By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural handle of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the US, one who might finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and reinforced by means of the so-called liberal consensus, financial prosperity, and a powerful wave of nostalgia for his martyred predecessor, John Kennedy, Johnson introduced the main ambitious govt time table in many years. 3 years later, every little thing had replaced. Johnson's approval rankings had plummeted; the liberal consensus used to be shattered; the struggle in Vietnam splintered the country; and the politics of civil rights had created a fierce white backlash. A document from the nationwide Committee for a good Congress warned of a "national anxious breakdown." The election of 1968 used to be instantly stuck up in a swirl of robust forces, and the 9 males who sought the nation's maximum place of work that yr tried to journey them to victory-or simply live on them. at the Democratic aspect, Eugene McCarthy energized the anti-war flow; George Wallace spoke to the working-class white backlash; Robert Kennedy took at the mantle of his slain brother. Entangled in Vietnam, Johnson, stunningly, opted to not run back, scrambling the percentages. at the Republican aspect, 1968 observed the vindication of Richard Nixon, who outhustled Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and George Romney, by way of navigating among the conservative and reasonable wings of the Republican social gathering. The assassinations of first Martin Luther King, Jr., after which Kennedy appeared to push the rustic to the edge of chaos, a chaos mirrored within the Democratic conference in Chicago, a televised horror convey. vice chairman Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, eventually freeing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved by means of Nixon who, by way of exploiting department and channeling the nationwide longing for order, often is the final guy status. In American Maelstrom, Michael A. Cohen captures the total drama of this watershed election, setting up 1968 because the hinge among the decline of political liberalism, the ascendancy of conservative populism, and the increase of anti-government attitudes that proceed to dominate the nation's political discourse. during this sweeping and immersive ebook, equivalent elements compelling research and exciting narrative, Cohen takes us to the very resource of our sleek politics of division." -- Publisher's description Read more...
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Extra resources for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
Figure 19: After the lost month of September 1968, Humphrey’s Salt Lake City speech gave him a burst of momentum that almost took him to the Oval Office. Only weeks before Election Day he rallies Democratic partisans, October 1968. ■ american maelstrom ■ ■ american maelstrom ■ Figure 20: Nixon’s advisors viewed campaign rallies primarily as an opportunity to create visuals for their omnipresent television ads. Courtesy of the National Archives. ■ american maelstrom ■ Figure 21: Nixon adopts a classic Nixonian pose, signalling V for victory.
He “had a smile, a wave, a handshake or a kiss for everyone,” wrote the Washington Post. That night he would become the first president to dance at his own inaugural ball. His festive mood reflected the historic political and personal achievement that was his overwhelming victory in the 1964 presidential election. “Millions and millions of people, each marking my name on their ballot. Each wanted me as their president. 3 His win had been no ordinary triumph. The Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition of urban ethnics, farmers, blacks, and (some, though not all) white southerners united behind him—just as they had done for six of the eight previous presidential elections.
It also provided a political opening for Republicans, and left Democrats skittish. 10 Like at other points in the Johnson presidency, these signs of trouble were pushed to the side. In fact, at virtually the same moment that the reaction to Watts exposed the fragility of the liberal consensus, Johnson ramped up direct American involvement in Southeast Asia, with the announcement that he would be sending 125,000 combat troops to Vietnam. Johnson was playing with political fire both at home and abroad.
American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division by Michael A. Cohen