By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural deal with of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the United States, person who might finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and reinforced through the so-called liberal consensus, fiscal prosperity, and a powerful wave of nostalgia for his martyred predecessor, John Kennedy, Johnson introduced the main ambitious govt schedule in a long time. 3 years later, every little thing had replaced. Johnson's approval scores had plummeted; the liberal consensus was once shattered; the conflict in Vietnam splintered the state; 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 worried breakdown." The election of 1968 was once instantly stuck up in a swirl of strong forces, and the 9 males who sought the nation's optimum place of work that yr tried to journey them to victory-or basically continue to exist them. at the Democratic aspect, Eugene McCarthy energized the anti-war move; 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 chances. at the Republican aspect, 1968 observed the vindication of Richard Nixon, who outhustled Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and George Romney, through navigating among the conservative and average 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. vice chairman Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, ultimately freeing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved by way of Nixon who, by means of exploiting department and channeling the nationwide craving for order, could be the final guy status. In American Maelstrom, Michael A. Cohen captures the entire 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 booklet, equivalent components 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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Additional resources for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
On the Republican side, three candidates challenged Richard Nixon for the nomination that year—Ronald Reagan, George Romney, and Nelson Rockefeller. All three would fall short, in part, because they alienated too many of those in their own party. But in their campaigns—and the political philosophies they represented—we get a clearer sense of the ideological battles in the Republican Party of the late 1960s. In Rockefeller’s and Romney’s demise we see the fall of the moderate wing of the party; and in Reagan’s rise, along with Nixon’s embrace of conservative rhetoric on law and order and race—as well as his courting of southern Republicans—we see the future direction of the GOP.
In foreign policy, the Cold War bipartisan consensus was shattered, as liberals began to voice the first comprehensive critique of American foreign policy since the dawn of the nuclear age. It was the year in which the Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition of labor, blacks, southerners, and white ethnics began its slow multi-year decline. The influence of traditional powerbrokers, like big city mayors and union leaders, also began to wane as Democratic politics took a decided turn to the left. For Republicans, the 1968 election confirmed the party’s shift to the right and the ascendancy of the conservative movement within the GOP.
Less sturdy was his grasp of the nation that he governed. ” He could easily reel off the list of his accomplishments—the money spent, the bills passed, and the people affected by them (a “boxscore mentality” in Sidey’s words)—because he viewed politics in transactional terms in which loyalty and ideology could be bartered away for some parochial benefit. How else can one explain his apparent belief that the North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh could be convinced to give up his dream of a unified Vietnam with the promise of a Tennessee Valley Authority for the Mekong Delta?