President Richard M. Nixon (1960 - 1968)

Part VII
The Election of 1964

The election was held on November 3, 1964.

The incumbent, President Richard Nixon, easily defeated any and all opponents to his nomination. Nixon rode a wave of public support for his decision-making, and used a combination of the national mood and his own political savvy to push his own agenda. By the time of the Republican National Convention in late August of 1964, Nixon�s position was unassailable and he easily captured the Republican nomination.

The Democratic Party had a more difficult time of it. John F. Kennedy, who had been beaten in a close election and only recently won the position of Governor of Massachusetts, declined to run. That left Lyndon B. Johnson, a Senator from Texas, to run against Hubert H. Humphrey, a Senator from Minnesota. It was a stark choice. Humphrey epitomized the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, while Johnson epitomized the conservative wing of the party. Democratic voters in New Hampshire disliked both candidates, and gave Daniel B. Brewster, a Senator from Maryland and a moderate within the Democratic Party, a write-in victory in the primary.  

Despite this defeat, Johnson won the nomination. Lyndon Johnson was also helped by an endorsement by former Democratic running mate John F. Kennedy. Nixon positioned himself as a moderate, contrasting himself to Johnson, who the campaign characterized as a liberal extremist. Most famously, the Nixon campaign issued a commercial dubbed the "Dandelion Girl" ad, which featured a little girl picking petals from a dandelion in a field, counting the petals, which then segues into a launch countdown and a nuclear explosion. It was then followed by Soviet tanks rolling over the charred ground where the girl once stood. The ads were in response to Johnson sentiment against Nixon�s tactics against the Soviet Union during the German Border Crisis.

Richard M. Nixon and Henry C. Lodge, Jr., crushed the Democratic opposition.  Nixon won 46.8 million votes (about 66.2% of the total) and 451 electoral votes, as opposed to Johnson�s 23.8 million votes (about 33.7% of the total) and 87 electoral votes.

Richard M. Nixon (CA), Henry C. Lodge (MA)  -  Republican Party
                                   46,800,000 Votes  -  451 Electoral Votes
Lyndon B. Johnson (TX), Daniel B. Brewster (MD)  -  Democratic Party
                                   23,800,000 Votes  -  87 Electoral Votes
                Lyndon B. Johnson                               Richard M. Nixon
Election of 1964
Return to Menu On to Nixon Part VIII
Return to Nixon Part VI
Hosted by