How to Lose a Presidential Election in the 20th Century

Presidential Election
Abbie Rowe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Killer Campaign Ads

Tragically, Kennedy would be assassinated after only a thousand days in office and his vice President Lyndon B Johnson is sworn in as the new president. Johnson would quickly seek to be voted in as president on his own merits and soon began campaigning for the 1964 election. His opponent would eventually be the extremely conservative Republican Barry Goldwater, whose campaigning would allude to the fact that he may be in favor of using nuclear weapons to end the war in Vietnam.

With the help of famed advertising creator Tony Schwartz, the Johnson campaign would jump on this remark and create an advert that remains controversial to this day. The infamous “Daisy” Ad. Playing on the Cold War fears of an impending nuclear war with the Soviets, the advert had a little girl counting to ten as she’s picking petals off a daisy, only for it to transition into a countdown for a nuclear launch. Goldwater’s invocation of nuclear weapons would cost him his political ambitions.

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