This Week in Cynic History:

The October 6th, 1960 issue of The Cynic reports on the Nixon – Kennedy electionBefore the names Nixon and Kennedy had the inescapable associations that they now have, The Cynic’s advertisements consisted of cigarette ads and erasable typewriter paper. According to the Oct. 6, 1960 issue of The Cynic, on September 29th, the then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon paid a visit to the University of Vermont, to campaign for the 1960 election against John F. Kennedy. The article stated that Nixon’s Thursday arrival on campus in 1960 was met by over a thousand UVM students, where he made an impromptu speech on the UVM Green, in addition to the formal one he made at the Memorial Auditorium. Surely many can speculate at what might be the worst days of Nixon’s life (Watergate, anyone?) but his 1960 impromptu speech revealed his best: the day he got a scholarship to Duke medical school and the day he proposed to his wife, according to The Cynic article.What is interesting to note in relation to the coverage of the 1960 election at the University of Vermont is that back then, Vermont was a decidedly red state. Nixon won Vermont in the 1960 election with 58.7% of the vote, not atypical at the time since as of 1960, Vermont had never voted Democratic. Now, as one of the most Democratic states in the country, and the only one that President Bush has never visited, it seems unlikely that this election’s Republican candidate, John McCain will visit UVM.An editorial from the same issue delves further into politics on campus, discussing the increasing political involvement of UVM students – an involvement that still holds true today. On any given day one cannot pass by the memo boards in the Davis Center without seeing at least two or three political flyers.Both the editorial and the article covering Nixon’s visit expressed the importance of electing officials based on qualification over charisma – something that is often discussed in regards to this November’s election (and something of which the 1960 election would not be named as the best example, as Kennedy was known for his charisma). This week in 1960, however, The Cynic editorial had high hopes for such a decision process, saying that it seemed that there seemed to be, among students, “a change to the type of voting that politicians have long urged (and long feared), the vote on issues or stands on issues rather than on party or personality.” Even though the names Nixon and Kennedy have been replaced with McCain and Obama, and the advertisements now consist of Planned Parenthood and the Peace Corps many students today still consider the candidate’s personal stance on issues the major factor in their voting decision. Technology and societal ethics may have changed but voters standards have not.