One Last Reflection on the Goldwater 1964 Campaign

This entry is the third and final entry celebrating the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign. See the first and second.

An exhibit in the Hollings Library’s Brittain Gallery, October 21 through November, titled, In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right: 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential Campaign celebrates the anniversary and features campaign ephemera.

bumper sticker liberty bellThe campaign caught the hearts of many South Carolinians and helped create an environment in which a nascent Republican Party began its rise to parity and eventual domination of South Carolina.

Greg Shorey was a leader in the development of South Carolina’s Republican Party in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, during which time he helped transform the Party into an effective and viable entity.  He remains active in Republican affairs and began placing his papers with SCPC in 1995.  Since that time, he has been of immense help in developing our Republican holdings.  Below are his reflections.

brochure opportunity to win50th ANNIVERSARY REFLECTIONS
ON
BARRY GOLDWATER’S
1964 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY

There are many authentic sources with diverse views on ‘the Goldwater movement.’  My direct involvement focused less on his election, but more on building a viable second Party in S.C. and converting a one Party South.  Such accomplishments would change the balance of political power in our Country forever.  Goldwater was the vehicle and the means.

The 1964 Goldwater presidential candidacy has many misconceptions, as to when and how it really began, it’s underlying mission and real meaning… considering his election was not truly envisioned or even anticipated by Barry himself.  Southern political trends since the Eisenhower campaigns, returning vets with Yankee wives, N.E. Textile and other businesses moving to the Southland and changing post WW II attitudes, were clear indicators that a Democrat dominated South was susceptible. Our Southern States GOP State Chairmen’s Association, under the direction of I. Lee Potter, Virginia State Party Chairman, gave us access to Republican National Chairman Mead Alcorn, adding creditability as we began building a unified block of Southern State’s National Convention delegate votes (often referred to as “young Turks”) uniquely able to affect outcomes and overcome Party dominance by the North East ‘moderates.’

Goldwater panorama1The “Draft Goldwater Committee,” credits my 1959 Goldwater endorsement at a State-wide broadcasted $100./plate fund raising dinner at the old Greenville Hotel as the movement’s, ‘lynch-pin.’  Goldwater was our guest speaker that evening. This event also secured Roger Milliken’s key involvement as our State Party’s Finance Chairman.  Many of my former College Young Republican friends, in positions of Party leadership around the Country, became actively involved with this Committee.  Cliff White’s book, “Suite 3505,” details what ultimately led to Goldwater’s 1964 Candidacy.  The 1960 RNC [Republican National Committee] was the “kick-off” and the role the S.C. delegation played, pledged to Goldwater, to be released only by him, has not been fully credited.  With pressure on his own Arizona delegates, we forced his 1960 Convention nomination, seconded by me as Chairman of the S.C. delegation & the Goldwater for President Committee. {This a story by itself}. Reluctantly agreeing to Barry’s withdrawal, in support of Nixon’s 1960 nomination, we had Goldwater’s 1964 RNC nomination in view.  Our objective of demonstrating the power of a two party South was now evident.

Goldwater panorama2While the election of Jim Edwards (first Republican governor since ‘Reconstruction’), endorsements of Nixon & Goldwater by Jimmy Byrnes, the election of Carroll Campbell as Governor (preceded by his upset victory over 4th Dist. Congressman Democrat Bob Ashmore) and Strom Thurmond’s 1964 Party switch, after Goldwater’s nomination,  were all significant confirmations that S.C. now had a viable second Party.  But the real seminal event had to be South Carolina’s role initiating the “Goldwater movement” preceding the 1960  RNC — that led to his securing his 1964 nomination, thus changing the Nation’s political power base forever!  Contrary to some assertions, that our’s was a”lily-white” movement, the fact is that this effort provided ALL voters with a true competitive choice, that is — Conservatism Vs.  Liberalism (as is still the case) giving our State and the South new leadership and influence.  Proof— Consider where much of today’s Republican Party leadership emulates, plus Governorships and legislative majorities.

Our 1958 South Carolina Republican Party handbook stated our objective: “Better government at all levels, more responsive & responsible to the public.”  Goldwater’s candidacy 8 years later made this objective a reality in a very important and different way. All our communities have benefited.

-Greg Shorey – Feb. 4, 2014

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