This Ad by Republicans Against Barry Goldwater Basically Predicted Donald Trump


“When the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor for the candidate of my party, either they’re not Republicans or I’m not,” says the thoughtful-looking man as he stares into the camera.

You wouldn’t be at fault for assuming such a line was used to describe the existential crisis within the Republican party today, as it wrestles with the very real prospect of Donald Trump becoming its presidential nominee. But it’s actually a direct quote from “Confessions of a Republican,” a 1964 television advertisement attacking thennominee Barry Goldwater. It features an actor playing a lifelong Republican who struggles to come to terms with the Arizona senator’s rise.

The classic campaign ad has resurfaced today because of its eerie parallels to the 2016 election and the increasingly likely chance that Trump will secure the GOP nomination.

“This man scares me,” the man in the ad says. “Now maybe I’m wrong. A friend of mine said to me, ‘Listen, just because a man sounds a little irresponsible during a campaign doesn’t mean he’s going to act irresponsibly.’ You know, that theory that the White House makes the man—I don’t buy that.”

For nearly five minutes the actor ponders the implications of his party’s nominee, regretting that he did not go to the San Francisco convention and oppose him. He concluded by urging Republican support of the Democratic candidate, Lyndon Johnson.  

“I think my party made a bad mistake in San Francisco, and I’m going to have to vote against that mistake on the third of November.”

That’s probably where the parallels to today end.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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