Over the past six decades, major-party presidential candidates from Illinois have had more success winning the hearts and minds of Europeans than of Americans.
At least, that's the recollection of Alzina Stone Dale in her new book, When the Postwar World Was New (Tate Publishing).
To Americans, the World War II-era Dwight Eisenhower might be the man agonizing over the decision to invade Normandy. But Dale, who joined other young Americans in a postwar rebuilding effort in Europe, remembers Europeans seeing Ike differently.
"The elites, as we now call them, really resented Ike, remembering him as a MacArthur-like dictator while thinking that [Illinois'] Adlai Stevenson sounded 'like' their leaders, upper-class, clever and cultivated," she writes.
At another point in her memoir set in a war-torn continent, she writes, "It is amusing now to remember how very hard the British and European press pushed Stevenson in 1952, while in 2004 and 2008 I saw many articles about 'Foreigners trying to sway U.S. election like never before.' Nonsense! They worked hard at it in 1952."
President Obama won in 2008, of course, giving Illinois a postwar batting average of .333 (that's counting Ronald Reagan as a candidate from California). But it could have been 1.000 if Europeans, like the dead Chicagoans of legend, could vote.
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