Modern Republicanism

Upon Dwight Eisenhower’s landslide victory in 1956, against the backdrop of party losses, from Stephen E Ambrose Nixon — The Education:

“You know why this is happening, Dick?” he finally said.  “It’s all those damned mossbacks and hard-shell conservatives we’ve got in the party.  I think that what we need is a new party.”  His thoughts turned to the crowd waiting in the ballroom.  “You know,” Eisenhower said, “I think I will talk to them about Modern Republicanism.”  Nixon was aghast.  He had tied his fortunes to the Republican Party, as it was and without any preceding adjectives.  He strongly urged the President to avoid any such language, but Eisenhower did it anyway.  When he announced his victory for the Modern Republicanism, party regulars took it as a boast that he had won by himself, and as a threat to the Old Guard.  As Nixon laconically noted in his memoirs, this caused a “slightly sour note in some Republican circles.”
It would have been even sourer if Republicans had known that their President soon began scribbling on legal pads during especially dull meetings a list of those who he felt might join him in a new party, which he wanted to call the Americans for Modern Republicanism Party.  Nixon’s name headed all his lists.  Fortunately for Nixon, the thought of a third party always remained a fantasy.  […] As Eisenhower must have known, Nixon outside the Republican Party was as unimaginable as Truman outside the Democratic Party.


Decades later, Nixon contemplated dropping the Republican Party and forming a party around his values.  It seems everyone wants to create a third party under his own image.
What ate at Eisenhower as the 1960 presidential contest came into focus?  The threat of two parties seeking increases in Domestic Spending, sure, but also tax cuts and especially increases in Military Spending.  Sounds like a good party.

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