By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural handle of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the USA, one who may 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, 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 little thing had replaced. Johnson's approval scores had plummeted; the liberal consensus used to be shattered; the battle in Vietnam splintered the country; and the politics of civil rights had created a fierce white backlash. A document from the nationwide Committee for an efficient 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 workplace that 12 months tried to experience them to victory-or purely live to tell the tale them. at the Democratic facet, 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 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 social gathering. 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 convey. vp Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, eventually freeing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved via Nixon who, through exploiting department and channeling the nationwide longing for order, will be the final guy status. In American Maelstrom, Michael A. Cohen captures the whole 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 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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Additional resources for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
Johnson’s efforts would initially be met with great fanfare. In 1965, according to public opinion polls, support for his legislative program was sky high—82 percent of voters approved Johnson’s Medicare polices; 90 percent supported aid for higher 18 ■ BEFORE education; 95 percent backed the voting rights bill; and 69 percent gave him high marks on his handling of the economy. Even antipoverty legislation was endorsed by nearly three-quarters of Americans. And why not? 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.
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. The number of violent crimes in America more than doubled; robberies jumped by close to 150 percent.
Polling showed Americans increasingly embracing the view that “Washington is getting too powerful for the good of the country” and that the government could not be trusted “to do what is right” most of the time. From 1966 to 1968, trust in government fell sixteen points, from 61 to 45 percent. 17 While the various factors that drove the tumult of the late 1960s would fade from national consciousness, the amorphous anger that many Americans began to feel toward their government hardened. Suspicion of the government became the default position in American politics, leading to the observation years later by the political reporter E.
American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division by Michael A. Cohen