Skip to main content

tv   1968 Presidential Election  CSPAN  May 13, 2017 7:57pm-9:08pm EDT

7:57 pm
by a request from one of the organizations, the foundations that house their collections with us. we have a deal with them that they are benefited at the archive center by an independent operating foundation. we are not appended to any of these foundations. one thing they get from us is a very high level of service for an in-house research service. sometimes that will drive it. often anniversary projects will drive it. i am a co-author of with other people is part of a series that the rockefeller foundation put out in honor of its centennial in 2013. sometimes it is driven by the donor organizations themselves. sometimes it is driven by an external interest. we maintain a really strong professional association with other scholars. places like the oah. sometimes we all get together and have an idea, like, let's look at foundation funding for scholars during times of war or
7:58 pm
political unrest. that we pulled together a conference, and more people than just me are doing research and papers that come from a number of different perspectives. it kind of goes back and forth. a lot of it works like scholarship would work in a university. a lot of it works a little more likean in-house, something the congressional record service, where your donor institution calls up and said, we really need to know about this from the time. can you tell us more? reporter: thanks for speaking with us. barbara: next for having me. announcer: you are watching "american history tv," all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. join the conversation, like us on facebook. sunday night on "afterwards," physician and journalist elisabeth rosenthal examines the business side of health care in her book "an american sickness, how health-care became big business,
7:59 pm
and how you can take it back." dr. rosenthal is interviewed by dr. david blumenthal of the commonwealth fund. reporter: i was wondering if your book gave you any thoughts about whether health care is a free market. whether we can solve our problems in health care through free-market forces. >> i think what we have seen is the answer is probably not. , i putinning of the book a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of the economic rules of the dysfunctional health care market. asyou think of health care purely a business proposition that the market will solve, you at too crazy places like lifetime of treason is preferable to a cure -- a lifetime of treatment is preferable to a cure. that is where market forces put you right now. announcer: watch "afterwards"
8:00 pm
sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. on "lectures in history," university of washington professor margaret '' mara teaches a class about the 1960 election and the outcome -- the 1968 election and the outcome. she also describes month by month events that led up to the election like student protests, the rise of the black power movement, and the assassinations of martin luther king jr. and robert kennedy. her class is about an hour and 10 minutes. margaret: let's get started. welcome. 1968,we are talking about a year when a heck of a lot happened, including a presidential election. a year where there were a lot of
8:01 pm
social, economic, political parallels that are in some ways familiar to us now because, in part, some of the changes the y 21st century america alan thicke has experience were set to motion in this period -- america has experienced were set in motion in this period. i'd like to start with this news conference to the american people. march 31, 1968. president lyndon johnson gave a televised address to the nation. 's subject was the vietnam war. -- his subject but was the vietnam war. had escalated to a bloody conflict of over half a million american soldiers. what started as a small engagement against the communist aggression in southeast asia in the 1950's had escalated into a major conflict that was tearing america part.
8:02 pm
-- america apart. johnson gives a speech about the war. he looks tired. he looks old. the glare of the television lights did not help matters. at the very end, he lands this bombshell. because of the importance of resolving the war in vietnam and peace talks were already ongoing with the north vietnamese, he says "i do not believe i should devote an hour a day of my time to any personal partisan causes. accordingly, i shall not seek and will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president." so how did we get here? how did lyndon johnson, who had been elected in a landslide victory less than four years earlier, get to the point where he is deciding not to run again for reelection because he doesn't think -- not only does
8:03 pm
he not think he is going to win, he doesn't think he is going to get his party's nomination -- how does this happen? this is a hard scenario to imagine. when johnson was first running for president in 1968 -- in 1964. it was also hard to imagine given johnson's administration's role in a broader role in mainstream liberalism in 20th-century america, liberalism ties in with progressive ideas about progress in technology. ideas that animated things like the 1939 world's fair, the futurama exhibit, and some of the other things we have talked about in this class. the idea that big organizations and new technology, big corporations and big government can bring good things about. that america is getting better and better, and that experts are the ones who can give the
8:04 pm
answers for where america goes next. that having expertise, whether it be the expert engineers at general motors envisioning the city of the future in the futurama exhibit in 1939, or be yet the architects of things like the marshall plan, rebuilding europe and japan after world war ii, or the engineers of nasa who are building the rockets to send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960's. in bigtimism and faith organizations and the technology is starting to break down. the thing that breaks down that face more than anything else is the war in vietnam. this is hard to imagine what her years earlier. -- four years earlier. in the 64, johnson's opponent was barry goldwater, the republican senator of arizona, and someone from the far right of the republican party.
8:05 pm
the mainstream of the republican party in the early 1960's and before was not that far removed from the democrats. certainly there were lots of issues on which they differed, but this general understanding that progress was possible, that expertise was valuable, that you needed big organizations to get -- even though dwight eisenhower warned the american people in his farewell address about the growing military-industrial complex and the scientists who no longer knew how to innovate because they were on a government paycheck -- he surrounded himself with scientists and understood the importance of these large organizations to conduct the business of the united states. republicansts and are part of this broader postwar consensus about what the role of the government does, the importance of people with
8:06 pm
expertise in charge, and goldwater is someone who comes out of right field. although he was a sitting andtor, he was a politician seasoned and experienced politician, someone with a very firm and clear ideology conservative libertarian. today we would call him more of a libertarian. he was a great believer in freedom of every kind. individual freedom and freedom from communism. he was the ultimate anti-communist crusader, following in the footsteps of people like richard nixon. someone who seizes the nomination for the republican party from more moderate possibilities. he is quite a hardliner. johnson very successfully runs against him as someone who is out of touch with the mainstream of politics. someone who is way too conservative for america.
8:07 pm
someone who doesn't have america's interest at heart. someone who should not be trusted with having their finger on the nuclear but because he might just pop off at any minute. -- nonetheless, goldwater despite the fact a lot of the experts and establishment were very worried about goldwater -- he had a lot of grassroots support, particularly among young people. maybe not this young, although i had to throw this picture up as i love this picture. he galvanized an incredible grassroots support from teenagers, housewives, people who are not part of the political establishment. a lot of people in the sun belt community of southern california and arizona and the southwest who believe that america was on the wrong path. they were worried about influence in public schools and local governments,
8:08 pm
and the age of mccarthy was over, but there was still a lot of people worried about the same things that joe mccarthy had been warning america about a decade before. but the democrats rule the day. johnson and the democrats run a campaign that is successful not just in bringing -- building enthusiasm among the liberal in theon that started age of fronting roosevelt with white working-class voters from the north and midwest and african-american voters, but also to successfully paint goldwater as an extremist, as someone who cannot be trusted. the electoral map in 1964 was a landslide victory for the democrats. what is interesting, goldwater doesn't win very much.
8:09 pm
he was from the state of arizona , but he takes states that had for solidly blue democratic decades and decades. -- thehe deep south electoral votes of the deep south go for barry goldwater. y? because of civil rights. this was after the civil rights act signed into law by johnson, something the whites of the deep a great betrayal of their state rights and their way of life by the federal government. goldwater is a states rights guy. he is a believer in freedom. he is a believer in as little government intrusion as possible, including in the business of the south. thesee of that, you have states going red in the south for the first time, but hardly the last time. 1968, fast-forward.
8:10 pm
victorys electoral enables him to get major pieces of social legislation passed in the wake of 1964 to advance his antipoverty agenda that was his and john f. kennedy's, to pass programs of what he called "the great society," occluding the centerpieces of medicare and medicaid, major social programs of health insurance for the elderly and lower income people. and a whole host of other antipoverty programs, job creation programs, and enlargement of the mystic side of the government. oversees as also this enlargement of the military side of the government because of the war in vietnam. he overseas this massive escalation of the conflict. it is ironic because when he comes into office, he is very
8:11 pm
conflicted about it. this is kennedy's war. this is not something -- from andget go, and we hear this the tapes of johnson's phone conversations that he had with friends and colleagues from the knowoffice saying, i don't how we are going to get out of this, but we can't just pull out. soing is not an option -- when losing a war is not an option -- look at world war ii. only a couple of decades in the rearview mirror, this great american victory. for america to lose a war, to pull out of a conflict in a small, less developed country, to not being to win that were, ,hat would be a terrible blow and a cold war blow, because this was a proxy war for american democracy versus soviet communism. vietnam is one of those dominoes in the middle.
8:12 pm
so he escalates. by 1968, the escalation has been quite massive. that ishe things propelling it is now that there are men being drafted. as the war escalates, you need to draft more young men in the military. you need more soldiers. the draft is instituted in the run up to world war ii by roosevelt. altar't -- we now have an -- and all volunteer military, but we did not then. the escalation of vietnam means the escalation of those being called up in the draft. during the nearly 10 years of heavy involvement in the war, a total of 11 point evan million served in the art -- 11.7 million served in the armed forces. overall, of the entire 18 to 25 population, it is a little over
8:13 pm
1/4 of the population drafted up. of the tract,y the fact that every young man has to register for it, makes it a possibility and probability for everyone -- at the peak of the draft, 340 cap americans are -- 345 americans are drafted. 1/3 20-year-old men were enlisted. it is something that you cannot get exempted from.
8:14 pm
even though some people are more easily able to dodge it than others. the draft increases the antiwar case. coming into 1968, there is incredible antipathy about vietnam, and a very vibrant antiwar movement. 1968e early days of towards the end of january, there is a north vietnamese assault on south vietnamese strongholds, including cities, that changes the disability of andwar and amps up pressure antiwar sentiment beyond those two are getting drafted. on a the emmys holiday and the beginning of -- on a vietnamese
8:15 pm
1968, there isy an attack that the johnson administration didn't see coming. they go to the major cities with three weeks of attacks. over 12,000 civilians are killed. millions of refugees are created. it has a huge toll on the north vietnamese. many more than south vietnamese or american soldiers. ultimately, the american forces prevail. it is not a win. the north vietnamese push back. this type of a coordinated attack is something the johnson administration did not predict was going to happen. they were saying there is no way the north vietnamese has the power to do this kind of thing, and they also don't have that there is no way they are going
8:16 pm
to prevail. -- there is no way they are going to prevail. because it was in the cities, the fighting was going on in the range of television cameras. is where all the foreign correspondents were located. so the fighting is beamed from the streets and cities of vietnam back to the united states, and becomes much more visible. when it was guerrilla warfare in the jungles and hamlets, it is hard to see. actually seeing this warfare correct on the streets of vietnam's major cities changes the dynamic. movement which has at its core these young college students vulnerable to the draft , and that institutions where they have time on their hands to protest and a platform to get people to listen to them, starts
8:17 pm
to expand. it becomes a more broad-based youth movement. is enabled in part by the fact there are so many young people. another reason vietnam becomes such a political flashpoint is demographics. it is the baby boom. it is a new generation of young people. that male and female is termed man of the year by time magazine in early 1967. they start to be understood by their elders as this new generation that is not only large and numbers, but care more about social justice and geopolitical issues than their previous generations did. iny are intensely engaged many of them in rectifying injustices in the world and increasingly starting to talk about vietnam alongside civil rights and other home in injustices at home.
8:18 pm
there's a different sort of politics then we see an earlier civil rights movements, which are about fighting for consumer-based citizenship. by withholding your buying power to get what you want, by using the front of respectability and good behavior as a way to commence people to go along with is the way-- this political protest has been conducted for quite some time in the united states well before the 1950's. this new generation has different tactics. johnson,kly, lyndon the person who thinks, these people should be my people, my supporters, very soon they turn on lbj. lbj is the war criminal. lbj is the person responsible for this debacle in vietnam. lbj is the person sending people there. vietnam gradually starts to take
8:19 pm
over everything else that johnson is trying to do. it starts taking over fiscally because it is eating up a giant chunk of the budget. the generouso have antipoverty programs and welfare programs of the great society and the big spending of an increasingly expensive war. it also is eroding political support. by the time you come into 1968, it isn't just the kids out on the street. there are other people protesting for peace. there are other people who are either out of the street or sitting in their living room watching the tet offensive unfold on the television and wondering what is going on. that somehow things are going wrong. the scope and scale of the war and the sneak attack of the tet offensive -- something where the u.s. backed troops eventually
8:20 pm
prevail, but something that goes against what the leaders in washington have been telling the american public about how the war is going -- it is showing a very different war than what the leaders in washington are saying , that everything is going fine and they are deescalate, etc. the moment that really turns the tide politically, or maybe is the final straw that breaks the camel's back, is when the person who is the arbiter of how americans understand the news of the day, someone who is seen as a trusted source -- not fake news, but real, serious news -- walter cronkite, the veteran cbs reporter who has reported extensively from vietnam, who now sits at the anchor desk, is the person who told america that john f. kennedy had been shot and killed.
8:21 pm
he is the person who later informs america of the moon landing. he is the person who is delivering the news of the day to millions of american households. have watched the network nightly news in the last month? ok, there are a few of you. network, not cable. network. point topeople make a watch it every day? no hands. one-handed, all right. but you probably know walter cronkite. [laughter] is where news came from. it is not like we have all tuned out from the news. how many people consulted a new source of the last 24 hours? is not like you are tuning out. you are probably tuning in to more news than you want to get.
8:22 pm
we have too many places to find it. but then walter cronkite or the two other anchors with the nightly news sat down and you got 30 minutes of what to think. on february 28, cronkite ends his broadcast with a three-minute speech about the war in vietnam. he looks at the camera, reads from a script, looks up at the viewer sitting in their living it seems now more certain than ever than the bloody experience of vietnam is to end in a stalemate. to say we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of evidence the optimists who have been wrong in the past. to say we are mired in stalemate and unsatisfactory conclusion. on the off chance the political analysts are right, and the next few months we must test the enemies intentions before negotiations. but it is an increasingly clear
8:23 pm
to this reporter that the only rational way out will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people lived up to their pledge to defend democracy and the best it could." so while all of this is playing out, there is a presidential election going on. 1967, a groupof of young, left-leaning democrats have started a dump johnson movement determined to find someone else to run for the democratic nomination. ofy cast about for a number potential candidates, landing first on trying to persuade robert kennedy, the brother of the former president, now senator from new york. he says he is not interested. after going through and looking at a few short list, they finally come to the senior
8:24 pm
senator from minnesota, eugene mccarthy. gene mccarthy was an unlikely person to run for president. was fond of quoting poetry on the floor of the senate. he didn't have a lot of friends in the senate. referred toolleague him as "the most intelligent man and the senate, and that wasn't a complement." [laughter] he was seen as kind of a cold fish, standoffish. to intellectual for his them good. -- for his him good. -- for his own good. he was not a liberal softy. inwas someone who believed vigorous intervention to stop the spread of communism. he was someone who was on the side of, initially, the house un-american activities committee.
8:25 pm
he was not an uber liberal guy, but it was increasingly clear to as thed particularly escalation increased in 1966 and 1977 -- 1967, that the war in vietnam was untenable and needed to end. so he joins the race in november 1967 as the antiwar candidate. support,a huge deal of and by early 1968, he is running very strong and the ramp-up to the new hampshire primary, which then was in early march. the new hampshire primary mccarthy does not win, but he gets over 40% of the vote. johnson, moment when who realizes that this fringe antiwar candidate who was obscure is someone who could potentially be a major challenger, and also that
8:26 pm
antiwar sentiment is running so strong that it is not wise for him to run for reelection. mccarthy -- as mccarthy's campaign gained steam and a lot of the energy of the campaign -- thesem young people young college people who join -- who care more about the war in vietnam than any other issue, and who have their first experience in organized politics by jumping on this support of the mccarthy campaign. they are encouraged by campaign organizers to get clean for jean, meaning cut your hair, shave your beard, where tiny close, don't look like a long-haired young hippie. make yourself look like a clean scrubbed campaign worker as a way to increase the support for mccarthy beyond just young people in their college store room.
8:27 pm
-- college dorm room. as the mccarthy campaign gains steam and it becomes clearer and clearer that johnson and his vice president hubert humphrey, who would be another possible nominee for the 1968 democratic nomination, that they are increasingly hobbled by the war in vietnam. robert kennedy reconsiders his idea about not getting any race. march, too late to actually get formally on the ballot for wisconsin primary he is a significant writing candidate and on the ballot for later primaries going forward, kennedy johnson. -- kennedy jumps in. point, the supporters of gene mccarthy who might have
8:28 pm
been inclined to support kennedy now tiedr before have themselves to gene mccarthy, and they see kennedy as this johnny-come-lately jumping on the bandwagon once it gets going. among the diehard mccarthy supporters, there is a great dislike of bobby kennedy. era's homemade sign in iowa at a campaign rally in the spring of 1968 supporting mccarthy. handwritten in marker on the post is "bobby go home." you are either with gene mccarthy or with bobby kennedy. and kennedy and mccarthy did not like each other very much, either. morethy, place with a far telegenic, finance, and likable opponent, he says such things
8:29 pm
like, he played touch football, but i play football. kennedy was extremely good at calibrating himself to be the large rural -- the larger cultural zeitgeist, reaching out not just to college students, of of whom -- nearly all whom were white, but reaching up to a multiracial coalition of democratic voters, people who had fond memories and loyalties , and torother john these other members of working-class roosevelt coalition to build support around his candidacy. by the end of march, you have johnson realizing that it is just untenable for him to stay in, saying he is getting out. but it just gets more crazy from their. death that had been all that happened in 1968, that would be enough of a story.
8:30 pm
beenhere is -- if that had all that had happened in 1968, that would be enough of a story. including the assassination of 1968. luther king in transforms, a moment that rocks all of the coverociety, that is devoted to on life magazine, a major photojournalistic magazine of the day. but also has effects on the civilr contours of the rights movement. the civil rights movement as we know is already changing and already has many different civil rights movements and ideas about the way to affect racial justice and civil justice. but the aftermath of the king
8:31 pm
e.mpaign is a violenc in washington dc, civil riot breakout. there have already been a number riots indisorders, predominantly black neighborhoods in large cities. some before that, 1967. the economic and political frustration for black communities overflows after king's assassination as well. robert kennedy has an immediate -- a sort of example of his mastery of the political moment and also his heed in understanding to the broader questions of 1968 that extend beyond vietnam. they go beyond the white college
8:32 pm
rooms, quite frankly. as the news came through the wire on april 4, he was in indianapolis campaigning during the indiana primary, and he gives this improv do speech. news has come that dr. king has been killed. he breaks the news to the crowd around him, a majority minority crowd. he says this is the time -- i too had a brother, i lost a brother to this sort of violence. he gives this very eloquent impromptu speech, and there is not disorder or fire in indianapolis that evening. whether bobby kennedy gets credit for that is a different matter, but nonetheless, it was an example of this mastery of politics and his ability to reach out to a broader coalition , an ability that makes many people feel the ultimately would have been successful had he lived to become the nominee and
8:33 pm
the major party candidate in november 1968. but the king assassination also shifts -- there were other things dr. king has started to build that continue, including the poor people's campaign, which was another focus on the moving away from voting rights and desegregation of the south, more broad-based economic justice. the month after king's assassination, the march on washington, the poor people's march on washington that he is organizing and planning, that continued. and it follows the summer of 1968 by other marches in other cities and other marches on washington where the calls for justice have become more multiracial or you have signs in spanish. you have white people, hispanic people, african american people. it is more focused around economic issues, around the
8:34 pm
broader injustices that are not just southern problems, that are everywhere. there are new voices in the civil rights movement as well. nonviolentent coordinated committee chair -- remember we talked about this person in previous lectures, a southern civil rights organizer, one of the students who is a leader of the student-led civil rights movement of the early 1960's by the middle of the 1960's, some of the student leaders are shifting their focus and message, and that includes stokely carmichael, the chair from mississippi. 1967, 1968, the language of civil rights has not been about, let us sit at your lunch counter. let us participate in a broader white society, but one that is strongly separates test --
8:35 pm
is aatist, africanist, and message of black nationalism. they said we can't let white society weight to get its act together. so much changes necessary for justice to be achieved we have got to do it. we have got to do it -- this peaceful nonviolent means will not be the only way to do it. so here is an example. carmichael brings an example of leaders ofne of many the black nationalist movement in the late 1960's. activists who are coming out of the civil rights movement in who arees, people articulating a reality that nonviolence has only gotten us so far, voting rights can only get you so many things. here he is talking in berkeley in the early 1968, at a rally that is to support free cueing
8:36 pm
newton, a member of the black panther party who was imprisoned on murder charges after the killing of a white policeman outside oakland. and the jailing, the mix of jailing and framing -- it becomes a great cause of the black power movement and other allies, white and black, on the left. so they put thousands of miles of water between us, but they forgot blood is sicker than water. we are an african people with african ideology. we will build in this country well there -- there will be no country. different type of articulation of african-american civil rights and is also accompanied with a more militant stance, visually militant and politically militant, and the
8:37 pm
presentation of the black power activists is very different than the civil rights protesters of the montgomery bus boycott or the greensboro sit in's. there are no more suits and ties, no more, we will make ourselves look like the respectable lower-class people we are. the customers we deserve to be. are going to be militant. we are going to dress to express our power and our difference, our youth, our power are different. that, thinkn image about how these images are transmitted through print media and television media to the audience in 1968. these sorts of images also our flash into living rooms -- are flashed into living rooms, white living rooms and civil disobedience in black neighborhoods any major city
8:38 pm
like detroit, where the mass movement, significant writing occurs and most damaging civil disorders of this period happen in detroit in 1967 where black ,eighborhoods are up in flames and white residents, working-class residents, who are proximates and feel themselves in danger of this, are increasingly worried about the violence in their midst. , many african-americans of whom are frustrated with the incompleteness of the civil rights victories, the slowness with which white politicians have responded to the deep and enduring inequities, the segregation in poor neighborhoods, the limited economic opportunities, the limits on housing, jobs -- this can be -- these are empowering
8:39 pm
images of people fighting back. to some other african-americans, activists, this is disturbing, because we have got this far because we were nonviolent. we were peaceful. this type of violence is not going to advance the cause. to many whites, ordinary people sitting in the living rooms, watching television, they were already feeling anxious about the changes going on around them . they see these images and think, we need, what we need is law and order. these images are coming across at the same time as images of college students growing their hair long and messy behaving -- misbehaving. there is a lot of image of violence in the city streets and violence in other places as well , and the violence in vietnam.
8:40 pm
there is very little good news walter cronkite is delivering it 1968. that is why politicians who have law and order messages, who are coming out and saying, i am going to clean up the streets. we are going to reduce crime. we are going to create order out of this chaos, are increasingly potent and convincing. the generator of this messaging is not -- is ronald reagan who had a foreshadowing of what happens in 1968. he is elected of california. california is the place where these two types of disorders first breakout, first on the campus of berkeley in 1964, demonstrations, masto menstruation's on the campus of berkeley against the berkeley administration -- mass demonstrations on the campus of berkeley against the berkeley administration.
8:41 pm
1966, ronald reagan runs against the incumbent local governor, who had beaten richard nixon for the governorship several years earlier. running on this message of law and order and bringing order out of chaos. that is an important step. the people running in 1968 take note from that. talking about disorder, let's talk more about disorder on college campuses. you have the men of the year, the men and women of the year, this massive number of young people. young people are going to college in greater numbers than ever before. young people who are attuned to broader
8:42 pm
social issues -- they are -- [please stand by] not all of them, but a lot of them. shocks thing that really the older generation is not just the discontent, the marching on the streets, that participates in in peaceful nonviolent, whether it be sit-ins or something, but the increasing violence and disrespect of authority which of these take on, even at the most elite college campuses in the nation. may, thisl and university is one of many places, one of many college campuses across the country that becomes consumed by these sorts of protests, the violence, were the administration of the university becomes a target of
8:43 pm
student discontent, not only in the context. columbia has been expanding its campus and expanding into predominantly black neighborhoods and razing homes and building new administrative buildings. that became a flashpoint for discontent. but also discontent talking about the war in vietnam, how research universities are complicit in the warmongering machine of the u.s. government because they are doing military research. they are doing things like researching chemical weapons, agent orange and napalm, being developed at university campuses. 1970, 1971 on many campuses including this one, they are increasing protest and acts of violence against andersity properties violence which students are caught up in.
8:44 pm
the increasingly militant stance of these very privileged young people, these people whose parents are like, oh my gosh, you have it so good. you grew up in a time of peace and prosperity. we worked hard so you could go to this nice school. what are you doing? you are growing your hair long and occupying the president's office. this might have been the face of young america that is a spotter of newspaper headlines, and it is the face of young america we remember you think about the 1960's, we think of the common culture, the hippies, the left, the antiwar left. think of people growing their hair long, dropping acid, dropping out. but let's not forget that this was not everybody, and that in 1960 when the moderate left, battle comes together, and you
8:45 pm
have leftist movements both formaland out side politics, pushing towards a more leftist solution, it is also the monument -- moment when the moderate right is coming together. there are also young people on college campuses, young people in high school, young people who are just post-collegiate, who have very different ideas about what america is, what it should be, who are championing conservative values, who are not disrupting their parents by dying their hair, or doing drugs, but taking on a wholesome image. conserving --are going to conservative speakers and politicians. barry goldwater, ronald reagan, on and on, as people who have the answers for what is ailing america. the solution is not more
8:46 pm
government, freedom for people to do what they want. the solution is less government. the solution is returned to traditional values, of church and family, of community. so the late 1960's is the beginning of not only the modern politics of the left but also of the right. understanding the 1960's as a crazy long-haired, hippie, everyone was liberal, is to misread things that were powerful. it also shows how it played out the way it did. so june begins with an event that completely upends not only the democratic political landscape but the broader political landscape of 1968 america, which is the assassination of bobby kennedy
8:47 pm
the night right after he has won the california primary, the primary that probably would have sent him, secured him the note -- the domination ultimately. kennedy surges past mccarthy, becomes the candidate to beat in the late spring and early summer. at his evening of triumph, he struck down by an assassin's bullets. this is something that has a devastating effect not only on the people who were the supporters of robert kennedy but on a broader public that already had been devastated by other assassinations. hero after hero is slain, john f. kennedy, martin luther king, no robert f. kennedy. so kennedy's assassination, just like king's assassination, precipitates a broader national mourning. now it is even more turmoil.
8:48 pm
it is not clear who, if anyone, and bring them together. meantime, the republican party -- the republicans are debating who is going to be their nominee. by the early summer, it is clear that person who is going to be the nominee is the most unlikely of candidates, richard nixon. why is he unlikely? he lost a lot. he lost to kennedy in 1960 narrowly, but he loses. he runs for california governor in 1962, and he loses to pat brown, the liberal ronald reagan later defeats four years later and famously says you will not have richard nixon to kick around anymore after that. he had a rocky relationship with the press. he saw them certainly as the
8:49 pm
enemy and is highly adversarial. and is recorded again and again in the history books the pivotal moment of the 1968 elections was the televised tapes in which he suffered from all sorts of sweat, and television was not kind of him. it was kind to john f. kennedy. there are many reasons the election played out the way it did, and there are differing interpretations of the magnitude of the debate. what was clear from 1968 is richard nixon was not good with television. by 1968, television was more important than ever before. key, was keyas the to gaining clinical support and convincing people to come onto your side. support and
8:50 pm
convincing people to come onto your side. so he is looking at and seeing other potential contenders for the republican nomination of 1968 fall by the wayside, rockefeller and george romney, father of mitt romney, people who would have been likely sudden areall of a no longer strong disabilities. so this gives an opening to richard nixon. but as he makes this great combat, he is very mindful of what his public image will be, so mindful it is the public satire of esquire magazine. he hires the madison avenue ad agency to build a television presence around him. he hires key aides who are very savvy to the power of television media to deliver a message. he meets roger ailes, i don't aid -- a young gay who goes on
8:51 pm
-- aide who goes on to find fox news. withso becomes friends patrick buchanan, who becomes a presidential candidate himself. he is responsible for writing some of the more strongly conservative speeches that they gives during the 1968 campaign. so he has got a really savvy television staff around him, and he builds a public image that is very different, very different from the image that he has in 1960. he tries to distance himself from this. , using television advertising creatively in a way that does not foreground him, his face, or his voice that much . his voice is there in voiceovers. they have images decided to play
8:52 pm
hereotions rather than -- is my policy, here is what i will tell you. he is here at cutting edge in his use of media in a way that is the complete opposite of what he does in 1960. his team makes sure he carefully controls the media environment where, if there is a town hall meeting, all the people asking him questions have been prescreened and preselected, so he will not get anything out of the side, the side. he is also keying into the the public has about all the changes going on. he is looking at what happened with what reagan did in 1966 and what other republican candidates are doing elsewhere in 1966 and in 1968 to play up the concern about crime and law and order. he says a great many americans
8:53 pm
have become committed to answering social medias -- social problems for their personal freedom. this group of quiet americans he famously labels the silent majority. these are the people he is speaking to. it is a very powerful message. but his message, he is a calendar, the silent majority are the more conservative americans. and one major contender is george wallace. george wallace is someone who has gotten a lot of attention of late partly because he is a strongly populist voice, as a candidate in 1968 and afterwards , and had messaging about personal freedom and the kind of anti-elite message that is very reminiscent of the message donald trump used so effectively on the stump in 2016.
8:54 pm
they are very different people, but wallace's campaign like trump's appeal to the populist interest in this notion of the people versus the powerful, that these excerpts, the pointy head that got us into this mess in vietnam and tell us things that are good to us, they don't know that. why do the college professors and bureaucrats know what is what? we should not have been missing in our lives. wallace of course is a southerner. he was a former governor of alabama. he first ran for alabama governor in 1968, and lost. .e ran as a racial moderate he learned from that loss he needed to be much more strident on race and the preservation of segregation. in 1962 he ran for alabama governor and won but became a
8:55 pm
staunch defender of segregation. prominenceo national , he was not speaking to alabamians concerned about how states rights were being infringed upon, how local traditions and customs of racial segregation were being infringed by national mandates, but he also -- and you can listen to some of his speeches as governor, he is talking to southerners who might have left the south, letting other places, seeing changes in the racial order around them and the social order, and that is something they are not pleased about. so by 1968, he has transitioned this message not talking specifically about racial change and crime disorder and law and order concerns. he is not talking about race, but he kind of is.
8:56 pm
so both national parties have cap to every -- kowtowed to every person. i'm not talking about race. lowyet he is talking about taxes. he is talking about keeping your community the way it is, he is talking about states rights. he is speaking against the measure that has been used by the federal government to try and implement and institute of fairer racial order in the south and elsewhere. he garners a great deal of support not just in the south but the north as well. a kindpe of message is of harsher and undiluted message xon'se senate -- of ni silent majority. by august you get to the national convention.
8:57 pm
rarely ever hear about the republican convention, which happened at the beginning of august, because it really did not make much use compared to what happened at the end of august to the democrats in chicago. republicans came into their convention with richard nixon pretty clear where they were going to go. the democrats come into their , it is not clear whether the establishment is led by an personified by hubert humphrey, johnson's vice president running for the nomination, had not ran in any primaries, but he is running for the nomination. we will talk later about it has changed so much. but chicago becomes the destination for the antiwar left. here we have a group in new york that is sponsoring buses to go to the convention and is talking
8:58 pm
about how the tens of thousands will demand an immediate war to the -- end to the war in vietnam . the causes of racial injustice and the end of the war abroad are twinned emma being linked twinned, being linked together. chicago, many on protesters. violence ensues. why is this such a meaningful and important event? television. you can't think of a place with more television cameras both inside and outside the hall that at a national political convention. everyone has dissented on chicago. when all of these protesters camped out across the city of chicago protesting that
8:59 pm
democrats, the conduct of the injusticesting the of the social order, when they are set upon by chicago police department, at the orders of a democratic mayor, richard daley who is here on the floor of the senate, the floor of the convention, then this becomes a must-see television. the rifts in the democratic party become visibly displayed at the convention at the end of august. both within and the hall, you have strikes within the democratic party, and you have violence outside of it. and then coming bruised and battered out of the fray is a nominee that nobody really wanted except the establishment since and this will -- the beginning of the johnson movement more than a year
9:00 pm
before, so may democrats have been trying to displace the establishment, displace the man who had gotten the u.s. so deep into the war. and humphrey's and eventual nomination is a great defeat for the democratic left. it causes brought her wrists and fracture in the democratic party that require a lot of work to heal. in to the last days of the campaign, it is a very close race. and humphrey, -- nixon and humphrey, it is not clear who will win. it is not clear to people who are looking at it from elsewhere either. this discord is paris,n at home, and
9:01 pm
there have been a series of talks for peace in vietnam. the johnson administration, this is what he set out to do as he announced he would not run. he would focus on bringing an end to the war. by the end of october, he is close to getting there. there is a willingness, the north vietnamese are recognizing the election is close. looks like nixon might win. if this -- nixon wins, he will have a more hardline and willingness to immediately stop the american bombing of north vietnam, the main thing the north vietnamese wanted. it was in their interest to negotiate with the south vietnamese and the americans. then strangely at the last minute, the south vietnamese walk away.
9:02 pm
ongoing,ks have been moving towards a conclusion and getting closer. they are hopeful for the election, it would have been useful for humphrey. south vietnam steps away, negotiations followed part. there has been speculation the nixon campaign had something to do with it, and there is no proof. we have been talking about the past. we always need to remember the interpretation of the past is never static, history always arguments over what happened. our understanding of the past can be changed with new evidence. ago, a a few weeks
9:03 pm
biographer of next and -- nixo n's, whose biography is coming revealedmonth or two, in the course of his research nixon'svered notes from chief of staff, chief aid in the campaign, have scribbled during a phone call with nixon in october 1968. he is not president or president-elect. along the scribbled notes, he essentially says, he was transcribing saying, is it anything we can do to monkeywrench this? anything are man richard nixon can do? what can we do to stop these talks, what can we make it so johnson and humphrey don't get a pr victory, don't get credit, and then talks resume when i am
9:04 pm
president, and we can make something happen? so new evidence can introduce somenterpretations and how of the things we thought were true about what a president did and why he did it can change many decades after his death. november, november 5 1968, wins.on day, nixon ,eorge wallace gets the south and even though this looks like a very red map, it was not as close as one might think. yes, and it and gets an alert -- nixon gets an electoral agility,
9:05 pm
but there is a question who wallace took away from. probably a few more than nixon. but even at this high water mark of liberalism, in a year that has started off about the vietnam war, all about resistance to the establishment and ends up electing a former vice president, two-term vice president, republican who campaigns on conservative line order messages and rejects some of the more -- this year is incredible for radical possibilities. why did it turn out this way? i think it has become more interesting when we think about the 1960's as a broader result of revolt against established institutions that continue to contour politics today. people on the right and the left got fed up with the way things were going because, keep in mind
9:06 pm
, the establishment in the 1960's was a liberal establishment. it was dedicated to big government. it was established for the ever escalating war in vietnam. it was established they had to train people on the right and the left. it was establishment in the eyes of white southerners that had betrayed their states rights by forcing integration of schools and public facilities. in the eyes of college students, protesting the vietnam war and worried about whether they would be drafted, it was an establishment that had lied to them about vietnam. it was an establishment that had fallen short of promises of progress, that everything would get better. this skepticism infused politics and with the end of the nixon watergateesignation, becomes another blow to that faith of the people who were
9:07 pm
willing. a breakdown on the right and left of the authority organizations. i will leave it there. thanks for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] our topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures in history are also available as podcasts. visit the website or download them from itunes. ♪ c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on