For Conservative Republicans, Barry Goldwater was an island in a storm

For Conservative Republicans Barry Goldwater the first truly conservative candidate to win the GOP presidential nominations for more than two decades.

In 1940, Wendel Willkie, a former Democrat, won the party’s nomination. The late Edmond Sullivan, who wrote on book on 19th century presidential campaign items, was a socialist. He once told me that Willkie was the best candidate the Republicans ever nominated.

In 1944 and '48 Thomas E. Dewey was from the liberal wing of the party. In 1952, many conservatives thought that Senator Robert Taft would get his chance, but along came Dwight Eisenhower. In 1960 Richard Nixon was a strong anti-communist., but he had many big government positions.

When Goldwater won the nomination in 1964, the liberal Republicans were outraged. Nelson Rockefeller delivered a speech at the convention where he was roundly booed. It was the end of any presidential hopes he might have had.

Goldwater was a frank and honest candidate. You might not have agreed with him, but he always spoke his mind. It was reflected on his campaign buttons. Here are a few of them.

This was line from Goldwater’s acceptance speech.

This was a classic slogan for the Goldwater campaign.

Here was another Goldwater slogan.

But the Democrats came back this one. BTW if you find one of these in decent shape in an old trunk, it’s worth a few hundred dollars.

And there is this classic which was based a TV ad that was run only once. It featured a young girl playing in a field of flowers when a sudden mushroom cloud takes out everything.

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I just want to say that even though we disagree on a lot of politics, I enjoy your historical write-ups and seeing the campaign memorabilia. Thanks for taking the time to put these together.

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I am glad that you enjoy these posts @Gene. I have buttons from the time they started in 1896, and I have tokens from 1824 when Andrew Jackson used them for the first time in a presidential campaign. If there is any presidential race from which you would like to see some items, feel free to ask.

Goldwater resembled Trump from the fact that he often didn’t think about the consequences of the things he said. For example he stated that he would allow the use of “tactical nuclear weapons” if he were elected president. He added to the confusion that about what level of commander in the military would be able to order their use. This was the source of the “mushroom cloud” ad and the button I posted previously.

He also called for the sale of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) electrical generation facility, which is still run by the Federal Government to a private concern. This cost him a lot of support in that area.

Goldwater was one of a minority of senators who voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This marked the start of the “Southern Strategy” which ultimately turned the southern states from blue to red.

Goldwater wrote a number books in his time, and all of them are quite interesting a readable. I was Democrat when Goldwater ran because I was 15 year old high school kid who reflected my parents politics.

If you were to become an opponent of the Viet Nam War, neither Johnson nor Goldwater would have gotten your vote. Goldwater was for expanding it, and Johnson was dishonest about his intentions.

Johnson was pushing his “Great Society” programs, and Goldwater opposed that as one would expect. Here are a couple of Goldwater buttons on the subject.

Johnson got a big boost from the fact that he was John Kennedy’s successor, and the economy was strong at the time with low inflation. His main campaign slogan was “LBJ for the USA” along with “All the way with LBJ.”