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The Landslide Election of 1964

Forty years ago, incumbent Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater in a presidential election that reshaped America's electoral landscape. It was a strange campaign of polar opposites. The Republican Party fought its last rear-guard battle against FDR's New Deal of the 1930s, while the Democrats promised a "Great Society" and a new health program to be called Medicare. The national mood was liberal and the outcome was never in doubt.

But what made the election so unprecedented — and so prophetic — was a party switch that would have seemed unimaginable just four years earlier. As part of his series of essays for All Things Considered, commentator and former CBS-TV news anchor Walter Cronkite recalls the presidential election of 1964.

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Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite has covered virtually every major news event during his more than 65 years in journalism - the last 54 affiliated with CBS News. He became a special correspondent for CBS News when he stepped down on March 6, 1981 after 19 years as anchorman and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. Affectionately nicknamed "Old Iron Pants" for his unflappability under pressure, Mr. Cronkite's accomplishments -- both on-air and off -- have won him acclaim and trust from journalism colleagues and the American public alike.
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