Democratic Party's 40 Years of Change


President Johnson (search) declares war … on poverty.

Three civil rights workers are murdered in Mississippi.

Race riots break out in Harlem and throughout the U.S.

American forces attack North Vietnam in response to an alleged attack on a U.S. destroyer off the Vietnamese coast. Congress passes the gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gives President Johnson the power to escalate combat actions in Vietnam.

The World's Fair opens in New York.

Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa (search) is convicted of fraud, conspiracy and jury tampering.

Cassius Clay — the future Muhammad Ali — beats Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight title.

Beatlemania sweeps the nation as the mop heads from England set new ratings records with their appearances on the Ed Sullivan show on CBS. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves Me" are the top two hit singles.

Box office hits are "Goldfinger," "Mary Poppins"  and "Dr. Strangelove."

In the middle of all this, the Democrats hold their presidential nominating convention in Atlantic City.

It had been just nine months since President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the psychological wounds were still raw.

On the night of Aug. 27, 1964, Robert Kennedy addressed the delegates. They listened to him speak of his dead brother and the need to be strong overseas if we are to make progress at home.

Lyndon Johnson would be nominated for his own term as president. After trying to hide his choice from the media, he would pick Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey as his running mate.

If you think the political rhetoric is bad now, consider what Martin Luther King Jr. (search) Said about the republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater. King said Goldwater's nomination would aid racists. He said the GOP convention in San Francisco was a "frenzied wedding of the KKK and the radical right."

The Democratic Party was different in many ways in 1964. Kennedy had been for lower taxes and a foreign policy that would "pay any price and bear any burden" in the pursuit of liberty. After his assassination and the disaster of Vietnam, the party would never be the same.

Today's Democrats are for higher taxes and they have mostly joined Republicans as the co-party of big government. They have also demonstrated extreme caution about foreign entanglements, which is not necessarily a bad thing. 1964, what a year! Some believe it signaled the beginning of a lot of bad times to come.

And that's Column One for this week.

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