01 Jan 2006

Barry Goldwater’s Legacy


Barry Goldwater

Lee Edwards reflects on the enormous ultimate impact of Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 campaign for the presidency.

Goldwater received less than 39 percent of the popular vote and carried only six states totaling 52 electoral votes in his 1964 campaign for the presidency. Most political observers of the day agreed with James B. Reston of the New York Times that Goldwater “not only lost the presidential election … but the conservative cause as well.”

Because of Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party became the Conservative Party and then the majority party in America. Today, Republicans control the White House, the Congress, more than half of the governorships, and approximately half of the state legislators. “Today practically all Republican candidates proclaim their conservatism, and almost all conservative leaders vow their allegiance to the Republican Party. It has been a remarkably fruitful union.

The union was made possible by the impact of the Goldwater candidacy on the five essential elements of politics–money, organization, candidates, issues, and the media.

2 Feedbacks on "Barry Goldwater’s Legacy"


Somewhere in the multiplicity of universes that quantum physics tells us exist, there are an infinite number better places where Barry won that election. It’s a damned shame he didn’t win in this one.

James R. Ament

Republicans may claim their conservatism but they are hardly so. I think Goldwater would have a few rather direct things to say to current so-called conservative Republicans about their free-spending ways, along with the growth of big government while under their control. Goldwater would be appalled!


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