The year 1968 marked a watershed in American politics. Anti-war protests were roiling the country. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead in Memphis. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s approval rating was plummeting. The assassination of Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy would throw the party into disarray, toppling the New Deal coalition built by Franklin Delano Roosevelt two generations earlier and leading to a conservative surge.
The political sea change would drive Republican nominee Richard Nixon to the White House in 1968. And it would eventually elect a former actor and California governor who would change the face of American politics in ways that are still being felt to this day. His name was Ronald Reagan.
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