One of the truly weird things about this Presidential election, is the way that both Democrats and Republicans have ignored their most effective lessons in political campaigning. For Democrats, the last time they truly routed the Republicans in a Presidential election, was when Lyndon Johnson crushed Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964. Johnson’s repertoire included a long resume of legislation and long name recognition, as well as tremendous political infighting skills. If Kennedy was the charismatic image of the Democratic Party in 1960, Lyndon Johnson in 1964 was the unstoppable force. Yet no Democrat has copied the LBJ model since then.
It’s not as though the Republicans have been smarter, however. Ronald Reagan was undeniably the most successful Republican President in more than a century, and he absolutely destroyed Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale. His composition of personal authenticity and clear conservative values appealed to Americans across the board. Yet no Republican since Reagan has made a serious effort to run a ‘Reagan-style’ campaign.