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The 1968 presidential election was a watershed in American politics. After dominating the political landscape for more than a generation, the Democratic Party crumbled. Richard M. Nixon was elected president and a new era of Republican conservatism was born. In the wake of another historic election, we look back 40 years to the dramatic story of Campaign '68.


The Minnesota maverick and Vietnam War critic challenged the sitting president, Democrat Lyndon Johnson. He energized young voters as never before.

To his followers, RFK was an almost messianic figure. But he was killed just as his bid for the Democratic nomination appeared to be succeeding.

The Republican candidate promised to end the Vietnam War and to restore law and order to a nation wracked by racial violence. Nixon's slick media campaign became a blueprint for presidential politics to follow.

The sitting vice president won the Democratic nomination and ran a surprisingly competitive campaign without much support from LBJ.

The former Alabama governor stirred the resentments of white, working-class Democrats. His appeal to this voting bloc helped shape GOP political strategy for the next 40 years.

The 1968 presidential contest was marked by surprising turns, tragic violence and a momentous outcome. Three major forces shaped these events: a controversial war, fractious race relations, and the rising power of television.

You can download the radio program, listen online, or read the transcript.

View a timeline of the 1968 campaign season.

See a music listing of the songs on Campaign '68.

Links and resources and credits.