The Age of Awareness – President Lyndon Johnson Chooses 1968 Retirement

Lyndon Johnson famously resigned from contention for the Presidency during the 1968 election.

This is – today – widely believed to have been due to the burgeoning campaign of one Robert F. Kennedy which threatened to embarrass Johnson during the Democratic Primary.

I wish this story were true.

It isn’t.

The 1968 Democratic Primary – As It Really Happened

Contrary to the popular mythos, by the time of the Democratic Convention at Chicago in August 1968 the hope of reform had already died.

RFK was assassinated in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after winning the California Democratic Primary on June 6, 1968.

Many fantasize Bobby would have won the whole thing…except in that era the majority of Democratic Delegates pledged themselves early and they were overwhelmingly Johnson men.

During this period of politics a mere 15 of 50 states chose Party Delegates by Primaries, most being allotted by county and state officials who understandably would be loyal to any sitting President.

Worse, these Delegates were committed to backing Johnson on the first Convention ballot as candidate for the Presidency, meaning even with the stunning triumphs Kennedy scored it was not enough.

At most there may have been some sort of “horse trading” on the second ballot – again assuming a best case scenario in which Johnson did not win outright – and Bobby might have gotten the Vice Presidential slot…but here again, that would have been unlikely given their personal animosity.

The decidedly un-Camelot-esque reality is Johnson almost certainly would have been the nominee.

So why wasn’t he? Glad you asked.

Actuarial Tables Matter – No Matter What The Supreme Court Says

For those unacquainted, an Actuarial Table is a set of figures which determines, based on multitudes of instances, the likelihood a given event will occur.

Say you want to go skydiving but also want insurance…an agency will review a series of characteristics about you such as age, weight, height, income and other factors to see how likely it is you will go *splat*.

And in case you don’t go skydiving, you probably do drive a car, and in which case (unless you are an Illegal Invader from Mexico robbing the United States blind) you will have car insurance.

Those rates, as with the skydiving, are based on Actuarial Tables.

In a court of law representatives are typically not allowed to present a jury in a criminal trial with Actuarial Tables regarding the propensity of certain intelligence, earning or – Heaven help you for even thinking it, you filthy raaaiiicist! – ethnicities for committing crimes.

The assertion is this would be overly prejudicial to the accused.

Except our Practical Reality thankfully exists outside an alleged court of “law”. Therefore, such things as statistical probability based upon tens of millions of examples is recognized as being of use.

(Yes, yes, yes…Johnson…hold on, Sportsfans, we’re getting to him!)

The Little-Known Story of Why Johnson Quit

So one day in 1968 while the Viet Nam War was really still in full-swing and the unwashed and unshaved hippies were marching on Pennsylvania Avenue shouting, “Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today!?!” …

Johnson gazed out his window (and probably) mused to himself in a Texas accent, “I don’t need to deal with this sh*t.”

Upon which the President called on aides to themselves call on the best Actuarial men in America.

When they arrived Johnson promptly gave them his stash of medical records, by the accounts this author has seen totally without restriction. He let them in on all the details of his operations and what were then quaintly referred to as “heart troubles”.

Thus, the cowboy basically said, “So how long do I got?”

After a brief interval of tabulations and consultations the Wise Men of the Actuarial profession more or less agreed Lyndon had – at most – around four additional years.

Rodeo Bow – Get Out While The Gettin’s Good!

This is the true story of why President Johnson quit the race to be President again.

Given that he knew, or credited, he had less than a half decade to live, and after a lifetime in politics, with a yard full of long-haired Flower Children insulting him every day…there wasn’t much of a choice to be made.

As further proof this had little if anything to do with Kennedy, the speech in which Johnson announced he would not run was made on March 31, 1968, well before the RFK victories to come.

Whatever one thinks of Johnson as a President (HINT: He was atrocious and basically destroyed the country.) this act of retreat from the field of battle did have an element of dignity to it.

Ultimately Lyndon met his fate on January 22, 1973, far out of earshot from any vulgarities save those he uttered himself.

As for the auguries of the Actuaries?

They had predicted Johnson would die at 64, failing to see out his second term…and he died at 64, only two days after the inauguration of the next President who would succeed him.

Someone please forward to Smugly McSenile.

Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America, DONATE BTC TO THIS WALLET - bc1qjsczn5raldujpm250lm0asr5ssrm9g2cy625uz

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Author`s name Guy Somerset
Editor Dmitry Sudakov