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 via 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 battle in Vietnam splintered the state; 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 trip them to victory-or in simple terms continue to exist them. at the Democratic aspect, Eugene McCarthy energized the anti-war circulation; 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, via 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 edge of chaos, a chaos mirrored within the Democratic conference in Chicago, a televised horror exhibit. vp Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, ultimately releasing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved through Nixon who, through exploiting department and channeling the nationwide craving for order, may 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 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 resources for American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of division
Yet, with the same fervor with which he had passed his domestic policy agenda, Johnson charged ahead on civil rights. At Howard, Johnson offered a corrective to those who saw the passage of civil rights legislation as the end of the black struggle in America. Rather, it represented the end of the beginning. ” It was not enough “to open the gates of opportunity. ”7 Johnson was now staking the future of his Great Society, his presidency, and his party on improving the lives of black Americans. While a noble and “ A L o t t a P e o p l e .
Welfare queens driving Cadillacs, “law and order,” Willie Horton, “white hands,” and “Sister Souljah”—all would become the catchwords of racial politics, post-1968. Fears of social change would be reduced to static debates between “traditional family values” on one side and permissiveness, the “homosexual agenda,” “abortion on demand,” and “radical feminism” (among other alleged ills) on the other. On economic policy, the liberal consensus would be replaced by calls for lower taxes, reduced regulation, and less government spending.
Each of us must find a way to advance the purpose of the Nation, thus finding new purpose for ourselves. ”10 For all of Johnson’s soaring rhetoric and the heady tone of harmony that resounded in the nation’s capital, America’s path looked very different than the one described by its president. That inauguration day would be a high-water mark for liberalism, never again to be matched in the lifetimes of those who gathered to hear Johnson speak. In reality, the tectonic plates of American politics had already begun to shift, almost imperceptibly, toward head-on collision.