By Robert Mason
Nixon's "silent majority" speech of 1969 not only undermined the growth of the antiwar movement, Mason shows, it also identified a constituency for Nixon to cultivate in order to secure reelection. However, the implementation of his new-majority project was hindered by the resort to dirty tricks against political opponents and the ineffectual pursuit of a policy agenda. Although some Nixon initiatives were enacted, says Mason, they were not substantial enough to rival the Democrats' bread-and-butter issues. While Nixon built Republican strength at the presidential level, Mason argues that he did not succeed in mobilizing popular support for broad-based political conservatism.
- Chapel Hill, NC