From the beginning of the chapter:
In the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election, historian Richard Hofstadter noted the irony in the fact that it was Goldwater's nomination which had paved the way for the Great Society:
"No other Republican could have made such a startling contribution to the first really significant and general extension of the New Deal since the 1930's. It was his campaign that broke the back of our postwar practical conservatism."
If Hofstadter could have reflected on the Goldwater-campaign and the fate of American conservatism ten years later, he would probably have noted other ironical twists of fate. Despite all the obituaries, the conservative wing of the Republican Party had prevailed, while the liberal wing had virtually been destroyed. American political parties have been compared to worms: if they are chopped in two, one of the parts will wriggle away and regenerate itself. Seen in retrospect, it was the conservative part of the GOP that kept wriggling. How can we explain this development? What happened between Goldwater's devastating defeat in 1964 and the conservative ascendance in the late 1970s? To what extent did the Goldwater-campaign itself serve as a catalyst for the process, and what role did the emerging conservative counter-establishment play?