From Goldwater to Reagan
WithSeth Offenbach
Pages 12

This Conclusion chapter explains how the Vietnam War helped bring the conservative movement from an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1964 to victory in 1980. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater for the presidency. The right responded by throwing its support behind policy proposals which called for more aggressive actions in the Vietnam War. This pro-war movement hurt the right’s ability to grow, especially since there were a substantial number of anti-war conservatives in the 1960s. Thus, the Vietnam War hurt the right’s ability to expand. Once the war ended, conservatism found a new issue—religious conservatism and morality in society, including opposing abortion rights, which helped the right grow. With this change, the New Right and Religious Right were able to elect Ronald Reagan for president and alter the course of U.S. political history.