Politico Magazine: Opinion: Larry Sabato: How Goldwater Changed Campaigns Forever
Not many if any Republicans including Senator Barry Goldwater expected Goldwater to win the 1964 presidential election by defeating President Lyndon Johnson and for Congressional Republicans to do anything in Congress. They were expecting big defeats as it related to both the presidential election and Congress. But that wasn’t what the 1964 general elections were about for Goldwater Republicans Goldwater Conservatives.
1964 to follow-up about what I wrote yesterday, was to create a choice and give Americans a choice in who to vote for. Present a Republican Party that was completely different from the GOP from the 1950s and completely different from the FDR/LBJ progressive Democratic Party. A party that was a lot less government especially federal government oriented. A party that was lot more federalist and more individualistically oriented. That wanted to turn power over to the states and people over their own affairs.
They wanted to create a new party that Conservatives and other right-wingers would feel welcome in. And take power away from the Northeastern Progressives that had been running the GOP and perhaps even make Progressives feel unwanted in the GOP. 1964 wasn’t about winning for Barry Goldwater and other Republicans, but building a winning coalition that could put Republicans back in power in the future. That they simply didn’t have going into the 1964 general elections.
1966 was about Republicans winning right-wing seats in Congress in House districts and Senate seats. So they could become a factor in Congress again and no longer be buried in the minority in Congress. 1968 is when Richard Nixon figured out how Republicans can win back the White House and win more seats in Congress. And 1968 is where we really see the political flip in American politics. Where Southern states look Republican and Northern states look Democratic. But it all started in 1964 and Barry Goldwater deserves a lot of credit for it.