All the Way with LBJ mines an extraordinarily rich but underutilized source – the full range of LBJ tapes – to analyze the 1964 presidential campaign and the political culture of the mid-1960s. The president achieved a smashing victory over a divided Republican Party, which initially considered Henry Cabot Lodge II, then U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, before nominating Barry Goldwater, who used many of the themes that later worked for Republicans – a Southern strategy, portraying the Democrats as soft on defense, raising issues such as crime and personal ethics. Johnson countered with what he called a “frontlash” strategy, appealing to moderate and liberal GOP suburbanites, but he failed to create a new, permanent Democratic majority for the post–civil rights era. The work’s themes – the impact of race on the political process, the question of politicians’ personal and political ethics, and the tensions between politics and public policy – continue to resonate.
1. Establishing an image; 2. The rise and fall of Henry Cabot Lodge; 3. The politics of backlash; 4. The Atlantic City convention; 5. The politics of frontlash; 6. Beyond 1936.
“Robert David Johnson makes expert use of the White House tapes to add a whole new dimension to our understanding of a key historical event. His nuanced account of the 1964 election reminds us that political history can be both entertaining and enlightening.” -Edward Berkowitz, George Washington University
“This delightful book is well-written, well-argued, and beautifully balanced, telling a compelling story with broader resonance. Demonstrating a great sensitivity to American political culture and a broad historical sense, Johnson has brought the 1964 election alive. The book effectively evokes a bygone era – and shows us how Lyndon Johnson’s landslide election victory over Barry Goldwater helped pave the way for the politics of today.” -Gil Troy, McGill University
“All the Way with LBJ is political history at its best. Race, religion, reform, and the looming conflict in Vietnam comprise the setting for the 1964 election, but the star is Robert Johnson's LBJ vividly portrayed here in all his brilliance and paranoia.” -Randall Woods, University of Arkansas
"Johnson (Brooklyn College) offers a bold, provocative interpretation of Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory over Republican challenger Senator Barry Goldwater...Johnson's book provides a framework for future scholars to interpret transformative elections and the toll they take on both the winners and losers."
CHOICE, B. Miller, University of Cincinnati