By Michael A. Cohen
"In his presidential inaugural tackle of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the US, person 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 govt time table 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 warfare in Vietnam splintered the kingdom; 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 anxious 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 optimum place of work that 12 months tried to experience them to victory-or only live on 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 means of navigating among the conservative and reasonable wings of the Republican get together. The assassinations of first Martin Luther King, Jr., after which Kennedy appeared to push the rustic to the edge 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 releasing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved by means of Nixon who, by way of exploiting department and channeling the nationwide longing 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 publication, 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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Extra info for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
Over the next two years, with the political wind at his back and an unshakable congressional majority in his pocket, he would steamroll through Congress the single most ambitious set of domestic initiatives since the New Deal. National challenges were identified, political obstacles overcome, and legislation drafted. Out of the congressional meat grinder emerged Lyndon Johnson’s vision for a Great Society. 3 Practically every American received some benefit. There was expanded public education, from elementary and secondary to college and university; “ A L o t t a P e o p l e .
So, for example, Americans would repeatedly endorse the position that federal spending should be cut, but not if it meant cutting Social Security, Medicare, defense spending, student loans, money for police, roads, schools, even programs that helped poor people heat their homes. Indeed, the only area where a majority of Americans generally support spending cuts is foreign aid—and largely because they tend to overestimate how much of the budget is directed to it. This would become the fundamental divergence in American politics: between the electorate’s ideological views about the role of government and their operational interest—reinforced at the ballot box—in maintaining a robust welfare state that served their interests.
He felt “carefree” and “zestful,” according to the New York Times. He “had a smile, a wave, a handshake or a kiss for everyone,” wrote the Washington Post. That night he would become the first president to dance at his own inaugural ball. His festive mood reflected the historic political and personal achievement that was his overwhelming victory in the 1964 presidential election. “Millions and millions of people, each marking my name on their ballot. Each wanted me as their president. 3 His win had been no ordinary triumph.