Republicans’ fear of Donald J. Trump’s wild remarks, reminiscent of Goldwater, gives the Arizonian particular currency in today’s Republican presidential campaign in which Trump, a real estate billionaire and former TV reality show host, leads in the polls.
Some of the rhetoric of today’s Republican presidential candidates sound eerily reminiscent of Goldwater’s observations that LBJ was presiding over a nation “not far from the kind of moral decay that brought on the fall of other nations and people.” Goldwater added that it was “time to put conscience back in government.”
The “stop Goldwater” campaign within the Republican Party was narrowly unsuccessful back in 1964. The question of 2016 is whether the “stop Trump” crusades of today will be any more successful.
It’s important to note that Mississippi’s incredibly large presidential vote for Goldwater came prior to the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and has no resemblance to the voter population of today with some 400,000 African-Americans on the voter rolls.