of the government in exile, he will remain the conscience for millions of Americans and a formidable figure that the President, whoever he is, cannot ignore. Who knows? In 1972, Eugene McCarthy may even begin again his lonely, quixotic quest for the White House.
"I am prepared to stay with the issues," he said, "so long as I have a constituencyand I still have a constituency." Neither Hubert Humphrey nor Richard Nixon is likely to dispute him.