1968: 50 Years Later - Part 2: A Party Divided

Aug 24, 2018

Credit Bettman/CORBIS

Monday, August 27, 2018 at 9 PM

The year 1968 will long be remembered for its political and social upheaval. As Americans reeled from the assassinations of two prominent leaders and sentiment deepened against the Vietnam War, politicians from both parties struggled to respond to aggravated constituents and build consensus.

Join Ken Rudin for 1968: 50 Years Later, as we continue a special three-part series looking back on the dramatic political events of 1968. Ken speaks with journalists, historians, and several key figures of the time to reflect on how it all affected the two major parties and the country, and explore how those events continue to shape politics today.

Part 2: A Party Divided

The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Chicago, but there is turmoil both inside the hall and outside. Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators and police clash violently in the streets. The Chicago Eight are charged with conspiracy and incitement to riot. Meanwhile, inside the hall, floor fights between establishment and anti-war delegates threaten to tear the party apart. Vice President Hubert Humphrey secures the nomination despite having not competed in any primaries.

A half-century later, 1968 remains etched in our collective memory, a year of tremendous hope and utter tragedy.  This week we take the second of three looks at that iconic year, focusing on the chaotic Democratic convention in Chicago.

Ted Van Dyk, Hubert Humphrey’s top adviser, talks about how the vice president was boxed in by President Johnson on LBJ’s war policy, making dissension at the convention inevitable.

Sam Brown, a leading anti-Vietnam War activist, talks about the scene outside the convention, the violent confrontations between Chicago Mayor Daley’s police and the peace demonstrators.

Rima Rudd, back then a high school teacher in the Bronx, recounts what she saw on the streets of Chicago.

George McGovern, the South Dakota senator who was a stand-in candidate for the late Robert Kennedy, remembers the passionate nominating speech given by Connecticut’s Abraham Ribicoff, who talked about “Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.”

And Tom Hayden, a leader of the “Chicago 7” demonstrators, recounts his role from 1968.

Music:

The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel

Come Together by The Beatles

Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds

Chicago by Sufjan Stevens

Peace Train by Cat Stevens

Chicago by Graham Nash