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Barry Goldwater’s Policies

One of the most attention-grabbing questions about an election is not related to

which candidate or party won but why the voters voted the way they did or what the

repercussions of the outcomes are. Nonetheless, finding the right answer to these questions is

not always an easy undertaking for focusing only on the campaign incidents and events is not

adequate. It is vital for one to put much emphasis on trying to determine the electorate’s

behavior leading to the election to entirely have an undertaking of the election outcomes. It is

defined by first analyzing the sources of individual voting patterns, and this is associated with

the various policies that a party or candidates will lay before the electorate. In the USA, the

Democrats and Republicans have each had their fair share of winning the presidency, and this

is determined by various policies the party members formulate. Thus, the paper seeks to

explore how Barry Goldwater’s policies played a vital role towards the populist winning of a

Republican Presidential candidate during the 1980 election.

Barry Goldwater served as the United States Senator for Arizona for five terms

before he decided to have a shot at the nation’s top seat; the presidency in 1964. During his

tenure as senator, Goldwater was known for being more leaned towards the conservative

movement that was against the Republican Party’s agenda at the time. Even though he did not

have a chance to win an election as the president, the policies he widely advocated for played

a vital role in marshaling a new wave of young conservatives who voted for President

Reagan, the winner of the 1980 general election.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Nixon played a considerable role in

ballooning the federal budget as they financed wars and various public welfare programs.

Johnson increased the federal budget by billions of dollars, and this was double the amount

that President Kennedy had added1. According to Johnson, he wanted to build a Great Society

1Krason, Stephen M. The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic. Routledge,


2017. p. 350
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and thus brought the need for a substantial federal budget that was affecting the entire nation.

In the case of Nixon, his policies nearly destroyed the USA economy. He introduced harmful

wage-price controls with the aim of restoring the economy towards a positive growth, but

they were unsuccessful. He also played a vital role in the ending of the USA gold standard,

and this allowed the USA to print money with the aim of solving economic woes2. Even so,

according to Goldwater, he was profoundly opposed to such huge federal spending and the

economic policies that had been formulated to grow the economy including the tax structure

that he termed as being unfavorable3. This saw a huge percentage of the USA citizens

remaining unemployed as the rates of job growth were minimal. In the case of the working

class, there was no growth in wage rates, and this frustrated a considerable portion of the

citizens. As a result of this, Regan’s economic policies during his campaigns were based on

four pillars; reducing the government spending, tighten money supply in the economy to aid

in job creation and reduce federal income tax. All these policies had earlier been campaigned

for by Goldwater during his presidential campaigns even though he did not have a chance to

win. However, during the 1980 elections, the self-employed, farm workers and working class

all rallied behind Reagan for he had promised them of a better economy that would increase

employment, reduce taxes and increase wage rates.4

According to Goldwater, he held that the role of any government should be to

preserve and extend freedom to its people. The previous Presidents had increased the over-

dependence of its citizens on the government and this as evidenced by the expanded social

welfare programs that had been implemented all over the USA in the mid-1960s5. Goldwater

being conservative, he believed the fact that such programs had placed an unacceptable

2 Abrams, Burton A., and James L. Butkiewicz. "The political economy of wage and price
controls: evidence from the Nixon tapes." Public Choice 170, no. 1-2 (2017): 4.
3 Goldwater, Barry Morris, and C. C. Goldwater. The conscience of a conservative.
Princeton: Princeton University Press,2007,p.53
4
5.Ibid., p.63
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burden on the taxpayers in the USA yet they were not in any way helping to get them away

from the increased rates of poverty6. Goldwater believed that for a government to have the

welfare of its people at heart, it should instead let the individuals, community charities,

religious organizations, private hospitals among other entities promote it. During his

campaigns, he stated that he would introduce budget cuts mainly aimed at the low-income

individuals and for those who were regarded as being the neediest would be exempted from

the taxations. At the time, a large percentage of the USA population was dissatisfied with the

welfare programs, and thus once Reagan laid out his welfare dissolution policies that had

earlier been indicated by Goldwater, he attracted massive support from the people thus

propelling him into a win.

Goldwater believed in the fact that communism was one of the greatest threats

towards the America nation and its citizens. Additionally, he felt that through communism the

entire world was at risk for it was the principal disturber of the peace. Every nation that had

communist beliefs was, therefore, a threat to every man on earth. To ensure that the USA

overcame communism, Goldwater stated that it was the time the USA strengthened its

military and improved its foreign policies7. In his book, The Conscience of a Conservative,

Goldwater has a chapter titled “The Soviet Menace,” he has outlined various actions that

need to be undertaken to ensure that communism was fully eliminated from the world. His

calls for action were very different from those implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower

who believed that diplomatic relationships with the Soviet would help curb communism8.

Goldwater indicated that it was high time the USA even stopped its foreign aid to communist

nations such as Yugoslavia and Poland. However, for countries that were anti-communist,

Goldwater called for improved foreign policies through foreign aid. Additionally, Goldwater
6 Ibid.,p.64
7 Ibid.,p.81
8 USA Department of State Office of the Historian. Foreign Policy under President
Eisenhower. n.d. Retrieved from https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-
history/eisenhower
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indicated that the USA should not use nuclear weapons to acquire victory during the Cold

War. In general, Goldwater wanted the USA to become a global governance national and

make sure that the nation frees all people by lighting the way for liberty. And this was

followed by the Republican Presidential Candidate.9 During Reagan’s campaign, he noted the

fact that the USA was facing a reduced global standing. He stated that win for a Republican

candidate would ensure that the President pushes for greater military preparedness and have a

close affiliation with nations that aimed at eliminating communism would see the USA

becoming a global leader in pushing for freedom by using its foreign policy instrument,

economic pressure, military, and diplomatic power.

The signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 brought about an end to legal

discrimination against the blacks in department stores, restaurants, and hotels10. However, the

act did not gain support from every person for some felt that it did not have their best interest

at heart. Goldwater became the voice of all the opponents of the Civil Rights Act. In his book,

he described how the conservatives and liberals tried to find a similar end but did not agree

on the methods employed. He stated that the state had every right to make decisions

regarding desegregation. However, he noted that discriminating the blacks was unjust and

would make them inferior. All he wanted was to ensure that all parties would support the

method used in eliminating discrimination. Goldwater, therefore, supported the Southern

states on their stance about civil rights for they wanted each state to have a sovereign power

to implement its laws11. As a result of this, The Democrats lost their control over the Southern

States, and this transition was evidenced during the 1980 Presidential election whereby

Ronald Reagan emerged as the winner. In his campaigns, Reagan gave speeches in support of

Goldwater’s stance on civil rights and called for the implementation of individual/state rights.
9 Goldwater, Barry Morris, and C. C. Goldwater. The conscience of a conservative.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. p.112
10 Bourne, Jenny. "A Stone of Hope: The civil rights act of 1964 and its impact on the
economic status of black americans." La. L. Rev. 74 (2013): 1195
11 Ibid.,p.17
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As a result of this, all southern electorates voted for Reagan, and this is even evidenced today

whereby all Southern states support the Republican Party.

Additionally, Goldwater was a strong advocate of free markets. A substantial number

of the huge companies in the USA colluded with various government officials and thus were

sheltered through the various regulations that were passed. However, these regulations made

it very hard for market entry, and as such, most of the corporations seemed like a fourth

branch of the government. Goldwater believed that competition was vital for the USA

economy for it would help people not to become too reliant on the welfare programs.

Additionally, in a free market economy, the individuals control the resources that are

allocated by way of voluntary market transactions determined by the forces of demand and

supply12. In most cases the economic development and growth of free markets are ascertained

by the rate of risks whereby high risks mean low profits while low risks translate into high

benefits. More importantly, the government has very little control over the market

regulations, and its primary role is to push for market regulations that support investments,

growth and increased employment opportunities for its citizens. Nonetheless, this was not the

case under the presidency on Eisenhower, Nixon and Johnson for the government took

control over the economy through the big companies by favoring them all through. Therefore,

the government was to blame for the increased poverty rates in the USA for it did not create

employment opportunities. The Republican presidential candidate advocated against

protectionism as it was weakening the economy and pushed for the formation of free

markets13. This made the USA citizens heed to his economic growth policies and

improvement of the free trade abilities of the USA. This would help in creating employment

12Nicolaides, Angelo. "Assessing the morality of capitalism, Marxism and the free market
economy." Journal of Economics 7, no. 2-3 (2016).p.114

13Magazzino, Cosimo. "The economic policy of Ronald Reagan: between supply-side and
Keynesianism." European Journal of Social Sciences 27, no 3 (2012):p.4
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opportunities, and people would not become dependent on government welfare programs of

which, it is what they wanted.

Barry Goldwater is one of the most renowned politicians in the USA. Despite not

being able to win any presidential election, his policies have formed the foundation for

successive presidential candidates that have seen them emerge victorious as witnessed from

the Republican Party victory of 1980. Goldwater believed in having a free market that would

allow the economy to grow on its own. This was far away from the protectionism style of

economy that the previous government had tried to implement. The results of such market

style saw high unemployment rates and dissatisfied employees due to low wages. On the

other hand, Goldwater was a strong advocate for Civil Rights. However, he believed that the

states each had the right to formulate their laws and not the federal government. As such, he

pushed for state rights throughout the USA. President Johnson had earlier introduced the

welfare programs with the aim of building a Greater Society.

Nonetheless, according to Goldwater, he pushed for the scraping of welfare

programs for they made the citizens poorer than helping them out. The government was not

helping create jobs or increase wage rates for it was already spoon-feeding its citizens. As

such an elimination of the welfare programs was imminent. Robust foreign policy would also

help the USA become a global leader in military and economic developments. During his

campaign, he was seen as being a radical member of the Republican Party. However, it is

through him that the “New Party” was formed and has become conservative even up-to-date.