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, 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, 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 state; 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 used to be instantly stuck up in a swirl of robust forces, and the 9 males who sought the nation's maximum place of work that yr tried to journey them to victory-or simply live on 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 chances. 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 average wings of the Republican celebration. 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 convey. vice chairman Hubert Humphrey emerged because the nominee, and, ultimately releasing himself from Johnson's grip, approximately overcame the lead lengthy loved through Nixon who, via exploiting department and channeling the nationwide craving for order, could 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 booklet, 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
They even took annual two-week vacations as they enjoyed the full benefits of membership in the American middle class. The economic anxiety that had defined America in the 1930s and 1940s felt increasingly like a relic of the past. Holding this new era of startling growth and broad social opportunity together was the federal government and its involvement in a wide array of public initiatives, from building new highways and mass transit systems and supporting the growth of suburbs with subsidized housing, to bolstering and protecting American industry, and above all to maintaining and even strengthening the social welfare programs created during FDR’s New Deal.
Establishing hundreds of antipoverty programs—and having them run by often inexperienced practitioners with minimal oversight—ensured there would be a share of high-profile failures that would be used by Johnson’s opponents to delegitimize the entire undertaking. Johnson had failed to build and cultivate the powerful constituencies that would be needed to sustain the programs created. So when the attacks came, blame was affixed to the White House. 5 Those problems, however, would emerge later. Johnson’s efforts would initially be met with great fanfare.
So while Richard Nixon continued the process of social provision begun under Roosevelt, he cloaked it in the language of populist antigovernment and anti-elitist rhetoric. Eventually a crop of real conservatives would replace him, with ideas and plans for dramatically limiting the role of government. While they found an electorate suddenly receptive to their message, their efforts enjoyed limited success—because while Americans applauded the idea of constraining the federal government, they were never quite as happy about the specifics.