Kate Scanlon: Barry Goldwater’s Lasting Impact on American Politics


Barry Goldwater Ran 50 Years Ago

Kate Scanlon writes: It was 50 years ago this month that then-Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., suffered one of the most lopsided defeats in the history of presidential elections.

He carried just six states and received only 38 percent of the popular vote. Not only had Democrats worked against him, but many in his own party disavowed him because he was true to his conservative principles.


“The mere idea that ‘Barry might make it’ is enough to give the Establishment the galloping colleywobbles,” wrote the Saturday Evening Post at the time.

And when he lost, the New York Times wrote that Goldwater “not only lost the presidential election yesterday but the conservative cause as well.”


Yet 16 years later, Ronald Reagan, his political heir, won the presidency in a landslide.

He had not lost the conservative cause. Columnist George Will argued that Goldwater “lost 44 states but won the future.”


[Heritage Event: The Barry Goldwater 1964 Campaign 50th Anniversary Forum]

In fact, Lee Edwards, who worked as director of information for the Goldwater campaign and serves as a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, has called Goldwater “the most consequential loser in American politics.”

“Paradoxically, Goldwater’s monumental loss marked the beginning of a shift to the right that would eventually end 50 years of liberal dominance in American politics,” Edwards said.

Goldwater shaped the Republican Party’s positions on limited government, welfare and defense, which would carry the United States into the 21st century. Goldwater revived our constitutional heritage, placing it at the center of popular political discussion when the conservative cause seemed lost. … He insisted that Americans did not have to live under progressivism at home while being threatened by communism abroad.


Then, there was Goldwater’s decision to allow the program at the 1964 Republican convention to include a speech called “A Time for Choosing.”

“Among Goldwater’s other lasting impacts on American politics was his approval of….(read more)

The Daily Signal

4 Comments on “Kate Scanlon: Barry Goldwater’s Lasting Impact on American Politics”

  1. Paul H. Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

  2. […] The Butcher Barry Goldwater Ran 50 Years Ago Kate Scanlon writes: It was 50 years ago this month that then-Sen. […]

  3. […] Kate Scanlon: Barry Goldwater’s Lasting Impact on American Politics (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]

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