By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural tackle of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the US, person who might finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and strengthened by means of the so-called liberal consensus, monetary prosperity, and a powerful wave of nostalgia for his martyred predecessor, John Kennedy, Johnson introduced the main ambitious executive schedule in a long time. 3 years later, every thing had replaced. Johnson's approval rankings had plummeted; the liberal consensus used to be shattered; the warfare in Vietnam splintered the kingdom; 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 frightened breakdown." The election of 1968 was once instantly stuck up in a swirl of robust forces, and the 9 males who sought the nation's maximum place of work that 12 months tried to experience them to victory-or purely continue to exist them. at the Democratic facet, Eugene McCarthy energized the anti-war circulate; 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 facet, 1968 observed the vindication of Richard Nixon, who outhustled Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and George Romney, through navigating among the conservative and reasonable wings of the Republican celebration. The assassinations of first Martin Luther King, Jr., after which Kennedy appeared to push the rustic to the threshold of chaos, a chaos mirrored within the Democratic conference in Chicago, a televised horror express. vp Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, ultimately releasing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved by way of Nixon who, via exploiting department and channeling the nationwide longing for order, may be the final guy status. In American Maelstrom, Michael A. Cohen captures the complete drama of this watershed election, constructing 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 publication, equivalent elements compelling research and exciting narrative, Cohen takes us to the very resource of our glossy politics of division." -- Publisher's description Read more...
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Extra info for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
Except for the ideologically orthodox who opposed expanded government on principle, few Americans had reason to be against better schools, a helping hand for the poor, and improved access to medical care. It wasn’t as if they were being asked to sacrifice themselves. 6 On June 4, 1965, Johnson delivered the commencement speech at Howard University, the elite, predominately black college in Washington, DC. ” A year earlier, Johnson had pushed through Congress a landmark civil rights bill, which remains his seminal legislative accomplishment, but also the one for which public support had been the most tenuous.
Fearful that any flagging momentum would undermine the cause of reform, Johnson believed that he had to act without delay. 4 This lack of attention to execution would come to haunt Democrats. Neither the federal government nor the states were adequately prepared to carry out such a wide array of initiatives. Establishing hundreds of antipoverty programs—and having them run by often inexperienced practitioners with minimal oversight—ensured there would be a share of high-profile failures that would be used by Johnson’s opponents to delegitimize the entire undertaking.
On Election Day in California, a state Johnson won handily, voters by a two-to-one margin backed Proposition 14, a ballot measure to overturn the Rumford Fair Housing Act, one of the nation’s first legislative remedies for housing discrimination Introduction ■ 3 against blacks. While trounced practically everywhere else, Goldwater, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act, won five southern states—and by wide margins. Indeed, a deeper look at public opinion polling shows that the president’s victory had not been quite as overwhelming as it appeared.