Comparing the GOP Divides, 1964 and 2016

Stuart Rothenberg May 24, 2016 · 9:00 AM EDT

With the GOP national convention still almost two months away and Donald Trump already wooing skeptical Republicans, it’s too early to know how divided the Republican Party will be in November. But minimizing that divide is critical to Trump’s prospects.

The party’s last serious fracture occurred in 1964, when a polarizing nominee resulted in a Democratic presidential landslide and disappointing congressional elections.

No, Trump is not Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, and the country and its politics look very different today than they did 52 years ago. Today’s parties are much more ideological and the distance between them is much greater, presumably making defections less likely. And Trump’s problem is not that he is perceived as too ideological.

But, as in the 1960s, a divided party is a defeated party, so the degree to which Republicans close ranks behind their nominee is no less important now than it was five decades ago.

The race for the 1964 Republican nomination and the party’s July convention were incredibly contentious. The GOP’s liberal wing, whose leaders included New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton, believed Goldwater was an extremist who did not support civil rights and would take the nation to the brink of nuclear war. 


Clinton Begins General Election With Advantage

Nathan L. Gonzales May 19, 2016 · 3:00 PM EDT

Even though the general election presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hasn’t officially started, it’s impossible to label the race as a toss-up.

The path is challenging for any GOP nominee. Based on how the majority of states are likely to fall, the GOP nominee needs to…

Nebraska 2: Ashford Has Early Advantage Over Bacon

Nathan L. Gonzales May 19, 2016 · 2:59 PM EDT

Democrats don’t have very many vulnerable House seats to defend, particularly with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, but Nebraska’s 2nd District is one of them. 

National Democrats spent over $400,000 trying to help the weakest Republican candidate win the GOP primary in order to boost…

North Carolina Primaries Could Impact Direction of GOP Caucus

Nathan L. Gonzales May 19, 2016 · 2:58 PM EDT

Amidst all the turmoil of the GOP presidential race and Donald Trump’s surge to the nomination, no Republican incumbent has lost a primary. That streak will come to an end on June 7 in North Carolina but, ironically, it won’t even be the same day as the presidential primary.

The Tar Heel State…

Ratings Change: Minnesota’s 2nd District

Nathan L. Gonzales May 19, 2016 · 2:57 PM EDT

Republican Rep. John Kline is retiring from his competitive, suburban district in Minnesota and expressed concern over the lack of quality GOP candidates to replace him. Those concerns are becoming reality as the seat continues to develop into a primary Democratic takeover opportunity. 

In 2014,…