The assassination of Jack Kennedy was tragic in so many ways for so many people and a big reason for it was, because of how talented President Kennedy was as a President as well as a man. But just as political junky from my perspective, one of the reasons why his death was so tragic, was because of what could’ve been. As far how the 1964 presidential election would’ve look and it would’ve probably affected the Congressional elections as well. Because I believe and we will never have anyway of knowing this that a Goldwater-Kennedy election would’ve been much closer. After President Kennedy was assassinated most of the country turned to Lyndon Johnson to be their President to full-fill President Kennedy’s agenda. Which is a big reason why Richard Nixon didn’t run for President in 1964 and waited till 1968. But I believe the 1964 presidential election had it been between Goldwater and Kennedy, would’ve been a great presidential election. I think Kennedy would’ve still won though.
But with Senator Barry Goldwater, you would’ve had a presidential candidate representing classical conservatism about as well as it could be represented. And to a certain extent I believe he did that anyway in 1964. Running against President Johnson despite losing in a landslide where I believe he won less than 40% of the vote and lost around forty states. But managed to win Southern states that were owned by the Democratic Party. And then you would’ve had President Jack Kennedy on the left, a liberal hero of mine, representing liberalism as well as it could be represented. And I believe we would’ve seen great debates across the country. As they were apparently already talking about doing in as early as 1962, I believe from what I would’ve heard. And they would’ve been great debates, on civil rights. The President being in favor of the civil rights bills that President Johnson got through Congress.
Senator Goldwater had a different approach. Medicare which was a bill that President Kennedy tried to push through Congress. Senator Goldwater would’ve wanted a different bill with more competition for senior citizens. Cuba with Fidel Castro and how we try to deal with that Communist Republic. There would’ve been a lot of great issues that these great men would’ve debated in 1964. The assassination of President Jack Kennedy was tragic on many levels, but from a perspective of a political junky, it was tragic for the country as well. Because they were left with one less great general election. With President Kennedy running a tough race to get reelected and Senator Goldwater giving him a run for his money. A Goldwater-Kennedy presidential election, would have been a great classic battle, between the Center-Right and the growing conservative movement. Against Center-Left Liberals, who are called New Democrats today. But we’ll never know.