1st Edition

The Rise of the Republican Right From Goldwater to Reagan

By Brian M. Conley Copyright 2019
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    Few scholars have paid close attention to the factors internal to the Republican Party that helped the Right to consolidate its power within the party between the 1960s and the 1980s. Plugging the gap in party literature, The Rise of the Republican Right: From Goldwater to Reagan provides a comprehensive account of the rise of the Republican Right in the years between Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential defeat and the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. Specifically, it offers a historical-institutional analysis of the organizational factors internal to the Republican Party that helped the conservative Right maintain, and then expand its ascendant position within the GOP in the critical years between Goldwater and Reagan.

    Brian M. Conley demonstrates how the growth of the Right during this period was aided by a desire on the part of many Republican leaders to rebound from electoral defeat by rebuilding the party organizationally, rather than reforming it politically, through the introduction of a more "service" -oriented party structure.

    The Rise of the Republican Right will interest academics, party scholars, and researchers eager to gain a more nuanced understanding of the factors that helped the Right become a dominant force within the Republican Party.

    1. Introduction 

    2. Ohio and the Akron Fox 

    3. Building the Republican Service Party 

    4. In Service to the Republican Right 

    5. Nixon’s the One? 

    6. Nixon and the Organizational Interlude 

    7. Rebuilding the Republican Right 

    8. Serving the Reagan Revolution 

    9. Conclusion 


    Brian M. Conley is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Program in Political Science at Suffolk University. His principal research interests are in the areas of US electoral politics, political parties, and political marketing and branding.

    "In the period between the defeat of Barry Goldwater and the election of Ronald Reagan, two long-term trends defined the national Republican Party: the growing influence of conservatism within the GOP and the innovative use of the service party concept to help Republicans navigate the 1964 landslide and Watergate. Professor Conley connects these events in a way that helps explain how a resurgent Republican National Committee led by moderate chairs fuelled the conservative Reagan Revolution. The Rise of the Republican Right is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how the Republican Party emerged from these political disasters to reshape the political system for decades to come." Andrew Dowdle, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Arkansas

    "Persuasive, illuminating, and impeccably researched, Conley chronicles the evolution of the modern Republican Party by reviewing the dynamics and demographics, ideology and issues that transformed the modern GOP. As political scientists address the electoral realignments and asymmetric party polarization that defines our current age, it is imperative that we revisit the tectonic forces that remade the Republican Party during a profoundly consequential period of political history." Kevan M. Yenerall, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Clarion University