Home > Constitution, Elected Officials, New Media, Politics > Barry Goldwater On Saving The GOP

Barry Goldwater On Saving The GOP

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I was reminded of the below quote tonight and as I read it again I felt it applied to the Republican party today. Especially if you think of all the young supporters Ron Paul brought in to the GOP since 2007. Barry Goldwater Jr. made a similar connection between his father and Ron Paul when he introduced Ron Paul at an event I attended at ASU in 2009. Both candidates were able to tap into the energy and enthusiasm of young people.

Here’s the Barry Goldwater quote:

“While liberal columnists and commentators were busily reciting the death rites for the GOP and lamenting the possible end of a two-party system in the United States, interested political investigators began to notice that historic and significant changes had been wrought in the Republican Party as a result of my candidacy.

These observers took a hard look at the GOP, past and present. They saw that after decades of winning prior to 1930, and years of losing after 1930, the Republican Party had simply dried up at the roots. They found that the foundation of the party in the Eastern, Midwestern and Plains states had disappeared entirely in some areas and had eroded badly in many others.

But they also discovered that the Goldwater cause had brought tens of thousands of new people into our party throughout the nation and provided the GOP with a badly needed transfusion of new blood at the grass roots.

Perhaps the most important thing about this transfusion was that it came from young and energetic people and from segments of the population which, heretofore, had not been noted for their contribution to the nation’s political organization. Although these new troops were not at first successful, their vigor and enthusiasm strengthened the sinews of the Republican Party and completely revitalized the party’s structure throughout the country. These new recruits stuck with it because they were motivated by ideas as well as ideals. They worked their way up in the party organizations; they became Republican leaders and candidates; they became precinct leaders, county chairmen and state officers. And by 1966, they were giving our party great national victories that had a vital bearing on our ability to win the White House in 1968.

Those who bemoaned the so-called ‘Goldwater disaster’ in 1964 overlooked the fact that my defeat had another side to it. To be specific, my campaign broadened the base of the Republican Party nationally in a way that had never happened before. Where Republican presidential candidates before me had numbered their financial campaign contributors in the tens of thousands, my campaign counted them in hundreds of thousands. When Richard Nixon ran for reelection in 1960, financial contributions to his campaign ran between 40,000 and 50,000. The best count ever made of the individual contributions to my campaign four years later put the total at around 661,500.

In addition, our party had organizations and the nuclei of organizations in hundreds of areas where they had never existed before. This was not only true in the South, where the phenomenon was spectacular, but also proved to be the case in many large metropolitan areas which had long been almost the sole preserve of the political liberals.”

– Barry Goldwater in “Conscience of a Majority”, 1970

Nothing breathes life into an organization like enthusiastic young people. The establishment GOP would do well to remember that. There is currently a push to rid the Republican Party of all Ron Paul supporters. If they are successful the GOP will be as good as dead…forever. On the other hand, the possibilities are endless with new blood and new energy. Time will tell.

Me and Barry Goldwater Jr. at a Ron Paul event at ASU in 2009.

  1. ghost
    November 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    maybe so, but what percent voted for gary johnson?

    • Sam Adams
      December 1, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Who cares? Voting for the “lesser of two evils” is still voting for evil.

      It’s not a freaking horse race for one status quo candidate vs. the other. Getting behind either one is still betting on a loser. Are you obsessed with being on this year’s “winning team” or does having a future mean anything to you?

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