The Landslide Election of 1964

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1964 Johnson-Humphrey campaign poster.

1964 Johnson-Humphrey campaign poster. Corbis hide caption

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William Miller and Barry Goldwater.

Left to right, William Miller and Barry Goldwater, 1964 Republican nominees for Vice President and President. Corbis hide caption

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Forty years ago, incumbent Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater in a presidential election that reshaped America's electoral landscape. It was a strange campaign of polar opposites. The Republican Party fought its last rear-guard battle against FDR's New Deal of the 1930s, while the Democrats promised a "Great Society" and a new health program to be called Medicare. The national mood was liberal and the outcome was never in doubt.

But what made the election so unprecedented — and so prophetic — was a party switch that would have seemed unimaginable just four years earlier. As part of his series of essays for All Things Considered, commentator and former CBS-TV news anchor Walter Cronkite recalls the presidential election of 1964.



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