Monday, June 05, 2017

June 5, 1968: Robert Kennedy shot after winning the California primary

It was a school night.   As I recall, we had finals or something else going on in school the next day.   So my parents told us to shut off the TV and hit the pillow early.

I did catch the 10pm news and specially the baseball scores.

Aside from the California primary, there was a huge baseball story in LA.

The LA Dodgers' Don Drysdale had just pitched another shutout.   He was in the tail end of throwing 58 consecutive scoreless innings.

We didn't have ESPN back then. You had to get information from a lot of places, including the TV news, the newspapers and the weekly The Sporting News.

At 10:30pm, I saw a bulletin that Kennedy was ahead but it was too early to call it.  So I went to sleep.

Our whole family was supporting Nixon in '68. I did not really have a favorite on the Dem side. As I recall back then, there was a lot of talk about how George Wallace's defection from the Dems would impact the election in the fall.

My dad woke us next morning. He mentioned that Robert Kennedy had been shot in LA.   It was a shock. It confused my little sister who said: It was his brother who was killed!

What if RFK had lived? Would he have won the nomination?

Nobody knows for sure. My guess is that RFK would have lost to VP Humphrey in the first ballot.

Why? Sound familiar? VP Humphrey had the delegates. He also had Pres. LB Johnson on his side.

RFK's death was very tragic. It was a terrible moment in a pretty tough political year that included the assassination of Rev. ML King two months before.

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