The 1964 Presidential election matched two very different candidates during one of the most critical times in American history. John F. Kennedy, the very popular president, had been assassinated only a year earlier. The Cold War was at its height, the Civil Rights Movement was at full tilt, and the situation in Vietnam was only beginning to escalate.
The two major-party candidates were the Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the Republican Barry Morris Goldwater. Johnson chose Senate majority-whip leader, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, as his running mate. Goldwater tabbed New York Congressman William Miller as vice-presidential candidate. Third-party candidates included: Clifton DeBerry from the Socialist Workers Party; E. Harold Munn of the Prohibition Party; John Kasper of the National States Rights Party; Joseph B. Lightburn from the Constitution Party; and James Hensley of the Universal Party. While these third-party candidates were on the ballot, the presidential election was a two-horse race between Johnson and Goldwater.
Best know as a conservative icon and author of The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater began his political career in the U.S. Department of the Interior (Havel, 227). His rise to the national spotlight started in 1952 when he won his first Arizona Senatorial victory by a narrow margin. He was re-elected in a 1958 landslide after his criticism of, then, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration. A conservative Republican, Gold- water is remembered for his attacks on the policies of John F. Kennedy's administration, particularly the welfare state, which he likened to socialism. He also opposed the centralization of power in Washington, and upheld the powers of state and local government.
Lyndon Johnson used congress to begin his national political career. He won election in 1937 to the House from the state of Texas, and 1948 to the Senate, defeating Coke Stevenson in the De...