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Census Points to Continued Republican Strength

2:10 PM, Dec 20, 2010 • By JAY COST
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Kennedy's assassination, the subsequent LBJ candidacy, and Goldwater's terrible performance on the stump meant that this strategy was a total flop in 1964, but it pointed the way toward a more conservative Republican Party that was indeed built on an alliance of the South and the West.  The GOP sweeps of the 1980s along with the Clintonian "New Democrat" pitch meant that this South-West GOP coalition did not fully manifest itself on a presidential level for some time after Goldwater, but George W. Bush's coalition of Southern and Western states nevertheless has its roots in the party's move out of the Northeast in the 1960s.

This is also, I hasten to add, why the Republican Party of today is a conservative one -- why it is a "choice, not an echo." After the smashing political success of the New Deal, prominent Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts could only survive electorally by blurring the distinctions between themselves and the Democrats. This was, broadly speaking, the strategy of every presidential candidate the Republicans ran from 1936 and 1980 -- with the one exception of Goldwater in 1964. His candidacy was an electoral disaster, of course, and ironically it gave LBJ the kind of congressional majority needed to implement the very agenda Goldwater was running against. But in the long run it was the South and the West that gave the Republican Party the ability not only to win, but to win as a conservative political coalition and to offer something more than a "Dime Store New Deal."

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