Describe the rise of conservative movement as seen in the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater (1964) and the election of Richard M. Nixon

Nixon utilized the same strategy that Barry Goldwater attempted to use but could not institute correctly due to his racist background. Nixon used the Southern Strategy to appeal to the white vote by not going for civil rights, but still appealing to other voters by not publicly saying anything against civil rights. Nixon ended up having an easy win over Hubert Humphrey through this strategy that gave him the big, high electoral vote, southern states while not taking the rest of the states votes away from him. He started the rise of the conservative Republican party, and made the party dominant compared to the crippled democratic party for a number of years. Although a smart strategy, his strategy was very morally wrong and many historians looking back on it view Nixon as a political skunk due to it. Nixon also used his strategy of Vietnamization to appeal to those against the Vietnam war, while still carrying on the not backing down policy conservatives wanted to see.


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Nixon’s southern strategy can be seen as the main component to his victory in the presidential race. It can be viewed as immoral today, but at the time it worked. It helped him gain the southern vote he needed. It can also be viewed as the rise of the dominant conservative party for a short period in history. Nixon’s election strategy was an intelligent combination of what everyone wanted to hear, which got him elected.



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