George Bush carried three of his "home
states"—Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts—in this year's national Republican primaries, but even though he lives in
Houston, Texas may be his toughest campaign-to-win yet.
Ronald Reagan took a clean sweep of
Texas delegates from President Ford in
the 1976 primary. There is nothing to indicate any of that support has diminished
in four years. And John Connally didn't
help matters any, when the former Texas
governor withdrew from the race and
threw his support to Reagan. There is no
doubt about it, Bush is running in Reagan
Reagan isn't Bush's only obstacle to
victory. Even though they are the only
two candidates on the Republican presidential ballot, it is likely that some
Republican voters and cross-over Democrats will vote "uncommitted" which is
the only way to register a vote for Congressman John Anderson.
Unlike the Democratic primary's straw
poll, delegate selection for the 1980 Republican Texas primary is a winner-take-
all system. With this method "it would be
politically dumb to vote uncommitted
with the intention of showing support for
John Anderson," said Chase Untermeyer,
a Texas State Representative and part-
time staff assistant to George Bush.
A vote for Anderson is a vote for
Reagan in Untermeyer's view. "Any uncommitted delegates to the Republican
National Convention would be selected at
the state convention which will more
than likely be Reagan supporters, therefore making every vote for uncommitted
a vote for Reagan," he emphasized.
In the Texas Republican presidential
primary it is the actual vote which
decides the selection of the 80 Texas
delegates to the Republican National
Convention. These votes will be tabulated
in each of the 24 congressional districts.
Each district will choose three delegates
and three alternates, plus eight at-large
delegates will be chosen from the state.
Harris County is made up of three entire
congressional districts plus parts of two
which cross county lines.
The selection system dictates that the
candidate with the most votes earns all
three delegates. Only in the case of a large
uncommitted vote would this fact change.
The spokesperson at Bush headquarters
said it was about as likely as a "snowball
John Anderson has no organized support in Harris County and has only a
small organization in Texas which is centered in Austin. It seems that any strategy
he employs, either to capture the Repu-
lican uncommitted vote or to run as an
independent (he is expected to announce
his third party candidacy after the Pennsylvania primary) would only accomplish
what he is trying to prevent, a win for
Columnist Carl Rowan recently wrote
that Anderson was "dreaming" of a situation in which Carter and Reagan wrapped
George Bush brings his campaign to Texas.
John Anderson plans to run as an independent.
BUSH IN TEXAS
Native son running in Reagan country
THE OTHER GUY
Declaration of Independence
BY JANE ARMSTRONG
BY JAMES YEAGER
up the nomination but where polls
showed neither had popular support.
"Thirty per cent for Carter, 30 per cent
for Reagan and Anderson rides forth on a
horse whiter than his own hair shouting,
'40 per cent prefer me!' "
He predicts the chances of Anderson
winning the presidency are slim and as a
"spoiler" he would "deliver Ronald
Reagan to the Oval Office." Rowan feels
Anderson should drop out of the race and
throw his support to Edward Kennedy
"on grounds that the Massachusetts senator's ideas and convictions are closer to
his than are those of Reagan" or Carter.
Anderson has been a "spoiler" for the
Bush candidacy, but Bush supporters here
are also counting on uncommitted delegates to help the Bush candidacy at the
national convention in August. Ceci Cole,
national assistant director of communications of the Bush campaign explained
that delegates from Texas attending the
Republican National Convention are
bound to a particualr candidate. "However, 48 per cent of the delegates at the
national convention will be 'unbound'
because most states require no commitment of delegates, making a firm national
count of delegate support for either candidate speculative."
On the issues, one survey conducted
by the Republican Women's Task Force
(RWTF) shows Anderson and Bush in
agreement on most of their issues. Both
support the ERA, while Reagan is known
to oppose it. Anderson opposes allowing
states to rescind their ratification of the
ERA, Reagan appears to support recission
and Bush did not answer the question.
Anderson and Bush support public funding of family planning programs, support
the registration of women if the draft is
reinstated and would consider a woman
as their vice presidential running mate.
Reagan would consider a woman running
mate but did not answer the other
questions. Anderson and Bush oppose a
federal constitutional ban on abortion;
however, Bush would allow a constitutional amendment allowing states to regulate abortions within state boundaries.
Reagan supports a constitutional amendment banning abortions.
When asked how they would ensure
increased appointments of women to high
positions within the federal government,
Anderson said he wants the RWTF to
advise his transition team. Bush responded that he would "insist that the names
of women and minority^candidates be included in each list of recommendations
for nominees for appointments in my
administration." No answer from Reagan
The winner-take-all in Texas' Republican presidential primary will take 80
delegates to the national convention.
Jane Armstrong has a BS in Journalism
from the University of Tennessee and is a
graduate student in accounting at UH.
Go ahead and run as an independent.
Sure, there'll be a few problems. Not with
getting elected: that's impossible. But
running itself has pitfalls which beset
only independent presidential candidates.
In the presidential election of 1976
Gene McCarthy ran as an independent.
He had issues which nobody else talked
about; he was known as a man of integrity, wit and. common sense; he was
telegenic and well-respected by the press.
Yet, after a year and a half of work, he
got on the ballot in 29 states and received 756,691 votes (including write-
ins) or one percent of the total.
Based on McCarthy's 1976 experiences, a few safe predictions can be made
about how Anderson will be treated.
First of all, there won't be much money.
People are used to giving to party primary campaigns but not to helping independents. Despite the optimistic predictions of his direct-mail fundraisers
that they can raise $12 million by
November, Anderson would do well to
raise as much as 15 percent of the $30
million each party candidate will have.
And what little Anderson gets won't
be matched by federal funds. The Federal
Elections Commission's individual contribution limits will apply, but not the
countervailing subsidies. They will remain the privilege of the established
The only way an independent can
receive subsidy funds is to garner more
than five percent of the November vote,
in which case his expenses will be audited
and an undetermined percentage paid
long after the campaign is over. Being
gladly paid in March for a campaign
hamburger in October is of no great
Since money is how the press keeps
score of who is a "serious" candidate
and Anderson won't have much, he can
expect that reporters who wrote respectfully of him as a Republican will dismiss
him-when they do not chide him-as an
independent. This has already begun.
Network news coverage will decline in
frequency, and he will find himself excluded from any debates, even those
organized under supposedly nonpartisan
auspices, and from most national interview programs.
If McCarthy's '76 experience is any
guide, Anderson can't expect a fair
shake from the nationally published
polls. In 76, one poll consistently omitted the independent's name altogether;
another included it but wouldn't print
the data; a third made you add, subtract
and turn to a previous page to discover
the percentage the independent had.
As soon as Anderson declines from the
lofty heights of 20 percent favorable
ratings, he can expect to be included
only every other time, or every third
time, a poll is published.
People who might otherwise be expected to support Anderson will discover
an almost theological attachment to the
two-party system and manifest an almost pathological avoidance of him.
Various former supporters will find
themselves offered jobs with Anderson's opponents and will be provided a
forum to speak out against him. They
may take out an ad in a national magazine, or they may simply use old mailing
lists to send a letter to other former
supporters, denouncing his candidacy
and suggesting that Anderson is less than
a full-blooded American for running for
president outside the sacred confines
of the two-party system.
Gaining ballot access will be harder,
and more confusing, than anything John
Anderson has ever done in his life. State
officials will consider themselves justified
not only in making scornful remarks
about his campaign among themselves
and to the media, but in using any means
to frustrate his efforts to file sufficient
petition signatures for ballot placement. His petitioners will be harassed
by local authorities. The petitions themselves will be scrutinized with the fervor
normally reserved for poring over patronage lists. States will manage to strike off
almost as many signatures as they certify.
But the biggest disappointment will be
the shift in the focus of such muted
media attention as will be forthcoming.
The story will be not Anderson's programs, but Anderson's problems. Reporters who can't get a substantive story
printed will succeed in announcing the
weekly total of states in which Anderson
gets ballot access. The issues Anderson
wishes to raise will be obscured by the
complexities of the process of raising
them. Much of his time and that of his
staff will be spent in explaining the differences between seeking a party nomination and gaining independent ballot
placement. Many of these explanations
will be in vain.
There is, in short, a tremendous
amount of institutional hostility to the
very idea of an independent candidacy
which in turn feeds the notion that
you shouldn't "waste" a vote on a dark
horse candidate (as though votes were
bets and politics were sport). Bipartisan
obstructionism will haunt Anderson more
as election day approaches, as both
parties tell their supporters that a vote
for Anderson is really a vote for the
opposition. Apparently the only thing the
Democratic and Republican parties agree
on is that no one ought to be permitted
to challenge for the presidency except
A modern independent candidacy has
one thing going for it: the votes it gets
are cheap. In 1976 McCarthy spent
less than 80 cents per vote. Reagan and
Carter's primary spending is already well
over that. The people may be ready to
vote for an independent, but the parties
aren't ready to let them; and the media
aren't ready to report the story anyway.
After practicing on McCarthy in 76 and
perhaps Anderson in '80, maybe by
1984 (when we may need it) an independent can get a fair shot.
James Yeager has a special knowledge of
the tribulations facing John Anderson as
an independent presidential candidate. He
was press secretary to Gene McCarthy in