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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 Read more...

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an exhilarating account of the 1968 presidential election and its influence at the subsequent 4 a long time of yankee politics Read more...

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Sample text

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?

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