Prologue Magazine

LBJ Fights the White Backlash

The Racial Politics of the 1964 Presidential Campaign

Spring 2001, Vol. 33, No. 1

By Jeremy D. Mayer

© 2001 by Jeremy D. Mayer

"If we have to get elected on civil rights, then we're already defeated . . . unless we can get the campaign on some other basis, why it is just going to be agonizing."
- Lyndon B. Johnson, July 24, 1964(1)

refer to caption

The 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. (NARA, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library)

It was the summer of 1964, and Lyndon Johnson was scared. Having just achieved one of the greatest congressional victories in history by passing the Civil Rights Act (CRA) over the strident objections of his native South, Johnson was now confronted by black riots in several urban centers. He feared that his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, would exploit the racial turmoil by appealing to the white backlash. The riots were even labeled "Goldwater rallies" since the conflagrations helped the GOP so directly. Would racial politics cost LBJ the White House?

Both Johnson and Goldwater would face several tests of their character in the long election season of 1964, tests involving the CRA, urban riots, the George Wallace candidacy, and the white backlash. The election of 1964 is considered by many to be the most racially polarized presidential contest in modern American history. As such, it has been seen as a watershed in the evolution of our two-party system in recent times.2 Yet what has been missed in previous analyses of 1964 is how assiduously both Goldwater and Johnson worked to take race off the agenda. Johnson believed that if the election became a referendum on civil rights, he might lose. Goldwater believed that history would judge him harshly if his campaign blatantly exploited the racial hatred of whites.

Still, despite these efforts, the racial implications of the 1964 campaign would linger for decades. The first Southerner to occupy the White House for more than a hundred years lost the heart of his region, signaling the dawn of an era of Republican dominance of the South in presidential politics. The first man of Jewish descent to run on a major ticket 3 would lead the Republican Party into a monochromatic whiteness from which it has not yet recovered. After 1964, Democrats could take the black vote for granted as the GOP became the party through which whites expressed their unease over black progress. The contest between Johnson and Goldwater shaped American racial politics for the next thirty-six years.

The Setting: 1964 as Johnson's "Given Moment"

As the 1964 election season opened, the contrast with the same period in 1960 could not have been more stark. The 1960 election between Nixon and Kennedy had pitted two advocates of civil rights against each other, but the issue was far from central to American politics. In 1964, race was the dominant issue in domestic politics, as it had not been since Reconstruction.4 The heightened prominence given to civil rights in 1964 was produced by three key factors. First, the direct action tactics of the newly invigorated civil rights movement had, since 1960, focused the attention of the nation on the problems of Jim Crow.5 President Kennedy also helped put race at the center of American politics. The favorite candidate of many segregationists in 1960 had gradually become the greatest presidential rhetorician on race since Lincoln. After two years of delay, 1963 finally saw the Kennedy administration moving forward on integration.6 The white backlash against Kennedy was bitter; a movie marquee in Georgia for Kennedy's PT-109 movie read "See the Japs Almost Get Kennedy."7

Yet neither of these two factors was as important as the decisive role of Lyndon Johnson. Johnson made Kennedy's Civil Rights Act the centerpiece of the slain President's legacy. As one of his key black supporters noted, Johnson had a knack for using the "given moments" to get legislation through Congress.8 Kennedy's sudden martyrdom was one such moment, and Johnson marshaled all of his formidable legislative skill in making the most of it. The CRA, with its broad indictment of discriminatory practices in public accommodations, threatened to alter the entire segregationist social system of the South, as well as the rest of the nation. The immense press coverage of the battle, and the sloganeering on all sides, could not help but produce national attention to the issue of civil rights on the eve of the election.

The Candidates: LBJ

Today, Lyndon Johnson is recognized as one of the greatest proponents of racial equality to ever occupy the Oval Office. Yet his selection as Vice President and his later ascension to the presidency were greeted with great apprehension by a number of leading figures in the civil rights movement.9 As a white Southerner, Johnson faced a credibility problem with many blacks. Despite coaching, Johnson had difficulty pronouncing "Negro" in a way that did not remind listeners of a poisonous homophone.10 His record was, however, very good for a Southern politician in his era. Early in his career, LBJ had been a quiet integrationist as the head of a National Youth Administration program.11 I n Congress, although Johnson often voted against efforts to stop lynching and poll taxes,12 within the context of the South at that time, he was a moderate on civil rights. Once ensconced as majority leader of the Senate, Johnson would shift on civil rights, from moderate opposition to cautious support. Johnson was one of only two Southern senators to refuse to sign the Southern Manifesto in 1956, a high-profile act that began to establish his credentials with national blacks. Johnson guided the passage of the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction in 1957, in the belief that blacks would vote Republican in 1960 unless the Democrats gave them civil rights legislation.13 Johnson also saw personal benefits; he believed throughout his career that if he wished to become a national leader, he would have to leave segregation behind.14

In the 1960 election, Johnson did not cater to regional prejudices. He endorsed civil rights, if vaguely, in nearly every speech in the South. Once in office, Johnson did not alter his course. "Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact."15 Civil rights was one of the few areas in which Johnson exercised much power under JFK.16 I n the first two weeks after the assassination, Johnson established a radically different tone from JFK's first cautious months in office by meeting individually with King and other black leaders.17 He signaled to Congress and the nation that civil rights would be a top priority, and he never wavered in that commitment, even when he faced the rising white backlash of the summer of 1964.18

The Candidates: Barry Goldwater

Growing up in Arizona, Barry Goldwater knew very few African Americans, but nevertheless Goldwater endorsed integration in his family business and the Arizona National Guard, and even joined the NAACP.19 Goldwater believed throughout his life that blacks and whites were equal before the law, and in his major book, The Conscience of A Conservative, he made clear his personal view that the races were equal. However, Goldwater had a narrow definition of what federal civil rights were and what actions the national government could take in their defense. Goldwater's distaste for government would almost always trump his personal belief in racial equality. As one biographer concluded: "Throughout his life, he would accommodate the bigotry of others while personally distancing himself from it."20

After 1960, Goldwater was convinced that Nixon had lost because of his civil rights advocacy, and Goldwater began encouraging his party to peel off Southern whites on the basis of racial politics. In a speech to the Georgia State Republican Party, Goldwater pushed the abandonment of the black vote. "We ought to forget the big cities. We can't out-promise the Democrats. . . . I would like to see our party back up on school integration."21 Yet while he fought federal efforts at school integration, Goldwater also criticized the Justice Department for not prosecuting voting rights violations in the South, because these were federal civil rights.22 Goldwater persistently accused the Democratic Party of either being the party of racism or the party of hypocrisy on race.23

Goldwater, never a racist, would eventually appeal to racism in his run for the White House. Yet before Goldwater won the Republican nomination with a campaign predicated on stealing the segregationist South from the Democrats, an uncomplicated and unabashed racist firebrand would demonstrate that fear, animosity, and resentment of blacks were not limited to the white South.

The Democratic Primaries and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

George Corley Wallace, a segregationist governor of Alabama, had been pondering a race for the White House for some time, hoping to exploit Johnson's leftward tilt on civil rights and other domestic issues. Wallace had been an early fan of Kennedy and supported him in 1956 and 1960.24 By 1963, Wallace was a strident opponent of Kennedy, and had taken office as governor with a ringing endorsement of "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" The speech brought national attention to the young pugilistic governor, and Wallace began hinting that he might run for President.25

Few believed that a vociferous Southern racist would attract Northern votes, even from whites with doubts about civil rights. Yet in Indiana and Wisconsin, Wallace scored extraordinary numbers, receiving over 30 percent of the Democratic vote.26 With the Maryland primary coming up, Johnson worried that Wallace might hurt him greatly. As Johnson put it "Alabama is coming into Maryland, Alabama is going into Indiana."27 Wallace's success at selling the white South's view of race to frightened Northerners would shape much of the 1964 campaign.28 Despite Johnson's efforts, Wallace received 43 percent of the Maryland vote. Moreover, Johnson's narrow victory was only made possible by a doubling in black turnout and by what historian Dan Carter calls "creative vote totals" from Baltimore.29 Wallace eventually dropped out of the race, but his strong showing in three Northern states against a popular incumbent President demonstrated that the white backlash was dangerous to Democrats.

Given Wallace's stunning performance, Johnson might have moderated his stance on the Civil Rights Act. Yet even as Wallace was barnstorming against Johnson, LBJ spoke out in Maryland and Georgia against prejudice and racism. Far from moderating his liberalism in the face of the Wallace challenge, Johnson chose this time to announce his plans for a "Great Society" of equality and opportunity.30 More important, Johnson continued to press Congress for passage of the CRA, refusing to make major changes to co-opt wavering conservatives and Southerners. In a seminal moment in congressional history, a coalition of Northern Democrats and nearly all Republicans defeated a filibuster by Southern Democrats in the Senate on June 10.31 Few Presidents have shown so much courage in the five months before an election.

Goldwater's Nomination Victory: Using Race Against Rockefeller

At the onset of the 1964 primary season, the Republican Party was gravely divided on matters of race. The Republican National Committee attacked the Democrats from the left on civil rights, pointing out that the 1957 and the 1960 civil rights bills were supported by far higher percentages of Republicans. They used old quotes from LBJ's segregationist days to vilify him for either racism or hypocrisy and excoriated Kennedy's delay in desegregating federal housing and in proposing his civil rights bill on accommodations.32 The RNC also studied ways to take the black vote back. Republicans were also, however, expanding their outreach to the South.33 Whatever the practicality of attempting both stratagems simultaneously, the emphasis on minority outreach does suggest that the national Republicans had not yet given up on black Republicans.34

If the Republican Party was somewhat incoherent on civil rights, there was little question where Barry Goldwater stood. As Goldwater emerged as the candidate of an increasingly radical Republican right, the plausibility of his candidacy rested upon his popularity in the South and West. The West would be won on the basis of strident anti-federal government rhetoric, but the Goldwater strategy in the South always relied on the white backlash vote. As a Goldwater adviser said days before Kennedy's assassination, the hope for victory lay in a backlash against civil rights, even though "I hate to win on that basis."35

Goldwater had to contend for the nomination with a number of other party figures, each more liberal on racial equality than he was. Indeed, one of them, Nelson Rockefeller, remained one of the most prominent civil rights proponents in either party, even providing direct financial support to controversial figures like King.36 Goldwater's opposition to civil rights was the key to his victory because he won the South's delegates, the only candidate to win an entire region. Lincoln's party had been the home of the few Southern blacks allowed to vote, and as Goldwater took the nomination, black Republicans became an endangered species. In Georgia, the triumph of the Goldwater supporters at the state convention led to the virtual elimination of blacks from leadership positions.37 In some states, the Goldwaterites were explicitly and unabashedly racist.38 Goldwater, however, continued to argue implausibly that his victory was nonracial.

Just as Johnson faced the test of working for the CRA while fighting off George Wallace, Senator Goldwater was confronted with the bill as he battled his Republican rivals and prepared for the convention. Goldwater, in a moment of high symbolism, cast his vote with the Southern Democrats against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, in opposition to the majority of his own party and against the advice of top Republican leaders.39 It was this vote, more than anything else, that ignited the opposition of the Republican establishment of Rockefeller, Lodge, and Scranton.40 Yet it came too late to spur Goldwater's competitors to unify behind one moderate candidate.

Goldwater made special appeals to Southern Republicans on civil rights and law and order, statements that were designed to play on the white backlash. His speech in May in Columbus, Georgia, reeked of obsequious deference to Jim Crow. Goldwater bemoaned the "distinct cultural loss" caused by federal intervention and centralization.41 The speech had a preface, written especially for a Southern audience, that linked federal civil rights laws to violence in the streets. Goldwater did not limit his backlash themes to the South. In a speech at Madison Square Garden in May, Goldwater proclaimed:

Where are the states which today are witnessing the most violence? . . . the very states where there is the most talk about brotherhood and the very least opportunity for achieving it. I sadly remind you that we are seeing violence today in those very states which are proving that new laws alone are not the answer. There are too many of the old laws which aren't even working!42

Goldwater's rhetoric on race worked in primaries North and South, wherever the white backlash could be found.

By the opening of the Republican convention, Goldwater had the nomination. However, the specter of an independent Wallace candidacy haunted the Goldwater forces. Wallace could end any hope of a Goldwater victory, given Wallace's cross-regional appeal to racists. Ultimately, Wallace did give up all third party aspirations, claiming that he had already succeeded in putting states' rights on the agenda.43 S ince only the Republicans were talking states' rights, they could naturally expect to inherit Wallace's followers.

The decision to put Goldwater atop the ticket did not automatically result in an anti–civil rights platform. A number of prominent figures, including King, spoke to the platform committee advocating a strong civil rights plank.44 The backlash forces could not be as direct in their advocacy. White backlash was "the unspoken watchword of the 1964 convention . . . articulated only occasionally in soft whispers . . . but the presence of the white backlash tactic was felt all last week as the platform committee drafted the weakest Republican civil rights plank in memory."45 The platform drafts indicate how sharply the issue of race was dividing the Republicans. Some called for the repeal of the 1964 CRA; others advocated going beyond it. One idea that made the final draft was a roadmap for future Republican campaigns against racial preferences:

Finally, consistent with its historic opposition to racial discrimination, the Republican Party pledges its equal opposition to the rapidly evolving threats of inverse discrimination. A Republican Administration would oppose the shifting of jobs on the basis of arbitrary racial quotas, and also would oppose the abandonment of neighborhood schools, to meet racial quotas, or Federal pressure to force local authorities to bar children from attending the school nearest their home.46

Even the strong section endorsing voting rights had some plums for conservatives and backlashers since it discussed the dangers of fraud. As was seen first in the 1964 campaign, a national ballot security campaign could become a technique to depress black turnout.47 Overall, while the platform did not call for the revocation of the 1964 CRA and did endorse voting rights for blacks,48 t he differences in tone and content with the Democratic platform was stark. The Republicans clearly hoped to benefit among whites in the North and South on the basis of moderation and caution on civil rights. As the convention closed, Goldwater faced much criticism for the role that the white backlash had played in his victory and in his campaign's plans for November. An editorial warned, "A truly national party cannot afford to be lily white, nor can a truly conservative cause. . . . Goldwater's grave danger, and his party's, is that he or his supporters may be tempted to bid for this ugly and silent vote."49 The truth was, Goldwater had been planning to bid for that ugly vote for at least four years. In the next few weeks, however, Goldwater would demonstrate that there were limits to his willingness to court the backlash.

The Riots of Summer: Goldwater Surprises LBJ

The riots of 1964 have been largely forgotten in the wake of the much greater riots that came after, but for much of the summer, riots were news across the country, particularly in the East. Two weeks after the greatest legislative victory for racial equality since Reconstruction, Harlem erupted in rioting. In the fires and deaths in Harlem, some saw the end of racial liberalism. As Johnson intimate John Connally asked LBJ: "New York, what the hell are they rioting for?" Connally listed all the legislative protections that New York blacks enjoyed, including integrated schools and anti-discrimination laws.50 Johnson's fears of a white backlash, already primed by Wallace's primary challenge, reached a fever pitch at this point. "If they just keep on rioting in Harlem you are going to have unshirted Hell, and you're going to have it in New York, you're going to have the same type of rebellion there, and in Chicago and Iowa . . . this thing runs deep. You're going to see more cross-voting this year."51 It was not just political elites who immediately put urban unrest in the context of the upcoming presidential election. When hundreds of young Italian Americans challenged blacks picketing police headquarters in New York City, many of the whites carried Goldwater signs.52 Johnson called in the top leadership of the civil rights organizations and begged them to stop the riots and to call a moratorium on demonstrations until after the election; most agreed.53 Johnson believed whites were watching closely to see if the administration treated riots by blacks in the North as seriously as white racism in the South.54

At this moment of high tension, Barry Goldwater made a decision starkly at odds with the common perception of his campaign as racist; he offered to come to the White House to discuss the riot crisis. Johnson's initial response was one of grave suspicion. "Nothing good can come of that. . . . He wants to use this forum, he wants to encourage the backlash, that's where his future is, it's not in peace and harmony." So suspicious was the President that he suggested the FBI investigate whether Goldwater or his associates were actually behind the riots.55 " It's not our friends . . . that's going around stirring these things up, and let's leave the impression that he is, without saying so."56

However, when the two men met briefly at the White House, even Johnson was forced to concede that Goldwater gave little evidence of playing to the white backlash:

He came in, just wanted to tell me . . . that he was a half-Jew, and that he didn't want to do anything that would contribute to any riots or disorders or bring about any violence, because of his ancestry he was aware of the problems that existed in that field and he didn't want to say anything that would make them any worse . . . thought he could have used it, I thought their intent was to use the White House as some kind of launching pad.57

In this and other discussions of his brief meeting with Goldwater, the surprise in Johnson's voice is evident, particularly when compared to the suspicion and venom in his earlier discussions of Goldwater's putative motives.58 The two men issued a joint statement to the press, foreswearing the use of the riots for political gain, helping to remove the riots from the campaign discourse.

LBJ Seats the Segs: The Democratic Convention

Now that the Republicans had nominated Goldwater, an easy victory for LBJ seemed inevitable. Johnson, however, continued to worry that racial unrest could damage his chances. Shortly after the riots had subsided, Johnson confronted the potential for racial conflict at the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. Given its close proximity to centers of black population, Johnson was worried about picketing by angry black demonstrators. The spark that could set off the powder keg was the conflict over segregated Southern delegations. "If they have a hundred thousand Negroes up there . . . and they picket this thing . . . and then the convention kicks them [segregationist delegations] out, the impression throughout the country is going to be, well, they just got kicked out because the n——s wanted them kicked out," Connally told the President.59 Both Alabama and Mississippi had run segregated primaries, and SNCC activists had organized a counter-party in Mississippi called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). They demanded seats at the convention as well as the rejection of the segregationist Democrats.60

Johnson had reports from Connally and others that the failure to seat the segregated delegations would have ramifications far beyond those two states. If Alabama and Mississippi are not seated, "all hell will break loose" in South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and other Southern states.61 But Johnson also worried that some Northern delegations would object to the seating of all-white Southern slates.

You got Wagner [mayor of New York] and Daley [mayor of Chicago] . . . and Pat Brown [governor of California], you got about eight big states there, no none of them can go back home having embraced anything about Mississippi or Alabama because it's just fighting language with the people who make up their party . . . they can't go back home and say, "by God . . . I seated these people that have been killing all these other people" . . . [but] we can't go back home if they seat a bunch of n——s.62

Johnson rejected meeting with King to defuse the situation because, as an adviser put it, that would be "an unnecessary affront to a large number of people at this particular time."63 As the convention opened, the conflict over segregated delegations remained unresolved. Johnson enlisted the FBI in a massive surveillance campaign, both to keep outside demonstrators from the convention site and to monitor the progress of the negotiations.64 Johnson had the FBI wiretap the phones of MFDP delegates, King, and Rustin, and followed their strategies carefully.65 In their presentation to the credentials committee, the MFDP scored a public relations victory with the riveting testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer. On national television, Hamer described in vivid detail the murder of Medgar Evers and the brutality she herself had faced in her attempts to vote. So damaging to party unity did Johnson consider Hamer's speech that he chose to interrupt her nationally televised testimony by making "impromptu" remarks to the convention, thus cutting live network coverage of Hamer.66

The MFDP demanded that they be seated, while the Mississippi whites were equally intransigent. Johnson dispatched Hubert Humphrey to negotiate a compromise. Ultimately, the Mississippi segregationists were seated in full, while the MFDP was given two voting seats plus a promise that the 1968 delegations would be integrated. Johnson bent over backwards to accommodate conservative whites but still had to work to sell the compromise to whites as well as to the MFDP's dispirited leadership.67 Johnson was also furious at the pictures of dissension that were featured on all three networks. With his three Oval Office television sets blaring in the background, Johnson demanded that his aide Walter Jenkins stop the black Freedom delegates from taking the seats of the Mississippi regulars.68 He told another aide to do something to get conservative white Democrats on the television instead of complaining liberals like Edith Green and Joe Rauh.69 LBJ had shifted from worrying about the response of liberal Northerners to the seating of segregationists to worrying about the backlash among whites everywhere if angry blacks and their white supporters dominated the convention coverage.

I think the Negroes are going back to Reconstruction period, they're going to set themselves back a hundred years . . . and I'm just trying to get a vice president for them . . . and here these folks go get everybody upset. . . . Hell, the Northerners are more upset . . . they wire me to tell me the Negroes are taking over the country, they're running the White House, they're running the Democratic Party . . . it's not Mississippi and Alabama anymore . . . you're catching hell from Michigan, Ohio, Philadelphia, New York, that nearly every white man in this country would be frightened if he thought the Negroes were going to take him over. . . . We can't ever buy spots that'll equal this. . . . We've got five million budgeted but we can't undo what they've done these past few days.70

Simultaneously, Johnson was also faced with picking a vice president. The plea from South Carolina Democrats to LBJ was typical: "Please, please, anybody but Kennedy or Humphrey."71 Humphrey, perhaps the greatest advocate of civil rights in politics at the time, was anathema to the white South and a hero to the civil rights movement. Johnson dangled the carrot of Humphrey's nomination in front of the MFDP at the convention as a reward if they knuckled under to the compromise and, conversely, threatened them with a less pro-civil rights nominee if they did not agree.72 In the face of the brewing white backlash, Johnson chose one of the few men whose civil rights history could surpass his own recently improved record. As he had with the CRA, Johnson chose to confront the backlash.

The General Election: Johnson's Courage

As Johnson attempted to keep "his" convention from being overtaken by racial tension, he received cheering news of an emerging "frontlash" against Goldwater. By the close of the Democratic Convention, it was clear that Goldwater's stances on Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority, agricultural programs, and most important, nuclear security, were causing record high levels of defections by Republicans. Surveys indicated that for every Democrat who was supporting Goldwater because of civil rights, the Democrats were winning three Republicans on other issues. However, Johnson's claim that the Republicans were losing support because "they don't want  to treat people alike and they don't want to treat all people as Americans" is untenable.73 Reports that crossed his desk at this time indicated that top Democrats felt that civil rights were damaging the party. Governor Buford Ellington of Tennessee wrote to Johnson in August about feelings among Democratic governors.

The so-called backlash . . . does actually exist. . . . People holding jobs with industry and government are afraid they are going to be forced out of jobs to make room for people who are not qualified either by training or experience . . . that white people will be discriminated against in future employment. . . . I find this exists in every state. . . . There is a feeling that law violators are not being apprehended and convicted while they continue to destroy life and property . . . any effort that can be made on the part of the Federal government to change a pattern of Negro thinking that accuses the police of "brutality" for the slightest enforcement of law should be made.74

Throughout the early period of the general election campaign, Johnson maintained an extraordinarily large lead over Goldwater in every national survey. The only potential opportunities open to Goldwater revolved around racial unrest and white backlash. On nearly every other issue of concern, polls showed that Johnson was well ahead. Johnson's approval numbers never dipped far below 70 percent. As pollster Sam Lubell concluded, "The racial issue is the only one that can elect Goldwater."75

Civil rights did contribute to Johnson's support from one group: the black community. A Philip Randolph, the dean of the civil rights leadership, endorsed Johnson, breaking a vow to never support anyone but a Socialist. Similarly, the highest profile leader in the black community, King, campaigned against Goldwater if not for Johnson.76 And Johnson's reception in black areas was euphoric. On his way to Brown University for a speech, Johnson drove through a black section of Providence. Johnson's car was besieged, with onlookers pledging their support and even their love for the President.77 As the election neared, the percentage of blacks who identified as Republicans dropped precipitously, from 23 percent in 1960 to 12 percent in 1964.78 A nationwide survey had trouble finding a single black Goldwater supporter.79

Rather than writing off or catering to the backlash voters in the South, Johnson chose to confront his co-regionalists. Johnson calculated that an appeal to Southern gentility would take the sting off of opposition to black progress and sent his Alabama-born wife, Lady Bird, on a train tour of the South. Even so, Lady Bird faced counter-demonstrators and animosity during her tour, including mocking signs demanding "Black Bird Go Home."80 The tour was to end in New Orleans, after snaking through Virginia and down through the heart of the South. Johnson flew out to meet his wife and give a major address in New Orleans. In planning for his appearance, his aides recommended caution. As a memorandum from one aide noted, the situation in Louisiana was so bad that the major thrust of the Louisiana Democratic Party's campaign against Goldwater was to accuse him of being a closet integrationist. Thus, "the less said about Civil Rights, the better."81 Similarly, Bill Moyers, in a wire to fellow aide Jack Valenti, advised the President to avoid "civil rights" but perhaps mention "constitutional rights" and praise the city for its progress on "settling their problems in the spirit of the golden rule."82 Yet Johnson threw all caution to the wind, and gave perhaps the bluntest address on racial politics ever delivered by an American President. It was the speech of a populist Southerner mourning the sad effects of racism on whites and blacks alike. Rather than listening to those who shouted "N——, n——, n——!" to win elections, LBJ asked white Southerners to recognize their common destiny with Southern blacks.

Now the people that would use us and destroy us first divide us . . . all these years, they have kept their foot on our necks by appealing to our animosities and dividing us. Whatever your views are, we have a Constitution, and we have a Bill of Rights, and we have the Law of the Land, and two-thirds of the Democrats in the Senate voted for it, and three fourths of the Republicans. I signed it, and I am going to enforce it, and I am going to observe it, and I think any man that is worthy of the high office of the President is going to do the same thing. But I am not going to let them build up the hate and try to buy my people by appealing to their prejudice.83

Far from soft-pedaling civil rights, Johnson had traveled to the Deep South to deliver the message that the days of Democratic racism were numbered.84 Would the flag of racial fear be picked up by the opposing party?

Goldwater's Choices: Desperation and Decision

Even before the Republican Convention, Goldwater's chances were seen as dim. The nation was largely at peace and prosperous, and Johnson's lead in the polls was immense. Goldwater was also far to the right of the public on most issues, and the post-assassination glow of Camelot still colored the White House. Years later, Goldwater admitted that his own enthusiasm for the campaign and his hopes of winning were extinguished when John Kennedy was assassinated.

In the general election, race was seen by a number of insiders in the Goldwater camp as the only hope of a desperate campaign. Of all of Johnson's perceived vulnerabilities, an internal memorandum lists only one that could not be spun as a racial issue, the taint of corruption surrounding Johnson. The few other issues that were tilting toward Goldwater were all more or less amenable to a racial characterization in 1964 America: civil rights, juvenile delinquency, welfare cheating, crime and violence generally, and unnecessary government spending.85 As an unnamed analyst for the campaign noted, "There is considerable evidence to show that every time there is violence by Negroes, Goldwater gains supporters."86 One report that looked at the typical nonvoter argued that he might be conflicted between his traditional allegiance to the Democratic Party and "the pull of his prejudice."87 The advice was clear-exploit the backlash.

Yet Goldwater's first move following the convention was to defuse the issue. In contrast to his speeches in the primary blaming unrest on civil rights legislation, he met with the President to remove the riots from the political sphere. Goldwater's campaign missed numerous opportunities to play the race card. The general election campaign's anti-Humphrey pamphlet, for example, failed to attack "Mr. Civil Rights" on racial issues, instead focusing on foreign policy and his alleged advocacy of socialism in America.88 During the general election campaign, Goldwater attacked the Supreme Court for rulings involving morality, federalism, separation of powers, and apportionment, not school desegregation. In his speech in St. Petersburg in September, he did attack the Warren Court, but for coddling criminals.89 In a speech in October in Texas, Goldwater stayed focused on foreign policy and the dangers of communism, except for a brief screed against the court and some mention of law and order.90 Certainly Goldwater's attacks on the court were welcomed by those who saw the court as going too far in protecting minorities. Moreover, crime and law and order were racial codewords for many conservative whites. Yet by contrast, in 1961 Goldwater had attacked the court directly on integration. By the fall of 1964, he was retreating from some of the stridency of his appeals to backlashers.

Goldwater even endorsed the CRA, which had been his highest profile anti-civil rights stance, saying "I will not make civil rights an issue. Let's give this civil rights law a real chance to work. Let's use moral persuasion."91 There are two interpretations of Goldwater's shift. One is that Goldwater had been sincere in his discussions with Johnson and that, as he told the President, he did not want to be remembered by his grandchildren for whipping up racial fears.92 Alternatively, Goldwater was simply becoming subtler, attempting to attack the issue indirectly, knowing that an assault on desegregation would alienate many moderate voters. Those who were anti-black or opposed further civil rights legislation were already likely to vote for him. Perhaps Goldwater had only used race when he needed to solidify his hold on the South and the backlash states in the North during the primaries. Whatever the truth, Goldwater on at least one occasion intervened to stop his campaign from exploiting racial fears. In a long-form film intended for national broadcast, Goldwater's team included inflammatory footage of blacks rioting and looting. While the central theme is not racial unrest but an overall decline in morality, Goldwater deemed the whole film to be "racist" and canceled it, a costly choice for a strapped campaign.93

Goldwater's reluctance to use racial fear-mongering may have also stemmed from Republican leaders who put increasing pressure on him to relent on civil rights. During the convention, Governor William Scranton had penned an angry public letter that attacked Goldwater for his "irresponsibility" on racial matters.94 A number of Republicans were also unhappy that Goldwater did not immediately reject an endorsement from the Grand Dragon of Alabama's KKK. Former President Eisenhower convened a conference of leading Republicans in August, at which Goldwater promised to uphold the existing civil rights laws if elected.95 By the start of the general election season, then, Goldwater had promised two Presidents that he would moderate his rhetoric in areas that touched on race.

Still, much of the campaign staff continued to believe that the white backlash was Goldwater's only chance for victory. Thus his campaign zig-zagged on race, as it did on so many others. In the person of Goldwater's running mate, conservative New York congressman William Miller, these tensions are readily apparent. Miller on national television refused four times to disavow the endorsement of the Klan leader.96 Moreover, it was Miller who in an October speech in Philadelphia drew perhaps the crudest connection between civil rights and civil unrest:

It's all right to send hundreds of FBI agents and US Marshals into Philadelphia, Mississippi, to protect the civil rights of a few people there; but no White House effort is made to protect the property and civil rights of thousands of people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.97

The odious comparison of the murders of SNCC workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi to civil unrest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, could have come straight from George Wallace's mouth. In the same speech, Miller attacked police review boards and denied the very existence of police brutality.

Yet scarcely a month before, Miller attacked Johnson for hypocrisy on civil rights and used his old record of votes on lynching, poll taxes, and segregation against him.98 And it was Miller who wanted to hit LBJ hard on his use of a racist covenant on his Texas property. John Grenier, the Goldwater staffer leading the Southern campaign, opposed using the covenant issue because he felt that the attack would backfire in the South. Finally, Miller went ahead without authorization and raised the covenant in a speech in Texas and then again repeatedly in the closing days of the campaign.99 Johnson's 1945 restricted deed was also the focus of a Republican National Committee press release on September 15. The confusion among Republicans on race was aptly demonstrated when the very next day, the RNC welcomed Senator Strom Thurmond to the party.100 While attacking Johnson for supporting residential segregation twenty years earlier, the GOP welcomed the leading figure in the movement to preserve segregation.

If there was confusion about how to use racial issues at the highest levels of the Republican campaign, there was much less further down. In Southern districts, brochures featuring the worst racial stereotypes and playing to ugly white fears of black progress were endemic. If Goldwater was hesitant in some post-convention speeches to link peaceful demonstrators to violent looters, his campaign showed no such reluctance.101 And these tactics had their desired effect. An Atlanta Constitution columnist observed: "The way things are going now, it's almost dangerous for Democratic candidates for Congress in Georgia not to be for Goldwater or to pronounce the word Negro correctly."102 Perhaps the most cynical exploitation of race was performed by one of the few remaining black Republicans, Clay Claiborne, assistant to the chairman of the RNC for Negro Affairs. Over 1,500,000 leaflets were printed on election eve, urging blacks to write in Martin Luther King instead of voting for Johnson. The campaign, credited to the fictitious "Committee For Negroes in Government," was exposed by King and the media as a hoax before the election.103

In the end, Goldwater's campaign, despite its wavering on civil rights, did articulate a policy that was consistently more conservative and anti-black equality than Johnson's. The contrast between Johnson and Goldwater on race was stark for most voters, particularly blacks and Southern whites. As opposed to 1960, overwhelming majorities of voters saw the two parties as differing sharply on civil rights.104 Did Goldwater's crushing defeat therefore represent a vindication of Johnson's policies on civil rights?

The Meaning of the Landslide

The victory of Lyndon Johnson was one of the great landslides of the twentieth century. Johnson won a stunning majority in the electoral college, and his popular vote margin was nearly a postwar record. Moreover, Goldwater's name at the top of the ticket was poisonous for a number of congressional Republican incumbents and statewide officeholders. The devastation was nearly complete.

Nearly, but not entirely. The one region in which Republicans gained was in the previously solid South. The five states that Goldwater won outside Arizona (Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Louisiana) were the top five states in terms of black population levels. Goldwater's message of racial conservatism carried the day with the white electorate of those states, sometimes by landslide numbers (87 percent in Mississippi). Of the 507 Southern counties that Goldwater carried, 233 had never voted Republican before. The Goldwater effect was present even in parts of the urban ethnic North, if more muted.105 Moreover, while Goldwater was a disaster for most Republicans, of the twenty new Republican members of Congress, nine were from the South, and five were from Alabama alone. Eisenhower and Nixon had won border Southern states like Virginia and Tennessee. Goldwater lost those states while winning the heart of Dixie, the black belt.

There is no explanation for this pattern of success other than race. Goldwater was unpopular on any number of other issues and was a weak, undisciplined, and uncharismatic candidate as well. Wild accusations that Johnson was moving toward a one-world government and unilateral disarmament fit in only too well with Goldwater's inept handling of his supporters among the John Birch Society and the Klan.106 Goldwater's loose comments on nuclear weapons (such as expressing a desire to drop a warhead in the men's room of the Kremlin) were political dynamite and frightened much of the electorate. Even within the Goldwater campaign, there were those who saw their candidate's weaknesses clearly. A Goldwater trip to the South was met with "idolatry" and reactions "wilder than the Beatles would have gotten," but the internal campaign report also notes that Goldwater's oratory was low-key, listless, and sometimes stumbling.107 Goldwater's staff also realized that his radical plan to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority was causing even racist whites to vote for Johnson.108 A Florida editorial urged Southern whites not to support Goldwater even if they agreed with his position on civil rights, because his other positions would have grave economic consequences for the region.109 Goldwater's opposition to most poverty programs, the TVA, aid to education, Social Security, the Rural Electrification Administration, and farm price supports surely cost him votes throughout the South and the nation.

Outside the Deep South, race also did not matter as much as it appeared it would in 1963 and well into the summer of 1964. The cities calmed down from the brief riots of July. The brutal murders of the three civil rights workers, as well as other killings in the South, helped the civil rights movement retain its moral high ground in the public eye. As journalist Theodore White concluded: "Backlash . . . was a midsummer political thunderhead-frightfully black and dangerous as it approached, but then over very quickly."110 Had rioting continued or worsened, there is little doubt that Goldwater would have done much better. In the end, Johnson's assessment that the election had to be about something other than civil rights for him to achieve victory was correct. One thing many Americans agreed with Goldwater about was civil rights. In a July Harris poll, 58 percent of whites feared that blacks might "take over" their jobs, while 43 percent and 38 percent of whites feared black inroads in their neighborhoods and schools respectively.111 For Goldwater, the temptation to make civil rights the dominant issue of his campaign must have been great. Civil rights was one issue that seemed to move Goldwater's crowds during the campaign. When his speeches touched on it, the response was immediate. But for the most part, Goldwater avoided the issue after the convention and instead attempted to convince his audiences to go back to the economic and regulatory system of 1931.112 Goldwater, like Johnson, devoted only one speech entirely to civil rights, and it was far more intellectual than visceral in its approach. Goldwater's decision to put economic and security policy into the foreground, rather than his opposition to civil rights, aided Johnson's effort to have the election revolve around issues other than race.

The results of the 1964 election put the Republican Party at a crossroads. For some, the Johnson landslide demonstrated that civil rights was not just another issue for the party of Lincoln but the preeminent moral issue that would splinter the party if there were "even a hint of appeasement of racists."113 For others, the choice revolved not around principles but the fact of black electoral power:

If the Republicans can do nothing to include the Negroes in their vision of America, they enter any future Presidential race with more than one ninth of the nation locked against them. Their alternatives now are clear-either to try again to divide the Negro vote with the Democrats or accept the Negro vote as permanently hostile and make strategy accepting that hostility and appealing only to whites.114

In 1960 the Republicans made a serious effort for the black vote, and failed. In 1964 they accepted black hostility and tried to win without minorities. The pendulum that had swung quite far toward civil rights in 1960 now had swung far closer to George Wallace, although it never reached his pure anti-black malice. Neither strategy was successful in the short term, but in the ashes of the Goldwater defeat, Richard Nixon and others saw hopes for a Republican renewal, based on peeling off white voters from their Democratic allegiance. One lesson of 1964 for Republicans was that the open racism practiced by Goldwater's Southern supporters must be decried, denied, and denounced. Yet the second lesson of 1964 for the GOP was central to later Republican victories. If racial politics could draw white voters into the camp of a candidate as extreme and unelectable as Barry Goldwater, then it was indeed among the most powerful forces in American politics. What might it do in the hands of a more appealing messenger? By 1968 the political alchemists of the Republican Party had refined a heady mixture of code-worded backlash appeals and surface adherence to racial egalitarianism. Nixon's 1968 and 1972 "Southern Strategy" campaigns were designed to bring in the backlash votes without alarming the rest of the electorate. More recently, the 1988 Bush campaign used the rape of a white woman by a convicted black murderer to encourage white Democrats to vote Republican, an odious campaign that Barry Goldwater would have refused to run on. While 1964 was a tremendous victory for the Democratic Party and for Lyndon Johnson, it was also the election that taught Republicans how to use racial politics to help pave the road to the White House for the next three decades.

Jeremy D. Mayer is an assistant professor of political science at Kalamazoo College. He is the author of Running on Race: Racial Politics in Presidential Campaigns, 1960–2000, forthcoming from Random House.


1. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Carl Sanders, July 24, 1964, 12:30 p.m., Citation #4328, Recordings of Conversations—White House Series, Recordings and Transcripts of Conversations and Meetings, Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Library, Austin, TX.

2. Edward Carmines and James Stimson, Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (1989); Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall, Chain Reaction (1992); Author's interview with David Broder, Dec. 31, 1998, Washington DC.

3. Goldwater was not Jewish, but his father's family was, leading to the comment by Art Buchwald that he'd always known our first Jewish President would be an Episcopalian.

4. "Some Indications of Public Opinion at the Close of 1963," January 1964, Research Division, Republican National Committee, box 3, W Series, Senator Barry M. Goldwater Papers (GP), Arizona Historical Foundation, Hayden Library, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

5. John Lewis with Michael D'Orso, Walking with the Wind (1998); David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1986).

6. The sterling rhetoric and strong action on civil rights that characterized Kennedy in his last year also served to ameliorate some of the tension between the White House and the civil rights community. Kennedy had broken his promise to integrate public housing on his first day in office, and had appointed racist judges in the South. See Andrew Young, oral history, June 18, 1970, p. 3, LBJ Library. Had Kennedy been assassinated in November of 1962, he would be remembered as an equivocator on civil rights.

7. Peter O'Donnell, Jr., "Progress Report #2" Letter to Goldwater state chairmen, Sept. 23, 1963, box 8, W Series, GP.

8. A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Oct. 7, 1976, oral history, p. 20, LBJ Library.

9. Bayard Rustin, June 17, 1969, oral history, LBJ Library; Lewis, Walking with the Wind; Higginbotham oral history, LBJ Library; James Farmer, October 1969 oral history, LBJ Library.

10. Robert Caro, Means of Ascent (1990) pp. xvii–xviii.

11. Caro, The Path to Power (1982), p. 364.

12. Harry McPherson, A Political Education (1972) pp. 143–144.

13. Ibid., pp. 144–145.

14. Ibid., pp. 142–143; author's interview with Merle Black, Oct. 12, 1999, Kalamazoo, MI.

15. Vaughn Davis Bornet, The Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1983), pp. 96–97.

16. Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976); Jeff Shesol, Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade (1997), pp. 85–87.

17. Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point (1971), p. 29.

18. Yet so deep was the distrust among certain liberals of Johnson's shift on civil rights that a popular joke extending well into his presidency had him shouting "n——" at midnight in the middle of nowhere to release his allegedly pent-up racism (Kearns, American Dream, p. 230).

19. Edwin McDowell, "Goldwater: A Portrait in Words and Pictures," Human Events, Vol. 22, Jan. 25, 1964; Gilbert A. Harrison, "Way Out West: An Interim Report on Barry Goldwater," New Republic, Nov. 23, 1963.

20. Robert Alan Goldberg, Barry Goldwater (1995), p. 34

21. George S. McMillan, "GOP Muffing Some Good Chances in the South," Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1961, p. E1.

22. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, p. 154.

23. Barry M. Goldwater, "The GOP Invades the South," Saturday Evening Post, 1963.

24. George C. Wallace, June 17, 1969, oral history, p. 5, LBJ Library.

25. Dan Carter, The Politics of Rage (1995), p. 200.

26. Theodore White, The Making of the President: 1964 (1965) pp. 223–224.

27. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Hubert Humphrey, May 13, 1964, 7:25 p.m., Citation #3450, Recordings of Conversations—White House Series—Recordings and Transcripts of Conversations and Meetings, LBJ Library.

28. So worried was the White House that they prepared four different DNC press releases on the eve of the Maryland primary—one for Wallace scoring under 30%, between 30–40%, between 40–50%, and one for the nightmare scenario of Wallace winning a majority of the vote. "Statement of John M. Bailey," Aug. 2, 1964, box 40, Moyers Files, LBJ Library.

29. Carter, The Politics of Rage, p. 214.

30. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964 (1965), 1: 357.

31. That a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the CRA bill in both the House and the Senate is a fact that even top scholars have forgotten. In a recent article on race politics, Virginia Sapiro and David Canon attribute passage to a Democratic Congress defeating Republican opposition. Given that Republican leaders marshaled more of their troops to vote for Johnson's bill than Humphrey was able to on the other side, this is unsustainable even as rhetoric. So deafening was the symbolism of Goldwater's anti-CRA vote that it has drowned out the fact that congressional Republicans were more pro-civil rights than the Democrats. (Virginia Sapiro and David T. Canon, "Race, Gender, and the Clinton Presidency" in Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman, eds., The Clinton Legacy (1999), p. 171).

32. RNC "FACT Book," 1964 Campaign, W Series, box 4, GP.

33. Karl A. Lamb, "Under One Roof: Barry Goldwater's Campaign Staff" (unpubl. ms., n.d.), 1964 Campaign, series W, box 8, pp. 18–30, GP.

34. The most offensive example of a fawning attempt to appeal to African Americans was certainly an RNC pamphlet entitled Who is George Lewis? The text and photographs show blacks happily laboring at the nerve center of Republicanism. The implication is that blacks hold positions of high responsibility within the RNC, but the star of the pamphlet is the head of the library, scarcely a policy position. Other featured blacks direct the printing operations and work as secretaries. The complete absence of blacks as committee members or elected officials is not mentioned. A more transparent effort at tokenism can scarcely be imagined.

35. Harrison, "Way Out West."

36. White, Making of the President, pp. 74–75.

37. Associated Press, "Goldwater Forces Take Control of State GOP," Macon Telegraph News, p. 1, May 3, 1964.

38. Edsall and Edsall, Chain Reaction, p. 43

39. Carter, Politics of Rage, p. 218.

40. Author's interview with David Broder, Dec. 31, 1998, Washington DC.

41. "Speech by Barry Goldwater, Columbus, GA May 1," 1964, box 1, W Series, GP.

42. Goldwater, "National Goldwater Rally, Madison Square Garden, New York," May 13, 1964, box 1, W Series, GP.

43. Carter, Politics of Rage, pp. 220–222.

44. "Text of Remarks by Henry Cabot Lodge, Committee on Resolutions," San Francisco, July 8, 1964, and Nelson Rockefeller, "Statement to Platform Committee," San Francisco, July 7, 1964, both in box 7, W Series, GP; Garrow, Bearing the Cross, pp. 339–340.

45. Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, "The White Man's Party," Washington Post, July 15, 1964.

46. The Democratic platform echoed that sentiment, in less fulsome language. "True Democracy of opportunity will not be served by establishing quotas based on the same false distinctions we seek to erase, nor can the effects of prejudice be neutralized by the expedient of preferential practices." "Laird Group File," box 7, W Series, GP.

47. Given the extraordinary irregularities in the 1960 election, it should have been expected that the Republicans would recruit poll watchers and seek to combat vote fraud. However, overzealous ballot security focusing on black areas can be interpreted as a move to keep blacks from voting.

48. "The 1964 Republican Platform, Point by Point Comment, Domestic Issues," July 16, 1964, Office Files of Bill Moyers, box 112, LBJ Library.

49. "Backlash Vote is GOP Pitfall," LIFE Magazine, July 24, 1964, p. 4.

50. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and John Connally, July 23, 1964, 5:31 p.m., Citation #4322, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

51. Ibid., Citation #4323.

52. White, Making of the President, p. 235.

53. Lewis, Walking with the Wind, pp. 276 - 277; White, Making of the President, p. 236; Kearns, American Dream, p. 192.

54. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and George Reedy, July 20, 1964, 7:40 p.m., Citation #4286, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

55. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Connally, July 23, 1964, 5:31 p.m., Citation #4320, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

56. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Reedy, July 20, 1964, 7:40 p.m., Citation #4286, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

57. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Nicholas Katzenbach, July 25, 1964, 10:15 a.m., Citation #4337 - 4339, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

58. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Robert McNamara, July 24, 1964, 5:56 p.m., Citation #4333, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

59. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Connally, July 23, 1964, 5:31 p.m., Citation #4322, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

60. Lewis, Walking with the Wind, pp. 277–282.

61. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Connally, July 23, 1964, 5:31 p.m., Citation #4320, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

62. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Carl Sanders, July 24, 1964, 12:30 p.m., Citation #4328, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

63. Lee C. White to LBJ, Aug. 12, 1964, Executive and General Series, PL 1/ST box 81, LBJ Library.

64. White, Making of the President, p. 236; Deke De Loach to LBJ, Aug. 19, 1964, Executive and General Series PL 1/ST, box 81, LBJ Library; White to LBJ, Aug. 19, 1964, Executive and General Series PL 1/ST, box 81, LBJ Library.

65. Lewis, Walking in the Wind, p. 281.

66. Ibid., p. 280.

67. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and James Eastland, Aug. 25, 1964, 7:45 p.m., Citation #5193, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

68. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Walter Jenkins, Aug. 25, 1964, 9:33 p.m., Citation #5210, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

69. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Bill Moyers, Aug. 25, 1964, 9:30 p.m., Citation #5208, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

70. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Walter Reuther, Aug. 24, 1964, 8:25 p.m., Citation #5165, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

71. Recording of Telephone Conversation between LBJ and Connally, July 23, 1964, 5:31 p.m., Citation #4320, Recordings of Telephone Conversations—White House Series, LBJ Library.

72. Lewis, Walking in the Wind, p. 280.

73. "Remarks of the President Before the National Democratic Committee, Atlantic City, NJ," Aug. 28, 1964, box 21, Moyers Files, LBJ Library.

74. Buford Ellington to LBJ, Aug. 10, 1964, box 77, Confidential Files, LBJ Library.

75. Johnson, Vantage Point, p. 109.

76. Bayard Rustin, June 17, 1969, oral history, and Andrew Young, June 18, 1970, oral history, LBJ Library.

77. Johnson, Vantage Point, pp. 105–106.

78. T. W. Benham, "1964 Presidential Campaign Base Survey," Opinion Research Corporation, August, box 4, W Series, GP.

79. Bornet, Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson, p. 115.

80. Jan Jarboe Russell, "Lady Bird Flies South," George, August 1999, p. 89.

81. Frank Givney to LBJ, "New Orleans Speech," n.d., 1964, box 125, Confidential Files, LBJ Library.

82. Bill Moyers to Jack Valenti, Oct. 9, 1964, box 125, Confidential Files, LBJ Library.

83. "Remarks of the President at a Dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Jung Hotel," New Orleans, Oct. 9, 1964, box 125, Confidential Files, LBJ Library.

84. Johnson did soft-pedal civil rights on occasion, as with his delicate treatment of Southern delegations at the convention. A similar event occurred in the closing weeks of the 1964 campaign; King won the Nobel Peace Prize, but Johnson failed to send congratulations, though many foreign leaders did. King believed that Johnson was trying to avoid offending white Southern sensibilities (Garrow, Bearing the Cross, p. 357).

85. "Strategy Analysis of Campaign Survey," n.d., box 4, W Series, GP; "Midwest Poll Results," Aug. 28, 1964, box 4, W Series, GP; Benham, "1964 Presidential Campaign Base Survey," GP.

86. "Illinois," n.d., box 4, W Series, GP.

87. "Characteristics of the 'non-voter,'" Sept. 1, 1964, box 4, W Series, GP.

88. "HHH Notebook," Sept. 24, 1964, Republican National Committee, box 2, W Series, GP.

89. "Speech in St. Petersburg, September 15," 1964, box 5, W Series, GP.

90. "Speech in Houston," Oct. 15, 1964, box 5, W Series, GP.

91. "Statement in Phoenix, July 18th, 1964," box 21, Moyers Files, LBJ Library.

92. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, p. 215.

93. "Choice," 1964 Campaign Video, GP; Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, p. 231.

94. William Scranton to Goldwater, July 12, 1964, box 8, W Series, GP.

95. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, p. 220.

96. "Statement of John M. Bailey," Aug. 2, 1964, box 40, Moyers Files, LBJ Library. Creel's statement certainly merited opprobrium from Miller or Goldwater: "I like Barry Goldwater. I believe what he believes in. I think the same way he thinks." Creel went on to add that he hated "N——ism, Catholicism, Judaism."

97. William E. Miller, "Speech to Pennsylvania Union League Club," Oct. 13, 1964, box 5, W Series, GP.

98. "Address of Honorable William E. Miller, Wilmington Delaware," Sept. 19, 1964, box 5, W Series, GP.

99. Lamb, "Under One Roof," p. 69, GP.

100. "Miller Hits Restrictive Clause in Johnson Land Sale," Sept. 15, 1964, Republican National Committee Press Release, Austin, TX; "GOP Chairman Says Party Welcomes Sen. Thurmond Because 'He Practices His Principles,'" Sept. 16, 1964, both in box 5, W Series, GP.

101. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, pp. 217–219.

102. "Georgia," n.d., box 3, W Series, GP.

103. "Write in Drive For Dr. King is Attributed to Official of GOP," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nov. 3, 1964; Garrow, Bearing the Cross, p. 358.

104. Edsall and Edsall, Chain Reaction, p. 35.

105. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, p. 235.

106. "Repudiation Notebook," Sept. 24, 1964, Republican National Committee, Washington, DC, box 2, W Series, GP.

107. Dick Thompson to Pam Rymer, n.d., "The Goldwater Tour of the South," box 3, W Series, GP.

108. "Tennessee," n.d., box 3, W Series, GP.

109. "Editorial," Aug. 11, 1964, St. Petersburg Times.

110. White, Making of the President, pp. 233–234.

111. Goldberg, Barry Goldwater, pp. 196-197.

112. White, Making of the President, p. 328.

113. Stephen Hess and David Broder, The Republican Establishment (1967), pp. 401–403.

114. White, Making of the President, p. 383.


Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.