Ronald Reagan Draft Movement for the 1968 Presidential Nomination Takes Off
In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget.
Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support and be a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor second-place Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place.
Ronald Reagan could have been elected president eight years earlier, and the consequences of that election for America could have been vast. Could Reagan have won the nomination in 1968? Yes. Reagan actually entered the Republican Convention with more votes in primaries than any other Republican candidate. Reagan, four years earlier, had given "The Speech" in praise of Barry Goldwater, and that speech electrified America.
While Republicans in 1964 rejected Barry Goldwater as a right-wing nut, by 1968 Goldwater was a hero to virtually all Republican leaders. When he appeared before the 1968 Convention, he received a genuine, strong and passionate welcome. No one, not even leftist commentators, could fail to note the courage, dignity and conviction of this great American.