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Barry Goldwater was a businessman, a Phoenix city councilman, and a prominent U.S. Senator from Arizona. He loved flying his plane across the state's diverse landscapes, and most would say he was a pretty good photographer.
In the biggest race of his life, the 1964 presidential election, Goldwater lost significantly to Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ walked away with 61.1% of the popular vote and 486 electoral votes, leaving Goldwater with 52.
So why has Goldwater been called the face of modern conservatism? Why have some historians credited him for paving the way for Republican Party icon Ronald Reagan?
That's the subject of this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, that answers questions you ask about metro Phoenix. Producer Taylor Seely journeys through Goldwater's life with historians Michael Rubinoff and Brooks Simpson, stopping in at key moments in Goldwater's timeline that help explain his impact on contemporary U.S. politics.
In this episode you'll hear:
- How growing up in Arizona and taking over the family business amid President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs shaped Goldwater's political ideology.
- Why Goldwater got involved in politics in the first place, starting with Phoenix City Council.
- What made Goldwater unique for his time, and how his political brand redirected the Republican Party's ideological trajectory.
- How Goldwater's conservatism compares to the conservatism of today.