The environmental movement in the late 1960s, which was just becoming big to the point today and perhaps even twenty-years ago that national Democrats at least couldn’t win without them. Especially if they were running for president, but they couldn’t win in Congress without the environmental community unless they represented a very rural state, or district that was heavily dependent on oil, gas and coal. States like West Virginia, to use as an example. America changed a lot politically in the 1960s where the Democratic Party started truly becoming the liberal or progressive party and the Republican Party starting to become the conservative party. With both parties still have moderate factions in them, but just not as big as they use to be.
Senator Kennedy, made the environment a big part of his 1968 presidential campaign. But it was more about regulations of energy industries and not so much about his own national energy policy. And had he been elected president in 1968, we probably get an EPA and perhaps an Energy Department as well. Instead of President Richard Nixon creating the EPA and President Jimmy Carter creating the Energy Department. It was also President Nixon that pushed for the idea of a national energy policy and getting off of foreign oil and gas. President Gerald Ford and President Carter, wanted to do the same thing, but differently at least in President Carter’s case. But making the environment a real issue was still very new when Bobby Kennedy ran for president in 1968.
RFK Must Die: RFK Campaign Ad 1968