tv 1968 - America in Turmoil Conservative Politics CSPAN May 2, 2018 8:01pm-9:32pm EDT
where do they stand. the american presidents in the eyes of voters and historians. matthew dallek, george washington university professor in the graduate school of political management. he is the author of the right moment. ronald reagan's first victory and the decisive turning point in american politics. first, here's richard nixon accepting the republican nomination for president. at the gop national convention in miami beach, august 8, 1968. >> we make history tonight, not for ourselves, but for the agents. the choice we make a 1968 will determine not only the future of america, but the future of peace and freedom in the world for the last third of the 20th century, and the question that we answer tonight, can america meet this great challenge? for a few moments, let us look at america. let us listen to america. to find the answer to that
question. as we look at america, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flames. we hear sirens in the night. we see americans dying on distant battlefields across. we see americans hating each other, fighting each other, killing each other at home. and as we see and hear these things, millions of americans cry out in anguish, did we come all this way for this? did american boys die in normandy and korea and in valley forge for this? listen to the answer to those questions. it is another voice, it is a quiet voice and the turmoil of the shouting. it is the voice of the great majority of americans that have forgotten americans, the non- shutters, the non- demonstrators, they are not racist or sick, they're not guilty of the crime that plagues the land, they are black and they are white, they
are native and foreign, young and old, they work in america's factories, they would america's businesses, they serve in government, they provide most of the soldiers who died to keep us safe. they give drive to the spirit of america, they give lifts to the american dream, they give steel to the back of americans. they are good people. they are distant people. they work and they save and they pay their taxes and they care. by theodore roosevelt, this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless it is a good place for all of us to live in. >> this i say to you tonight is the real voice of america. and this year, 1968, this is the message that will broadcast to americans of the world.
let's never forget that america is a great nation and america is great because their people are great. with winston churchill, we say we have not journeyed all this way, across the sanctuaries come across the oceans, cross the mountains, across the ferries because we are made of sugar candy. american is in trouble today not because her people have sales but because their leaders have failed and what america needs our leaders to match the greatness of her people. >> america in turmoil, 1968, and that was a speech by richard nixon as he accepted his nomination after losing in 1960 and losing his bid for california governor in 1962. joining us here is robert larry, he is the editor of the
american conservative. thank you very much for being with us. matthew from george washington university, graduate school political management associate professor and author of the book, the right moment, ronald reagan's first victory. in order to talk about 1968, i want to go back to 1964. lyndon johnson wins in a landslide. there, goldwater is defeated and many are wondering what is going to happen. what changed between 1964 and 1968? >> well, 1964 was seen freely as the conservative device. a lot of liberals after the goldwater debacle said that conservatives, the extreme right has no home in the center of american politics. but the country changed dramatically as we are going to discuss, vietnam, issues of urban unrest, law and order, and the republican party ultimately with the goldwater
caption the nomination of 64 signaled where the energy at the grassroots of the donor level, ideologically, in the conservative media, where all the energy was flowing and it was flowing to the right of the republican party and that was ultimately the goldwater type conservatives who were on the ascendant and to carried and prevailed for most part and 68. >> a key player was richard nixon of course. he loses the governorship in 1962. that famous speech, you won't have dick nixon to kick around anymore, abc news palaces -- publicist -- that made him look like a victim, correct? >> it made him look like a has- been. that's what they were trying to make him look like there is an old role in american politics. you're not finished until you say are finished. that is, if you say are
finished, you're finished. and nixon come in 1962 and that famous press conference, said he was finished, so he thought that he was finished. but he wasn't and his good friends, who are his backers in california, gave him some great advice. he said get out of california, this is the scene of your demise. go to new york, and you could actually rise back up and that is what he did. he places the name of barry goldwater into nomination in 1964 and then what happened between 64 and 66 that laid the groundwork for his primary campaign in 1968? >> well, he did a brilliant thing when he gave his nominating speech for goldwater. the liberals and the party were resisting goldwater and in doing so, they were resisting the goldwater constituency. and you can't do that in politics. and nixon wisely understood that he couldn't do that, and so he managed to maintain his standings and the party, whereas
-- and percy all relinquished their standing within the party. >> let's talk about nelson rockefeller who was the governor of new york. he was in the race come out of the race, back in the race. what was this all about? >> he had run before, obviously twice, and i think the most important moment to understand in terms of 68 and 64, he got up on the convention stage and used extremism. he used the republican party under goldwater. and he was detested by a conservative. he was seen really as the leading -- the embodiment of moderation in the republican party who was pro-civil rights. he enacted big initiatives and state government, building projects, he wanted to use government as a catalyst, and he refused, and the 60
campaign, to reject the civil rights. he said i got to be true to who i am. so when he announced, he announced after martin luther king was killed, he thought robert kennedy might become the nominee and that he could be the one viable republican who could actually capture the presidency. but again, he misread as he had previously where the party was. the strength of the conservative movement, and he was never much of a force, a threat to richard nixon. >> with the in the wrong party? >> well, certainly, there would be no place for him in the republican party today. and arguably, he claims that he was committed to fiscal discipline. which is in part -- he was more progressive. but he came out of this
northeastern tradition of liberal, of republicans, and had he been, say, in office as a politician and making 70s or 80s, it would be a very easy fit to see him in the democratic party. so in 1964, richard nixon and his age, and i'm paraphrasing, said we republicans, large republicans, but we are all republicans. tactically, what was he doing as he had his eye on 1966 to help the midterm elections and potentially running again in 1968. >> he was trying to thread the needle, you trying to position himself as the person who could bring this fractured party back together. and because he supported goldwater and not go after goldwater as an extremist and because he managed to maintain some relationship or association with the more
liberal elements of his party, he was the one who positioned himself at what is really interesting in 1968 is the extent to which -- they do not quite understand appeared they had already been left behind. and all of those people who kind of thought they could still recapture the party for these extremists do not understand what had hit them. >> and these so-called liberals were safer? the senator from new york, nelson, what was happening in the gop? >> there were remnants. they were certainly there. but ultimately, that battle, i think, had been fought and 1964 and in fact, in 1966, what we see with richard nixon is he is úrepublicans on the right but also in the middle. and he gets a lot of the credit
in 1966 for endorsing and helping republicans pick up dozens of seats in the midterm congressional elections. >> 46 seats. >> 46 seeds, and nixon gets a lot of the credit for that. he is seeing increasingly as an incredible conservative. there is still a lot of skepticism. i do want to play that down. but he sees also where the energy is in the republican party, and the moderates ultimately are the significant minority with the party and if we factor in george wallace, who we have not even talked about, who would ultimately become -- and frankly, in 68, he said there was a threat to nixon and it was from ronald reagan on his right, so
ultimately, the moderates were on the defensive, and again, those battles would be fought and 64 in a 66 and they came out on the losing end, even if ronnie and rockefeller did not necessarily buy into that. >> we are going to talk about governor wallace and a moment. >> x and had an image problem. part of it was from that press conference we talked about, part of it was just elements of his personality that did not go over very well with a great deal of people. he addressed both of those problems and 66. in terms of campaigning for republicans all over america, he was everywhere and he campaigned for liberal republicans, he campaigned for moderate republicans, he campaigned for conservative republicans, and in doing so, he addressed the question of the old nixon versus the new nixon, and time had him on the cover, all the major publications were -- and bay
scripps epting, yes, there is a new nixon for the first enter the race in 1968 was governor george romney and the fall of 1967 he was the first to leave the race in february 1968. what happened? >> i don't think every man graduates from state politics to national politics. i used to cover residential campaigns, and i covered a lot of governors. it is a totally different situation from being governor of state and running for presidency. stuff comes that you, you have to move so fast, you can't make a mistake, the margin of error is very low. he has been brainwashed in vietnam. and made himself a figure and they expressed it pretty well when he said i think probably a light rinse would have been adequate. >> the issue of civil rights, pro-civil rights, after the
1964, 1965 civil voting rights act, the republican party increasingly becomes a party in 68 opposed to mandatory busan, opposed to federal desegregation, argues that the war on poverty, targeting african-americans is a total failure, an example of the government overreaching, and now that is not the only issue but i think it is a central issue and it was really hard to be how romney and the brainwashing gap, not to minimize it but it was hard to see how romney, in the 1968 version of the republican party , being pro-civil rights, how he would emerge as the nominee and he withdrew before any votes were cast, so it was a very short-lived and really ignominious and very ways and is political. >> another candidate whose rise came in 1964 was ronald reagan
as the retired actor, he ran for governor of california 1966, he defeated an incoming democrat and in june 1968, he appeared on cbs's face the nation in which he talked about the state of the republican party and the conservative movement 50 years ago. >> we talk about the convention and the delegates, their estimates ranging from 530%, 30% of goldwater delegates returning this year to miami. do you see yourself as the only hope of the conservatives in the party? they certainly are not going to rally behind rockefeller and maybe not around richard nixon. where else would they have to go? >> as you know, i will go along anymore with using those labels, i have been working for two years to get the party to drop the labels. and we have been very successful with getting them to. there is a difference, a difference and -- and through
the pros. i think you'll find the republican party today is far more willing to see good and other republicans in the interest of unity and in the interest of winning. there is a great desire, we have had our bloodbath and learned our lesson from it. the party was virtually out of existence just a few years ago. and i don't think that you are going to have that problem. i don't think people are going to this convention, and an ideological mold. >> thanks to cbs news, let me ask you about ronald reagan. he was in the race in 1968, but primarily, -- can you explain what his role was, if any? >> so first off, he had just won the governorship of california, that out -- that was his first clinical campaign. so in 1956 he did what richard
nixon cannot do and he beat pat brown in california, so he just stepped into the governor's chair, and then there was this kind of inlet among some of his aides and supporters, especially on the west coast, that camino, this is a rising star, the conservative movement, this is goldwater with a much more electable goldwater. reagan had just gotten into office, and what when, one of his aides said, he did much more work than reagan did in those primaries. they tried to draft him and reagan really only declared himself as a kennedy at the convention itself, in the hopes that they could deprive richard nixon of nomination on a first ballot. so while i think nixon's forces were somewhat concerned that reagan could be a credible threat, nixon had, before reagan even announced at the convention, he had wrapped up
endorsements from barry goldwater, strong sermon, many of the southern conservatives that reagan would have needed to pick off, so it was ultimately -- there was not much of a credible threat to richard nixon as opposed to 1976 where reagan almost unseated him. >> this to the back to earlier point, very strategic move by richard nixon, -- correct? >> there is a reality in american politics, things happen that are perceived as impossible, inconceivable, cannot happen, and the emergence of ronald reagan is one of those things that i soon as they do happen they become commonplace. the election of donald trump, the election of abraham lincoln. you know, when pat brown was running against reagan and he dismissed reagan come and try to make light of him, he said
that he has no experience, he said i never flown airplane, but don't worry, because i've always been really interested in aviation. well, reagan won that election by almost 1 million votes, 900 -- and immediately, he is a major figure in american politics. and 68, he was the stealth candidate. he let his guys basically run him. he picked up 11% in new hampshire, he picked up 22%, maybe, and nebraska. he picked up 20% in oregon and he picked up 100% in california because he was the favorite son. i give him a base going into the convention and the only way , as we just heard, the only way he could possibly get the nomination is denying nixon on the first ballot the nomination. and nixon was not in a great position of strength going into that convention and it was
entirely conceivable that he could have been denied the nomination on the first ballot. he wasn't, largely because of the strong pole. >> robert larry is the editor of the american conservatives and matthew daly, he is the professor at george washington university, 1968, a year in turmoil, this special series a part of six centuries, american history tv, we will get to your phone calls, john and tampa, florida. go ahead, please. >> 1968 was a pivotal year in american history, but in order to understand that year, he had to go backwards in time a long distance and then go forward and time up until now. you cannot comprehend the significance of the events that have led to that year being so pivotal without -- 48 to 65, when the wealthiest americans created income tax rate of over 90%, and yet, you had basically the middle class was stronger than ever. >> your thoughts, robert?
>> i was a senior in college in 1968 and campuses were burning up, and demonstrations were everywhere. and the year before, we had race riots. in urban areas, in which tens of people were killed, and in detroit and newark and other places. the country was -- it was coming apart at the seams. and i think we have to sort of put that context into our discussion a little bit. because that was driving up a lot of what was happening and what was happening was the reaction to that. and nixon was a politician of that year, i and, who understood how to thread that needle, how to position himself as the candidate who is not a radical, who is not an extremist. but who can straddle the various elements of the republican
party and take the party and the nation forward. >> in some ways, ronald reagan's campaign in california was a template for richard nixon. and nixon emphasized primarily the issue of law and order. the idea that the country was unraveling, that the riots in cities, the berkeley protests, the antiwar demonstrations, april 1968, in columbia, university unrest, and nixon was able to kind of hits this theme that the non-shouters, as he called them, the quiet americans, and he was primarily appealing to white middle-class suburbanites, a white working- class, americans that we have got to crackdown and crackdown on the supreme court, justices were too lenient on the politicians who have expectations and have failed
upon the cities. but i think the caller is absolutely right that, you know, we can see 68, and i want to say this but most of the years, but we can say 68 of the kind of pivots. a pivot from this -- the post 1945 american order, where the country are merged really as the lone superpower, untouched by the bombing, the economic growth, you know, the nonstop essentially expansion. the sense of military strength that nobody could challenge. and the sense that there was abundance for all. i think all of these kind of fundamental -- and issues of race and gender, which spilled into the race and 68, all of these things kind of spilled out in that year and of course we are still living in that shadow. >> -- our land for republicans
-- our series, 1968, a year in turmoil, and kevin is joining us from chicago. democrats line, good morning. >> good morning. i am so happy that you are doing this show. what i find is 1968, during 1972, particularly, it is a. that conservatives do not want to talk about. we certainly don't teach about it. it was a total realignment of the parties. and it cannot be discussed in any context. and you can tiptoe around it, what undergirds it are two factors. race and class. and when we look at the decisiveness of today, and what is going on in the current
administration, it is under burdened by 1968 politics. a southern strategy. so i like these conservative writers and thinkers to really explain the realignment of the two parties, the exits of blocks away from republican electoral politics, and the legacy that has on the presidents. and especially going into reagan, because reaganãmike and as a black young man of the times, goldwater, urban communities, that was like saying volta mort. >> thank you for the call. robert, do you want to respond? >> i think that is a very good question to be posing. when lyndon johnson passed that landmark and necessary legislation, civil rights bills, 64 bill, the voting rights bill, 65, he told his
close friends, what i've done is i've just lost for the democratic party and he was right. and it is the next opportunity come after the has been completed, with the american people came together in a presidential election, he had the emergence of george wallace, and george wallace basically went five states down there. and he basically took the south out of the democratic party. with -- where it was this line, who is going to pick it up and/or get it back, or get it. and nixon affected this realignment that the caller is talking about by bringing the south and those wallace voters into the republican party. very controversial at the time. for very good reason. my own view is that ultimately, and it took time, serve to
domesticate sort of racial issues in the south, to an extent that it moderated them. but obviously, there was a backlash to that legislation, and the south was realigned. >> the republican party, the so- called southern strategy that the democratic lock on the south, since the end of reconstruction, so we are talking about a century that that lock was no more and it was nixon -- and wallace, too, was a segregationist. he stood and schoolhouse doors, he defended explicitly segregation, and he ran what i think many historians consider it a racist campaign, where he made -- that was not the only issue that he appealed to, but he did explicit appeals to white voters, both in the south and also in the industrial north, union members, and talked about these hard, as he put it, hard-
working police shop workers and beauticians who were revolting against not just african- american unrest, but also the kind of pointy-headed overeducated elites and it was that sense of a modicum pain that resonates in our politics today, but we do see the republican party today, much of the strength still remains in the south, not just the deep south but also the border states, and that really -- it happened in the 60s, it happened over time, but you do see by the end of the 1968 election, you do see the republican party in the sentence, essentially, in the south, and dominant. >> are the parallels to the george wallace voter in 1968 and the donald trump voter in 2016? >> the caveat, history does not
repeat itself, and it is hard to create these analogies because the issues and 68 were different from the issues today, for example the issue of trade, immigration, but having said that, much of the language, force or example, donald trump actually, as nixon appropriated george wallace's themes in 1968, daughter of explicitly, in his convention address, set and actually did appropriate some of richard nixon's themes in law and order and this notion of american carnage, american crisis, that on the voice, for the forgotten americans, he really use some of that linkage, used some of those ideas and i do think that some of trump's so-called populist appeals, primarily to white voters, i think that there are real echoes in the 68 efforts. >> the governor of alabama, and
washington -- face the nation. >> you were quoted as having observed once the people know the way to stop her right is to hit someone on the head. >> i've said something similar to that. once he goes out and begins to loot and burn a building down, which endangers the health and safety of everybody, that is a good way to stop it. if you have the police now, the police knock somebody in the head, through a plate glass window, who was assaulting a policeman, who was assaulting a person on the street, throwing a fire bomb, i think they would be getting off mighty like if somebody knocked them on the head and frankly that is exactly what ought to be done, and i was president of the united states, i would take whatever was necessary to prevent what happened if we had to order to knock it in the head of many people. and when you do that, you're going to satisfy the majority of people of all races in this
country because it is not a matter of race, it is a matter of anarchy. every group in the united states and as a consequence, we don't have it saved right here in washington dc. >> face the nation, courtesy of cbs. >> he got the 2.5% of the vote in 1968. that is a very significant margin. he held the winter, richard nixon, dental little more than 43%, making him a minority president. he was a very significant figure. he was a significant figure because of his turmoil and because of the issues that were going on in american politics, and three have a realignment, not just in terms of people and the electorate, but also in terms of the issues that we are going to be driving and politics. >> will go to catherine from
mobile, alabama. good morning. >> good morning. i love 1968 until now. i'm older than at least one of you and probably both of you. i would like to say that from 1968 until what i see now is really horrifying. and in 68, what you all are not talking about, is how your party began to break up specifics by using so much dogma and the dogma became the whole deal with the republican party. you are against everyone but what you want done. that is not freedom. we, the females in the south and the minorities do not have voting rights like the rest of you. and we still don't. there are many problems with the gerrymandering and the republican party always saying that they win the vote. cheating is not winning, gentlemen. and if we are going to have fair and reelections, from 68 until now, we must allow all of our population to
speak and be included. >> thank you for the call. >> one thing i will say is that in 1980, ronald reagan goes to mississippi to launch his campaign, and an the place where they were murdered, the words states rights, which is really a code for some of the master resistance of civil rights from the 60s. and there have been efforts, despite the passage of the 1965 voting rights act to suppress the votes of primarily african americans in the south. but ultimately i would say that the republican party has been dominant in the south, primarily because it was overwhelming numbers of the white vote and whites remain a majority in the south, and the democratic party was an
overwhelming majority of african-american votes, so when doug jones, for example, was able to win in alabama, there was a highly unusual coalition that is probably not going to repeat itself, a biracial or cross racial coalition, so i think race really remains a central fault line and it is not just of course in the south, it is around the country, but we do see in 68, the issue of race emerge and flour fully. >> will talk more about the primary and show you richard nixon campaigning in new hampshire but first, byron is joining us from pennsylvania on the republican line. good morning. >> good morning. i would like to make a comment on the reasons why the republican party was able well as the bid in 68. richard nixon did something in
1960 that was quite unusual in politics. you have to remember, he refused to come forward and be a part of the coalition that wanted him to challenge the -- in pennsylvania and also in illinois, and as a result, he lost. if you recall that period of time, then you understand richard nixon a little better. >> roberts. >> is absolutely right. nixon did decline to challenge those. there was some stealing of the votes under the machine. and in doing so, he manifested
a pretty good element of character. i think he also showed some character when he became president, after 1968, and not ever talking about the mess that he had inherited from lyndon johnson. he never said well, look, i'm struggling as donald trump has done, as barack obama did. i'm struggling with what i inherited. he did not do that. in these two instances i think he shows some significance. >> this is richard nixon campaigning in february 1968, in new hampshire, and being interviewed as he is going from one campaign event to another. >> the question is, why do you want to do this? at the gym and killing thing and you've already put served your country. >> that's a question that,
believe me, has occurred to me, too, and it occurs to my family. i suppose that your wife and your children, they feel even more deeply about their father and husband being involved in a great battle that he himself does because the man who is in the battle, he can fight back he, -- he can answer while those in silence had to suffer in silence but on the other hand, the reason that i think perhaps motivates me more than anything else is very simply this >> --. i feel this is the period in history of the united states in which what we do or failed to do can determine the future of peace and freedom and the balance of this century. we did not ask for this. but it is a role that has been placed upon us because of the power that we have and the power in western europe that
previously -- i believe the dangers of world war iii abroad, the dangers of civil war are approaching civil war in a very difficult sense, and other problems are greater than this country has ever had. but after -- on the other hand, i believe that never in our nations history have we have more capability to handle these problems. in other words, the forces that can bring peace, the force of the canaanite america -- can unite america are shorter than they have ever been. leadership will take the great harnessed power. the unfinished business at home in the unfinished business abroad.
>> from 1968, as you look at that, what are you here, what i use ian? -- what are you seeing? what i hear in part is nixon projecting a sense of calm, of confidence, of experience which is of course a dirty word in american politics now and ronald reagan ran against the experience, he ran as a citizen politician in 1966. was able to say that look, i have the wherewithal, i have the metal, i have the toughness to restore the order that has been lost. they talked about a civil war potentially erupting at home. in 1968, it is widely seen and i think rightly so as perhaps the most divisive year in the nation's history since the end of the civil war. nixon confronted that. the other thing i hear, though, is he mentioned vietnam. he mentioned the -- it was really vietnam of course that
destroyed johnson's presidency and i gave nixon and others a major opening. he handled that issue very deftly and that he did not talk much about it. he implied that he had a secret plan to win the peace in vietnam. he said that he would bring a peaceful end, an honorable end to the war there. he was able to offer himself as a solution to this horrible war which is already taken tens of thousands of american lives and without really divulging what it was he was going to do a project that kind of confidence to restore order and restore the country's vicinity in a sense as he was implying there. >> our sears, 1968, america are in turmoil, joining us here in washington is robert merrick, he is the editor of the
american can directive, and matthew dally, who teaches at george washington university and the author of a number of books. rachel is next. good morning. >> good morning. a lot of back and 64, and 70s, when i was under, i'm 62 years old right now, and that is when -- they claimed it separated church and state. then they had abortions for those two decisions relied on supreme court justice. which was made up mostly of republican judges and the independent people -- the independent democrats for this, and it was the judges that made those decisions. back when reagan was in office, another thing, back then i was
20 something years old, when you look to apply for a job, they could give you -- reagan past that. he had that in there, too they can give you a lie detector test and ask if you ever stole anything. you might have stolen something when you were five years old, and that would affect your tests. but eventually they took it out because it was -- and they are always talking about rights. who is taking their rights away. they need to look back at history and figure it out themselves. >> thank you for the call. >> what it evokes really is that richard nixon and other conservatives and wallace, too, they attacked the court, the court for the chief justice earl warren. they argued that the courts have overstepped its bounds, it had interfered an american life, and all these sorts of
ways. the miranda decision, for example, giving too many rights to criminals that the courts were somehow coddling, lawbreakers, and that -- this is where it gets very modern because we hear some of the origins of the arguments that justices are there to interpret the constitution in a strict way, the so-called strict constructionist, and nixon implied that he would employ a justice who would respect the rule of law, who would roll back some of the injustices and a sense committed by the warring courts, and i think it tied into this larger theme of law and order, that while nixon tapped into it. and that was a powerful issue that they were able to use then, and of course, is a huge issue in american politics today and it has been really, ever since. >> the perspective, we talked
about governor george romney, he was the first of only enter the race in 1967, this is what the timeline looks like, november 18 of that year, the offenses took place on january 30, 1968, former vice president richard nixon formally enters the race of the were the first, george romney withdraws on february 28, nixon wins easily in the new hampshire primary on march 12. then president johnson announced on march 31 that he will not decree election, nelson rockefeller, the governor of new york enters the race on april 30, richard nixon accepts the nomination on august 8 of that year, and he is elected as our 37th president on november 5. joining us from maryland, democrats line, good morning. >> good morning, can you hear me, yes. one of the things that i hear when i hear nixon speaking is the thread of what nixon is
beginning to craft, taken along the lines of he can't come out and speak the words, he begins to -- being able to speak the unspoken thing that to the new southern strategy, that cannot be -- they cannot be spoken in a way, but it is spoken by nixon in a way that has been carried out, picked up by ronald reagan, and in the state of how we had to get the crackdown. and those in politics have been kicked up in our politics today, with donald j trump. >> we still hear about the dog whistle politics today. they are very quick. they also have the phenomenon
of political correctness, which is an effort to intimidate people in expressing themselves, so that is all part of american politics, and it is all a question of how the political leaders are going to get those political resources. and move the country forward. >> is a perfect segue into what we want to talk about now, which is the republican convention, meeting in miami beach, florida, this is from the republican platform of 1968, and exert that reads as follows, quote, americans urgently need new leadership that will recapture the control, mastering them rather than permitting them to master us. though not to write that our convention in 1968 can spark a republican resurgence and face the realities of the world in which we live. and matthew, as you hear that platform of 1968, what led to
richard nixon's election of spiro agnew as his running mate? >> nixon, and part to stave off, to hold off ronald reagan's challenge, had to assure, without guaranteeing, but assure conservatives especially in the south that he was going to pick a vice president of candidate who is not romney, not rockefeller, who is not a liberal. because they still did not trust him. agnew had run and 66 as a fairly moderate republican, but he quickly established himself as an anti-radical emblem. somebody who repeatedly attacked protesters, antiwar demonstrators, you know, we heard a talk about anarchists, i think, from george wallace, and agnew would engage in like- minded rhetoric, and the selection of agnew, in a sense, was a shrewd one because it was
consistent with the campaign themes that nixon was going to run on, especially again, this issue of law and order. when i was able agnew is he later on became somewhat known for his attacks, biting and vicious attacks on the media. and that of course is a very modern idea, too, and echoes in our own politics. but nixon had a famously fracture us relationship with the media and he dislike and distrust of the media. his office had -- he was a hard- hitting, kind of attack dog of sorts, and that was the role that nixon wanted him to play.
negotiations. there were guidelines on racial integration. it gets into the whole question of timetables" as and all of that was a very messy difficult issue at that time. the other issue under that rubric was school busing. nixon opposed the school busing. he finessed the first, and gave an assurance on the second, and an absolute assurance on the third. which was the vice president. and that is how we got agnew. >> were going to go to john in washington, d.c. go ahead. >> good morning. i have a simple question to ask both of you ? what a significant role did the republican party play in the voting rights act ? both past
and modern day ? did they embrace the idea of black american voters ? i'm also writing that u.s. recovery act. asking for judicial protection. since we do not have that. since -- >> in 1965 lyndon johnson couldn't have passed that without a strong support from republicans. there were republicans in congress and around the country who supported the voting rights. in 1965 the republican party had a substantial wing. it was pro-civil rights, it was in the midwest and the northeast. in the party was heterogeneous ideologically. but then in
three's short years that position was no longer viable in the national republican party. that's why it was hard for a path for romney or rockefeller. in the southern strategy. the idea that the republican future was going to be through the south. by 1968 we see in the nixon that negotiations, and reagan's victory, we see a party on the issue of race. even though there were some voices, they were in the minority within the party. whether or not you want to call nixon's concessions. against what he would describe
as mandatory busing. that was consistent with the parties view that the federal government had overreached in its effort to enforce these segregation. and ensure the voting rights of all african americans. >> and i make a point ? >> i think it needs to be noted that that legislation landmarked significantly. they passed in were on the bucs. what we are talking about is the fallout, the difficulty of some people in america, particularly in the south in adjusting to that. ultimately they had to adjust, what we are talking about is a process during that period of adjustment. in the difficulty that some people had. and how the political system was going to make its way through that protect -- reticular.. >> daniel your next. >> thank you.
i see the problems of foreign- policy of yesterday and today is quite different. yesterday the soviet union was a problem. and nixon in the republican party were ideally placed to meet that challenge. reagan also met that challenge. the problem today is demographics. if you look at all these countries. they are reproducing very fast. as soon as you win a war they've replenished their numbers. if you look at the demographics you can see they have multiple sons to replenish. so afghanistan can defeat russia united states. my question is this ? accidents of history as you are explaining . the republicans became dependent on the southern state, they're very religious states that oppose abortion, and
liberal values. what you need to do is educate women in these countries to have fewer children and support contraception. do you think the way politics developed has compromised the ability of a republican president to win these public -- conflicts abroad ? >> i do not know. it's hard to say. in 1968 i think it was the bloodiest year of the vietnam war. there is nothing comparable to what we have today. i think it has about half 1 million troops. the war was tearing the country apart. ideologically and on the
streets and campuses. i think that that war, the point of the collar was making was the war transforms to some extent, it pushes the parties into distinct directions. it has made it harder for the united states to sustain wars overseas. the car -- countries can go to war without support. nsync endless blood and treasure into place. that's because of the vietnam shadow that remains. i think one last thought. i think that the country today
there is no appetite for sending thousands of troops overseas to engage in combat. whether it's syria, afghanistan, or a rack. i think the country was also beginning to support the u.s. withdrawal, however it happened. >> let's ask you about another key player. william buckley ? >> buckley emerged as a leading voice of the conservative side. he was a very young man in 1950 when he wrote a book after graduating from yale. he took his alma mater to task for the liberal inclinations. five years later he became the very young editor of a brand-
new magazine called the national review. it emerged as the reading voice of conservatism in america. i knew him a little bit. i ended up corresponding with him in college. i was in a research project at the university of washington. we went and interviewed various members of a commission, i met with henry louis, the founder and chairman of time magazine. i also met a woman who worked on the commission who was a close friend of buckley's. and i corresponded with her.
probably waxing naove about what is going on in american politics. she showed my letter to buckley who promptly wrote me. i knew him over the years. i had lunch with him in new york a few times. anyone knows he was a very charming, funny, amusing fellow. and in 1968 he had emerged on the scene, running as mayor. he had a gag fly campaign that got a lot of attention. very amusing. very famous line. no one thought that he would possibly win. he said he would demand a recount. that kind of a wet brought him forward, and gave him some credibility and stature. especially to the conservative movement that led into the reagan administration.
>> abc news hired buckley to debate the issues of the time. here's an excerpt from one of the programs. >> anybody who believes that these characters are interested in the democratic process, i was of 14 and had a little chat from the voices. it was sheer obscenities and they said that the it commitment we bring is the sure to win. this was their way of accosting american society regarding their brothers and their sisters. there fathers are being shot at by an enemy that we are fighting.
i think it is remarkable that there was restraint shown. without a single wound. and that all of american society >> that's courtesy of abc news. that is buckley talking about the demonstrations going on in chicago >> a national commission laser -- later described it as a police riot. on lee sheen by mayor daley. they beat a demonstrator. there were a handful that were bent on provoking violence. but the majority were peaceful. this is an grant park a
reflection of the antiwar student movement. the feelings of the democratic party had by handing the nomination to johnson. that they had betrayed the hope that the party would become a vehicle for ending the bombing and withdrawing swiftly. u.s. forces out of vietnam. what to say about the buckley clip. you can see how articulate buckley is. he was not only a brilliant publisher. but he was also extraordinarily adept at television a modern communication. the debates that he had there were quite heated. won the documentary said that this is the origin of crossfire , fox news, cnn for today.
that is debatable. but buckley after goldwater's defeat did believe in an increasingly engaging in the political process and endorsed nixon and as he said at one point. i want the most right candidate , the most conservative candidate that can win. there was also a pragmatic streak and how he ran national review. he is the leader of a whole constellation of conservative media voices that was deeply influential. that pragmatic streak was critical. >> the book is called the right moment, ronald reagan's victory. matthew is a professor at george washington university.
as we continue our conversation on 1968. -- american turmoil. ruth is joining us. >> good morning. i think my question has been answered. back when lyndon johnson asked for the civil rights law to be passed. the democrats will not vote for it. the republicans got it voted in , but before that when kennedy took us to vietnam. that was a war i never did understand. but since we were in it, you have to support the united states, no matter what. that's about it. >> thank you ruth. let's turn to robert mary.
>> she is right. as matthew was saying earlier. it took republican votes to get that civil rights act passed it was a democratic president that took us into vietnam. those reflected the ferment that was going on in america. it was a reflection of the state of american politics is in the statement that buckley made regarding the violence that took place at the democratic convention. as matthew noted. there was commission the noted up police riot.
there were millions of americans who didn't believe it was a place right. they believe that it was perpetrated and encouraged and created by the demonstrators therein lay the split. you really have to understand any of this. you have to understand how dramatic that chasm was. >> charles is joining us from miami florida. the democrats line. were on with robert merry and matthew dallek. >> hello. my question is the right man for the right job when nixon read tired he said no more do you have me to kick around.
he had decisions about watergate and about a lot of other things. >> that was from 1962 when he lost that race for governor. >> it was really an attack on the media. he said after losing the pat brown in 1962. you're not going have nixon to kick around anymore. i think that the reason why that moment stuck in part was that it reflected his resentment towards the media. it was a flash of how much he felt under siege by the media. the caller makes an important point. that nixon who is very smart and had vast political strengths.
incredible will and resiliency. i want to over analyze. but it was pretty clear that he had these deep inconsiderate -- insecurities. he was suspicious of the media, of his enemies. the irony is that he went on in 1972 this crushing landside win. he 149 out of 50 states. but he was so desperate to ensure victory that he created the operation that allowed some of these crimes and transgressions to occur in terms of the plumbers in the break-in at the national committee headquarters nixon
was undone by many of his deep- seated insecurities. >> i think it might be worth noting the difference between nixon and reagan. nixon thought that the media was a liberal. and he was right. they were. therefore there to be against me. and he took that very seriously. and he took it personally and he read what they were saying. and he got outraged at the breakfast table. reagan felt the same thing. he thought the media was liberal. and they are not in favor of what i stand for and what i'm trying to accomplish. but he didn't care. he pretty much ignored it. i covered reagan in his campaign and i covered the white house he never seem to pay much attention. he was always cordial. he was very friendly if you are meeting him. and shaking his hand.
but he didn't worry about it. a little bit of that would've gone a long day -- way for nixon. >> on a side note another conversation for another time. your latest book on president mckinley called architect of the american century. we are also taking your questions on c-span 3. the question is which party has changed the most since 1968 ? the vote for more than 24,000 is the democrats have changed the most. 56% for republicans. republicans -- were going to go to tony on the republican line. >> morning gentleman. i was a high school kid in 1968. and in 1972 i voted for the first time. absentee from overseas for richard nixon. i had voted republican since then until 2016 i have noticed
that our party has changed a lot. we have people calling themselves conservatives that do not conserve a thing. i would venture to say that the gentleman in the white house mr. trump . he may as well been a democrat as well as our former president, mr. obama. i believe trump transitioned to the republican party. the point is is the politics is changing and converting. we have people that do not understand that conservative values conserve. you can serve the union, you can serve your physical resources. and you can serve national and
strategic resources. because of politics we get wrapped up into political parties of a right or left. or democrat and republican parties. and we lose the truth. just like we think about the civil war is a war between the north and the south. wars are not started by people. it's inspired by the military. >> thank you for your call 20. >> it's interesting that the caller in 2016 didn't vote republican. trump obviously was a democrat for many years. for to the extent that he had many police. some of it invert the parties. the long-standing support of free trade. trump does spring out of an alternative tradition within the conservative movement. there echoes in george wallace
and richard nixon in terms of how they talk about law and order. when you hear wallace talking about letting the police kick their heads in. this idea of this tough talk, to crack down on those who are breaking rules, a lot of people would say that's racially infused. i think we see that with trump. pat buchanan who ran a campaign against the incumbent president bush was anti-free trade, anti- immigration, he believed international institutions post 1945 that those institutions were eroding american sovereignty. i think that there is an alternative tradition on the right, it hasn't always been
ascended. there are lines that we can draw from trump to the 1960s conservative elements. >> let's turn to the general election in just a moment. but first pamela for marilyn on the democrats line. >> thank you for taking my call. i wanted to say that an earlier caller kevin was absolutely correct about the republican party. how it is motivated by race and class. we see that lee atwater spelled out the southern strategy used in 1960. he said in 1954 that you could say the and word. and in 1968 you cannot say that so saying things like forced busing, civil unrest, and fiscal responsibility. one of the guest said that ronald reagan was electable goldwater. goldwater was a vocal opponent
to segregation and the civil rights act. he one his home state of arizona in five states in the deep south. alabama, georgia, mississippi, south carolina. mississippi does repeat itself. this country has a history of racism and classes in. and if it's left unchecked it's going task they should metastasize. >> that's a widespread view, that i don't agree with. atwater was not significant in regards to the 1968 election. he came later in the 80s. i have to say that i'm in a go back to what i was saying earlier. the country was struggling with these issues, i think we're still struggling with these issues. but in a much different way.
not as intense. and it represents a racial progress. some callers are suggesting there hasn't been any progress. >> the collar pointed out wallace. in terms of the popular vote. nixon one with half 1 million votes. what was the nixon strategy ? >> just try not to talk a whole lot of specifics. didn't really have a plan for how he was going to end the war with peace and honor. wanted to keep the focus on the unrest in the country, and how
he was going to be a voice for the forgotten americans. he turned in his president the silent majority. that included some of the wallace voters. a lot of them went for wallace. the working class, white americans. middle-class suburban individuals. idea that cities and campuses were out of control. an affront to fundamental american values. in the strategy was that he could be in the center. he had wallace far to his right. the democrats including some of the primary candidates making up part of the coalition.
antiwar. of appealing a calm confident candidate. this turned out not to be true. that he could bring the country together. >> you can find all this available on our website cspan.org. >> my question has to do with bobby kennedy. and the tremendous feud that he had with johnson. what you have been in easier candidate for nixon to defeat in 1968 then humphrey ? the way that bobby kennedy has been a -- pretrade.
it was far from inevitable that he would become the democratic nominee and that johnson would've come through. to sabotage him after the convention in chicago ? >> we talked about rockefeller being a hamlet. bonnie was a hammer. he didn't want to lose. he thought going up against a sitting president was going to be too formidable. it fell to mccarthy who was more of a poet to go up against johnson. he didn't get the majority in new hampshire.
he basically knocked johnson out of new hampshire. and that led johnson to get out of the race he ran a dramatic and fascinating campaign. it was an absolutely clear that he was running a campaign that was going get him into a position of winning the nomination or the presidency mccarthy one in oregon, bobby one in nebraska. but coming to the shift in alignment that we have been talking about. he was getting his victories with a narrow base of the democratic party. that could been very bad for
him. >> in the general election there was one speech in salt lake city utah. was at a turning point for humphrey ? did it narrow the race ? >> where he declared himself his own man ? >> humphrey got support from the unions. they started to organize on his behalf. that gave him a bump. then when he declared that he was his own man on the vietnam war. stop the bombing of vietnam , it did help him. it began to close the gap. and as we began to discuss earlier. the popular vote the electorial college vose was a blowout. he wanted big. the popular vote was less than
1%. 43.5 for nixon and 42 for humphrey. one of the reasons he was able to close that gap was due to that speech in the sense he could bring back the supporters. we will never know. it might've been harder for him to have won the nomination, then the general election. he would've had more daylight between the democratic party. because he was an opponent of johnson so the question was could he sustained a coalition of african americans, latinos,
and working-class white voters. around issues of economic justice ? we will never know. that's one of the great what if debates of modern american history. >> it's worth noting that these voters were very restless about where the democratic party was taking the country. my view is going be very difficult for kennedy to pull that off. >> the economy was relatively strong ? but let's go to jerome and columbus ohio. >> good morning. i want to ask quickly about the new political movement that came on the scene in the late 60s, called the real conservative movement ? where did it come from ideologically. and how did it change the influence of the republican party since 1968 ?
>> that's a very significant movement. these were people there were intellectual. very far in the left. they were going to college. they came up through the democratic party. but i think they became disenchanted on foreign-policy. they felt that america was not prosecuting the cold war as aggressively as it should have. and concern about some of the racial quotas and things that were emerging. they began to move towards a conservative point of view. national review had another toil in walking them into the movement. they became very significant.
my view is that they became more significant than what we wanted them to be in terms of their foreign policies. >> our last call from grand prairie texas. >> in 1968 johnson was upset that nixon sabotaged the peace talks. in october 1968 johnson came forward and spoke against nixon . what results would've that had ? thank you very much. >> my view is that's more and big u.s. and historic said given that issue credit. never last it was very incendiary. and it could've blown up. it could've been very detrimental to nixon. >> let's conclude with the nixon's comments. november 1960. >> i saw many signs in this
campaign. some of them not friendly, some very friendly. the one that helps me the most was one that i saw in ohio at the moment it was. it. a small town, five times the population was there in the dust. almost impossible to see. the teenager held up a sign, bring us together. that will be the grade objective of this administration . to bring the american people together. this will be an open administration. open to new ideas, open to men and women of both parties. open to the critics as well as the supporters. we want to bridge the generation gap. the gap between races. we want to bring america together. and i am confident that this task is one that we can
undertake, and one that we will be successful. >> nixon declaring victory in november 1968. as we reflect 50 years later. what's the political legacy ? >> i think the three most significant figures leading to the election of reagan were goldwater, nixon, and william buckley. what nixon did in creating the coalition that ultimately went on to bolster him and we can that landslide, and ultimately the election of reagan was very significant. >> matthew dallek your thoughts ? >> one legacy i think is that the republican party became much more stronger on national defense, pro-military, using
aggressive military power overseas. in the democratic party became more antiwar. the issue of race is central to this discussion. the republican party became the party of white working-class americans. much more than the democrats. it disrupted the roosevelt /johnson coalition. and he became the party opposed to civil rights in most instances. i think on those two fronts. it was for a while. i think those areas domestically and overseas the republican party was able to gain a lock on the lecture -- electorial college.
>> thank you matthew dallek and robert merry. we appreciate your time. live sunday morning on 1958. america in turmoil. we look at the impact of the vietnam war. while the war was fought in the jungles of vietnam. civil disobedience dominated u.s. headlines. joining us to talk about that turbulent time are doug stanton the author of odyssey. the epic battle to survive the vietnam war. and film maker novick. watch 1968 america in turmoil live sunday at 830 eastern. and an american history tv on c-
span three -- 3. up next on real america. california governor ronald reagan appears on cbs face the nation to take questions from journalists. he discusses the 1968 presidential candidates including nixon, nelson rockefeller, and george wallace. he also discusses liberalism and conservatism. student protests, and the assassination of robert kennedy. and what he argues are the failures of democrats in congress and the white house. governor reagan, at the republican governors conference in tulsa. the consensus was that for two days you conducted yourself like a candidate for your parties presidential nomination. do you still maintain that you're not a contender ?