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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 Read more...

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an exhilarating account of the 1968 presidential election and its influence at the subsequent 4 a long time of yank politics Read more...

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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.

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