Barry Goldwater’s 1964’s presidential campaign was monumental for several reasons. He lost 40 states, lost 61% of the popular vote, Congressional Republicans took a beating both in the House and Senate. Down to 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate after the 1964 general election. Those are the negative aspects of the Goldwater Campaign. The positive aspects are that Senator Goldwater was perhaps our only Conservative-Libertarian major party presidential nominee ( unless you include Ronald Reagan ) ever in American politics. He also won five Southern states something Republicans just didn’t do at all pre-1968 with the exceptions of Goldwater and Dwight Eisenhower.
As bad as a defeat 1964 was for the Republican Party it also served as a roadmap for how the GOP can become a national party again. Which was to go Dixie and out West and win a lot of elections in both regions of the country. I believe 1964, 66, and 68, is why the Republican Party now has a Christian-Conservative theocratic wing and a Conservative-Libertarian wing. And still has a moderate to progressive wing in the North and parts of the Midwest.
The only reason why from 1959-67 the Democratic Party had such huge majorities in Congress especially in the Senate, was because they were a Southern Dixiecrat Confederate Protestant party, with a Northern Progressive and in some cases Socialist base in it. The Democratic Party was all over the map ideologically in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. That is the only reason why they were so huge. Not because America was overwhelmingly liberal, or progressive, and especially not socialist. The Democratic Party was basically 3-4 different parties as part of one huge national party.
Richard Nixon who I believe before Watergate at least was one of our greatest politicians as well as strategists when it came to winning elections, understood in 1965-66 that if were to run for President and then at some point be elected President., he was going to have to have a competitive Republican Party that was no longer just based in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. That they had to break the ideological and political stranglehold that the Democrats had in America and beat Democrats in Democratic territory. That meant campaigning and winning in the South and West. Especially in Congress but at the state level as well and Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign provided the opening for the rebirth of the Republican Party that we see today. The modern GOP that we see today the start of the new party happened in 1966 and 68.
As far as Barry Goldwater politically and his campaign. Had more Goldwater Conservative-Libertarians came into the party and they managed to hold on to the Conservative-Libertarians who bolted for the Libertarian Party in the early 1970s and in some cases are Independents today, the GOP would be a Goldwater-Reagan conservative party today. Instead of the Christian-Conservative Tea Party Nationalist populist party that we see today. That views candidates positions on pornography, homosexuality, and their religious views, as more important to them, than where candidates stand on economic or foreign policy. Taxes, regulations, education, etc. And they would be a party that could compete for non-European Protestant American voters. Instead of being a party that is dominated by one ethnic group, one race, one religion, and one region of the country, that is predominantly male.