Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, 1972

In the summer of 1972, Miami Beach hosted the Democratic and Republican national conventions, the last time one city hosted both conventions. During the four-day Democratic Convention in July, only two people were arrested and two others injured. Four years earlier in Chicago, 680 people were arrested and 1,381 were injured. Rocky Pomerance, the Miami Beach Police Chief, received kudos from Walter Cronkite on down. The Democrats brought a lot of celebrity firepower with them to Florida, with Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine and Henry Fonda making appearances. Although the mood outside the convention center remained relatively peaceful, the party suffered from internal turmoil that led to Senator George McGovern’s acceptance speech being delayed until almost 3 a.m. McGovern, a preacher’s son who promised to end the war, arrived in Miami Beach just short of the delegate vote count needed to win the nomination. Sen. Hubert Humphrey, Gov. George Wallace, and Sen. Edmund Muskie each held out hope that he could deny McGovern a first-ballot victory and win the nomination. But with his 34-year-old campaign manager, Gary Hart, managing the action, McGovern won a floor fight the first day to claim the necessary delegates.


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