Turn Back the Clock to…the 1968 Mock Political Convention

Head of School Larry Van Meter was the 1968 MFS Mock Republican National Convention Chairman. As part of his role in coordinating the event, Mr. Van Meter kept a well-organized binder with copious notes, news clips, and promotional material from the convention. Planning for the 1968 event included a trip, along with 1968 MPC Executive Secretary Susan Stapler Kelemen ’68, to Washington DC and Republican National Headquarters. Below are some reflective (and some humorous) passages from his notes.

Larry-Van-Meter-Yearbook

Threats, Counter-Threats, and Sweet-Talking

“Indicative of the prevailing mood which dominated the school in those last few days immediately preceding the convention was the collaring of seventh graders in the halls, the vain pleas for campaign funds, the threats, counter-threats, and sweet-talking as coalitions were formed and then broken. In short, the tone of things at school had come horrendously close to that found in real conventions. As delegates hoped for the victory of their favored candidates, I prayed for a successful convention.”

Promotional Blitz

“Soon, signs began appearing in the halls, rooms were seized for candidate’s headquarters and flags, buttons, and pamphlets began to dot the halls. By Friday it was difficult to find a vacant spot on any floor and everywhere one looked there was a poster saying something like ‘Nixon’s the One’ and ‘We luv the Guv!’ (for Nelson Rockefeller).” 

The Importance of Candy

“Unfortunately, Bowers Candies, with whom we dealt, no longer stocked their colorful cans which had ‘GOPeanut Crunch’ and elephants on them. In 1964, this was sold in sufficient quantities to make the mock convention self-supporting, but since it was unavailable to us, we ordered the regular cans of Peanut Crunch, English Toffee, and Mixed Nuts.”

The Evening Picnic and Parade

There was much more of a festival atmosphere in 1968 as the Mock Political Convention concluded in the evening after a picnic and parade. Some interesting notes:

Errant Leaflets Land in Cemetery1968-MPC-ID

“As the picnic was nearing an end and the paraders were gathering by the green shed, a private plane circled over the school a few times and dropped several bundles of leaflets.  Unfortunately, the bulk of them landed in the cemetery across Main Street.”

 

Rockefeller Wins and “Wild Gyrations” Ensue

“In the end, the apostles of change emerged victorious as Rockefeller won by a vote of 213-157. After the wild gyrations of the winners and the more subdued paroxysms of agony exercised by the losers, we proceeded with the vote for Vice President. Among the V.P. candidates were future President Ronald Reagan, who lost the MFS nomination to Senator Charles Percy.”

 

 

Next: 2016 Mock Primary Election