Nixon Now

Nixon, of course, had plans for Connally that went beyond the 1972 ticket if they could be arranged.  Erlichman recalled much later:  “Ond eay the President, Connally, and I were discussing our legislative problems.  Nixon remarked that over the years we had created a working coalition of Congressional Conservatives and Moderates which had in it as many Democrats as Republicans.  Nixon and Connally speculated that Nixon had the support of millions of conservative Democratic voters too.  Looking ahead . . . Nixon and Connally began daydreaming about forming a new political party which might attract voters all across the middle and right of the political spectrum.  They could realign Congress too. . . . We tossed out some names, borrowed from other countries.  We talked about the true meaning of the labels “Liberal” and “Conservative”.

“Nixon speculated that he could get the new party started by calling a convention of the political leaders of the Center and Right.  The Nixon people in each state could be formed into nuclei to create state parties.  Nixon and Connally would be elected president and vice president in 1972 by the new coalition party and could bring in with them a majority in both houses of Congress.  Both Nixon and Connally had been in politics long enough to realize the near impossibility of quickly creating such a re-alignment,  but they were sufficiently intrigued with the notion that they wanted to have more thought given to it. . . . I learned later that there had been a conversation between Nixon and Connally at which they agreed to wait until after the 1972 election to consider the new party further.  But as far as they were concerned, it remained a possibility.  I wonder if 1974 might have seen the birth of a coalition party of everyone but the damn liberals had Watergate not intervened.”

According to neutral observer, Robert Sam Anson, in his book about Nixon in Exile, Nixon finally concluded that Connally could reach the presidency by running for it himself as a Republican, after which the “Republican Party would be abolished four years later.”  In its place, Anson wrote, a “new party would be formed along British political lines. . . . Though Connally, as president, would be the party’s titular head, Nixon planned a major role for himself in its shaping and running.  From his operatives in every state would come the party nucleus; from him personally would come its guiding principles.  He also would direct the process of creating the assembly of its first convention, the mode and manner of its operation, and, he was certain, its eventual domination of the American political scene.”

— Jules Witcover, Very Strange Bedfellows (Nixon and Agnew), 209-210

Large excerpt from Ehrichman Witness to Power 259-260

Why should the dream die?  We should all get to work to create a Nixon Party, under the Guiding priciples and political philosophy of Richard Nixon.


Mr. Roosevelt’s hope to free the Democratic Party from its dependence upon the solid South is based upon his confidence in the New Deal control of such states as Pennsylvania.  He is too astute a politician to believe that 1940 will repeat the sweep of 1936.  But I think he believes that in a number of so-called “crucial” states — Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, California, his 1932, 1934, and 1936 election victories have brough the Democratic organization to unprecedented political strenght.  The organization in these states, having received its great impetus because of Mr. Roosevelt is, and doubtless will remain dependably New Deal.  If it can remain strong enough to continue to carry those states for the party then — obviously — there is much less need than in the past to worry about the Solid South.

Moreover, Mr. Roosevelt knows that if he manages to keep control of the Democratic organization, he will keep the party name.  If he keeps the party name it is is obvious, because of the momentum of habit and tradition — that the party will continue to carry a large part of the South. […]

There is, of course, another possibility in the political upheaval which is appearing in the wake of Mr. Roosevelt’s second New Deal.  It is possible — though, as yet, hardly probable — that the New Deal may be oliged to throw over the Democratic Party, lock, stock, and barrel.  I do not think that Mr. Roosevelt would relish any such move — regardless of how confident he might be that he could make it successful.  He is versed, as few men, in the history of party politics in the United States and he knows the odds against third party movements.  If the New Deal becomes, in effect, a third party movement, it will not be because that was Mr. Roosevelt’s first choice.

Roosevelt and Then?  Stanley High, 1937, 277-279.  Actually the most interesting chapter of this book is about the young turks — Maury Maverick and others, due to the question “What became of the?”  Pretty much voted out of office in the coming decade.

Leave a Reply