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The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia

Bombs Away

Looking back a half-century to the 1964 White House contest between President Lyndon Johnson and Senator Barry Goldwater reveals a critical, formative moment that reshaped the American political landscape. Polarized by very different personalities and ideologies, LBJ and Goldwater attacked one another–and in the process opened the door to the era of highly negative advertising campaigns for elections. Interviews with historians and participants in the campaign illuminate how both candidates pushed their parties to the polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, planting the seeds for today’s hyper-partisan politics that contribute to gridlock in Washington and throughout the nation.

UVA Center for Politics