Goldwater Republican

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Dating from 1964 in the United States, the year Barry Goldwater tried unsuccessfully for the office of president.


Goldwater Republican (plural Goldwater Republicans)

  1. (US, politics) A member of the Republican Party whose policies resemble those of Barry Goldwater, including support for the smallest government possible at the federal level, as well as social libertarianism.
    • 1964, The Man on the Bandwagon, TIME Magazine, July 12, 1964, [1]:
      For months he insisted that he did not want the nomination, would not seek it, and would only reluctantly accept a genuine draft. Despite Scranton's repeated statements, it was behind him that anti-Goldwater Republican leaders late last week tried to rally -- and Scranton showed signs of acquiescence.
    • 1994, Goldwater Defending Clinton; Conservatives Feeling Faint, Timothy Egan, The New York Times, March 24, 1994, [2]:
      "A lot of people who think of themselves as Goldwater Republicans do not know what it really means to be a Goldwater Republican," said Tom Paniccia, a former Air Force sergeant who was discharged from the military last year after he had proclaimed his homosexuality. "He has always had a near libertarian stance on keeping government out of people's lives."

Usage notes[edit]

Usage continues to the present day, as Goldwater continued to be a noted presence in the Republican Party until his retirement from the Senate in 1987. In practice, the term Goldwater Republican is now used by people who are dissatisfied with the Republican Party's current focus on social issues and family matters.