When Texas fell to the wingnuts: The secret history of the Southern strategy, modern conservatism and the Lone Star State

From the vantage point of most Dallas Republicans in early 1963, Barry Goldwater represented the brightest hope for national conservative Republicanism since the death of Robert Taft in 1953. Annoyance with the New Deal, particularly the National Industrial Recovery Act’s wage and price controls, which interfered with the management of his family’s department store, led to Goldwater’s first foray into politics as a member of the Phoenix city council. A successful candidate for the United States Senate in 1952, Goldwater assailed President Truman’s New Deal. Campaigning for reelection in 1958, he attacked “labor bosses” and unions with even more ferocity than in 1952. The Arizona senator’s views echoed those of many North Texas businessmen. Enclosing a thousand-dollar check, Fort Worth oilman W. A. Moncrief wrote to Goldwater that Walter Reuther, the president of the United Auto Workers, was “the most powerful and dangerous man in America today.” Seven months later, Goldwater made a similar point. Reuther, he said, was “a more dangerous menace than the sputniks or anything that the Russians might do.”