American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division

Hardcover | May 5, 2016

byMichael Cohen

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1968 was a year of turmoil. Economic anxiety was on the rise; racial conflicts were increasingly aggressive as the Black Power movement gained visibility; LBJ's massive bombing campaign had escalated the war in Vietnam; and at home, an emerging counter-culture and vocal feminist movement weredeclaring war on traditional values. With the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April and Robert F. Kennedy in June, the nation teetered on the brink of chaos. It all culminated in the dramatic presidential race that year, which brought together a dynamic group of politicians vying forthe nation's confidence - and resulted in an election that palpably and irrevocably transformed American politics. In Vortex, Michael Cohen captures the drama of the events leading up to this watershed moment. The political consensus that existed just four years prior had completely disappeared, replaced by division and acrimony on a scale rarely before seen in the country's history. Despite the impressive arrayof political talent assembled in the presidential election - Johnson, Nixon, Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, Ronald Reagan and George Wallace - the candidates struggled to appeal to a nation deeply divided by race, class, and values. Cohen traces the newtactics, rhetoric, and issues that emerged in the campaign, from Nixon's so-called Southern Strategy to win over Democrats to Wallace's third-party run, which caused deep divisions among conservatives and traditional Republicans.Ultimately, Cohen proves 1968 to be a hinge between the high-water period of 1960s political liberalism to the ascendancy of conservative populism and anti-government attitudes that continue to dominate the nation's political discourse. The political battles in Washington today are being waged on abattlefield constructed in 1968, and in unraveling the complex story of that year, Cohen sketches out the broad lines of American politics over the past four decades.

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From the Publisher

1968 was a year of turmoil. Economic anxiety was on the rise; racial conflicts were increasingly aggressive as the Black Power movement gained visibility; LBJ's massive bombing campaign had escalated the war in Vietnam; and at home, an emerging counter-culture and vocal feminist movement weredeclaring war on traditional values. With th...

Michael Cohen is regular writer and commentator on American politics and U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Live from the Campaign Trail: The Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century and How They Shaped Modern America, as well as a columnist for the Guardian newspaper.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 5, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019977756X

ISBN - 13:9780199777563

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