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Before Donald Trump, Wendell L. Willkie Upended the GOP Primary in 1940

The Populist Businessman Known as “The Barefoot Wall Street Lawyer” Took Over His Party’s Convention in Philadelphia

Wendell Willkie, Republican presidential candidate, parades through his hometown, Elwood, Ind., Aug. 17, 1940.  He was en route to a local park where he delivered his acceptance speech as the party's nominee.  (AP Photo/John D. Collins)

By R. Craig Sautter
July 26, 2016

Later this week, the historic nomination of the first female candidate for president by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is sure to generate considerable hoopla. But, as with all U.S. presidential conventions in recent decades, the outcome is already certain.

Such predictability was not always the case. In fact, three-quarters of a century ago, the City of Brotherly Love played host to a very different convention—one whose outcome was so unexpected it became known as …

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