By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural tackle 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 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 time table in a long time. 3 years later, every little thing had replaced. Johnson's approval rankings had plummeted; the liberal consensus was once shattered; the warfare 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 fearful breakdown." The election of 1968 used to be instantly stuck up in a swirl of strong forces, and the 9 males who sought the nation's maximum place of work that yr tried to journey them to victory-or in basic terms continue to exist them. at the Democratic part, 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 percentages. at the Republican facet, 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 celebration. The assassinations of first Martin Luther King, Jr., after which Kennedy looked as if it would push the rustic to the edge of chaos, a chaos mirrored within the Democratic conference in Chicago, a televised horror express. vp 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, 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, 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 components 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
Here he rides a motorcade in New York City. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, US News and World Report Archive. Figure 15: Wallace campaign events in 1968 featured a combustible mix of supporters and detractors. At a rally in Albany, New York, one Wallace opponent holds up a sign declaring “We will never overcome with Wallace,” October 9, 1968. Courtesy of the Associated Press. ■ american maelstrom ■ Figure 16: Nixon’s political coronation at the RNC in Miami Beach featured the intent focus on image-making that became the hallmark of the ’68 campaign.
15 But so too did the long-haired hippies—smoking pot, protesting the war in Vietnam, defying authority, and thumbing their collective noses at long-standing national tenets on sex, marriage, religion, and even language. In April 1968, journalist Bil Gilbert traveled to Millersburg, Pennsylvania, a small town north of Harrisburg, where the residents were largely white and middle and working class. ” Residents there had no direct connection to the traumas of urban America and little interaction with antiwar demonstrators or black militants.
None of them politicians gives a good goddam. All they worry about is the niggers. I’ll tell ya somethin’. ”30 While a fight over resources became central to the backlash of the 1960s, it would be matched if not surpassed by growing fears about personal security. The focus on crime, or “law and order,” as it was often described, has frequently been framed as a blatant political appeal for white voters. In part, this is true. But the fears were also quite real. The period between 1963 and 1968 saw an extraordinary and unprecedented growth in national crime rates.
American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division by Michael A. Cohen