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, one 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 rankings had plummeted; the liberal consensus was once shattered; the warfare in Vietnam splintered the kingdom; and the politics of civil rights had created a fierce white backlash. A record from the nationwide Committee for a good Congress warned of a "national anxious 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 optimum workplace that 12 months tried to trip them to victory-or basically live to tell the tale them. at the Democratic aspect, Eugene McCarthy energized the anti-war flow; 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 part, 1968 observed the vindication of Richard Nixon, who outhustled Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and George Romney, by way of navigating among the conservative and average wings of the Republican occasion. The assassinations of first Martin Luther King, Jr., after which Kennedy looked as if it would 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 releasing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved by means of Nixon who, by means of exploiting department and channeling the nationwide longing for order, may be the final guy status. In American Maelstrom, Michael A. Cohen captures the total 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 publication, equivalent components compelling research and exciting narrative, Cohen takes us to the very resource of our smooth politics of division." -- Publisher's description Read more...
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Extra resources for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
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.
Crime, the street being unsafe, strikes, the trouble with the colored, all this dope-taking, people leaving the churches. It is sort of a breakdown of our standards, the American way of life,” said one woman. There was seemingly no escape—even in Millersburg—from these worrying national trends. ”16 The anger and apprehension in Millersburg could be felt across America. Among black Americans resentment about promises unfulfilled was strong. “ A L o t t a P e o p l e . . A i n ’ t G o n n a P u t U p w i t h I t M u c h L o n g e r ” ■ 2 3 The stifling constraints of 1950s and early 1960s American culture bred rebellion, which drove the beats, then the hippies, and later the larger counterculture.
Into any home, any bar, “ A L o t t a P e o p l e . . A i n ’ t G o n n a P u t U p w i t h I t M u c h L o n g e r ” ■ 2 7 any barber shop and you will find people are not talking about Vietnam or rising prices or prosperity,” noted Illinois congressman Roman Pucinski. ”26 For decades, white voters had relied on local political leaders—and often Democratic Party institutions—to look out for their interests and, above all, to keep the races apart. Many whites would cast a split ballot, for local, conservative quasi-segregationists like Sam Yorty in Los Angeles, Richard Daley in Chicago, or Albert Cobo in Detroit and pro–civil rights senators and congressman at the national level.