There’s a book that was written in 2005 or 2006 essentially called the The Choice, a Glorious Defeat For Conservatives. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s pretty close where the author argues that Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential election landslide loss inspired so many young people. Especially Conservatives to join the American Conservative movement and get involved in American Conservative politics. And even work for Conservative Republicans, or become Conservative Republicans themselves.
And I agree with this because without 1964, Congressional Republicans do not pickup something like forty-five seats in the House in 1966. Still about thirty short of a majority, but put them in contention for 1968 to win back the majority in the House. And I believe they picked up 4-5 seats in the Senate, but they were in the low-thirties as far as Senators after 1964. Barry Goldwater won ten states in 1964, but I believe seven of them were in the South. Which was right-wing Democratic country. And what Senator Goldwater did in 1964 was expand the playing field for the Republican Party by bringing in new Conservatives to the Republican Party.
Without 1964 Richard Nixon doesn’t get elected President of the United States in 1968. Because again Barry Goldwater expanded the playing field in 1964 and brought in more right-wingers to them Republican Party and out West. But in the South and brought in Libertarians from the West and Religious-Conservatives from the South. That use to back right-wing Democrats who were against things like civil rights. Barry Goldwater and Dick Nixon brought in right-wingers to the Republican Party as well especially from the South.
Because pre 1964, the Republican Party was mostly a Midwest and Northeastern party, but Goldwater and Nixon changed that for the GOP. And all of these Southern right-wingers to the GOP kept moving along in the 1970s as well. To the point that President Nixon is reelected in a landslide in 1972. More Southern and Western Republicans are elected Governor and to Congress both House and Senate in 1978. And of course go up until 1980 when Ronald Reagan is elected President and Senate Republicans win back the Senate for the first time since 1952.
I do not believe that Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964 expecting to win. Even though I’m sure he would’ve taken the job had he won it. But he ran against Progressive big government basically from the New Deal to the Great Society. And to show Americans that there was another way to govern America and another competing vision of where to take America. And made conservatism mainstream in America.