A campaign ad from 1964 has been going viral because of its spooky resemblance to the political climate of today.
The ad, “Confessions of a Republican,” features a well-dressed man smoking a cigarette while he explains that despite being a longtime Republican, he plans to vote for Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 presidential election.
“I voted for Dwight Eisenhower the first time I voted,” the man says. “I voted for Nixon the last time. But when we come to Senator Goldwater, now it seems we’re up against a very different kind of a man. This man scares me” (emphasis added).
“Sometimes I’d wish that I had been at that convention in San Francisco,” he says. “I wish I had been a delegate, I really do, because I would’ve fought. And I wouldn’t have worried so much about party unity, because when you unite behind a man you don’t believe in, it’s a lie.”
“When the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor of the candidate of my party — either they’re not Republicans or I’m not,” he says. “I’ve thought about just not voting in this election, just staying home. But you can’t do that because that’s saying you don’t care who wins, and I do care.”
“I think my party made a bad mistake in San Francisco,” he says. “And I’m going to have to vote against that mistake on the third of November.”
The ad concludes with a message from a narrator: “Vote for President Johnson on November third. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.”
Johnson won the 1964 election in a landslide victory. Johnson earned 486 electoral votes and carried 44 states as well as Washington DC. Goldwater earned 52 electoral votes and carried a total of six states, including his home state of Arizona.
The specific reference to the the Klan’s endorsement of Goldwater is eerily similar to neo-Nazi and longtime Klansman David Duke’s recent endorsement of Donald Trump. When Trump was asked to denounce Duke on CNN last month, he hesitated and later claimed that he didn’t know who Duke was. But as IJReview pointed out, his claims of ignorance were lies.
Republican leaders have been, for the most part, hesitant to denounce Trump. Some, namely Newt Gingrich, have been quick to try and include Trump and his supporters into the fold of the Republican Party, citing the importance of party unity.
But a number of conservatives, like the man featured in this vintage campaign ad, have publicly stood in opposition to Trump. Among the most notable efforts to stop Trump have been Sen. Ben Sasse’s campaign against Trump in Iowa, Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump robocalls, and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s disapproval. Were the short-fingered vulgarian to be crowned the Republican nominee, some conservatives have even promised to vote for a Democratic candidate over Trump.