How the Right Took Power in the United States

Phases and Coalitions 1940-2012

Showing the Three Times the Ultra-Conservative Coalition Mobilized to Move the Republican Party to the Right

Phase 5: 1963-1964 - Goldwater Presidential Campaign

In the 1960s the right wing of the Republican Party, through grassroots political organizing spearheaded by social movement activists, took over the Party apparatus. According to Ferguson and Rogers, this takeover was “supported strongly by such protectionist and nationalistically inclined figures as National Steel’s George Humphrey, textile magnate Roger Milliken, and independent oil men John Pew and Henry Salvatori.” As the Republican Party was tugged to the right, there was a flotilla of multinational businesses (including a portion of the high technology sector), that sailed from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

The Goldwater campaign attracted support from ultraconservative and Christian Right activists who were worried about subversive conspiracies, including those who feared international treaties and U.S. participation in the United Nations. While the Liberty Lobby remained marginal, many JBS activists helped secure the 1964 Republican Party nomination for Goldwater, and went on to help build the New Right in the 1970s and 1980s. The Goldwater campaign also elevated Phyllis Schlafly to a high profile role in ultraconservative organizing that lasted more than 40 years, as she built the Eagle Forum and led the successful blocking of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Lucy Williams observes that the Old Right rhetoric behind the Goldwater campaign focused on messages stressing the “confluence of poverty, race, labor unions, violence and communism. In this way, the Old Right was able to promote its agenda of lower taxes and reduced government.” Williams notes that during the Goldwater campaign, “rightist publications attacked the welfare state for undermining rugged individualism and private property, fostering immorality and non-productive activity… contributing to crime (particularly associated with urban riots and the Civil Rights Movement), and ultimately leading to Communism.” This frame did not propel Goldwater to victory in the general election, but it did begin a process that eventually altered the way ultraconservatism presented itself to appeal to a wider audience.

When Goldwater’s presidential campaign wiped out on Election Day, 1964, political conservatism was dismissed as a quaint relic of earlier political turmoil. Robert Mason explains that, “Despite the birth of a modern movement of conservative thought in the 1950s and its growth in the 1960s, conservative ideas remained relatively marginal to intellectual and wider public debate” throughout most of the 1960s.

  Cite: Chip Berlet. 2007. “The New Political Right in the United States: Reaction, Rollback, and Resentment.” In Michael Thompson, ed, Confronting the New Conservatism. The Rise of the Right in America. New York, NYU Press. <Buy it at Powell’s>

Color
Key

Major Phases of
Right-Wing Movements

New or Reframed
Coalition Partners

Sub-Sectors
under a Major Section

Ultraconservative Coalition
Mobilizes a Rebellion

Discarded
Coalition Partners


1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1932-1941:
Pre-WWII Conservatism
Post-WWII Republican Party Coalition 1950s: Ultra-Conservative Fusionism 1960s: Facing Challenges from
the Left
1963-1964: Goldwater Presi-dential Campaign 1970s: A “New Right” Builds a Movement 1980s: The Right-Wing Coalition Institutionalizes Post-1991: Reframing Political Debates Post-2008:
Tea Party & Town Hall Movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

 

Economic Conservatism

 

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticollectivism

Militant Patriot
Anticollectivism

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

 

National Security Militarism

 

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neoconservatism

Neoconservatism

 

 

Social Traditionalism

Social Traditionalism

Social Traditionalism

 

Social Traditionalism

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Naked
White Supremacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naked
Antisemitism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2012, Chip Berlet