1964: Barry Goldwater
Producers: Clifton White and Russ Walton
This unconventional campaign film begins with a car speeding and skidding in the desert, meant to symbolize the Johnson administration, inter-cut with people dancing in a club to a spy-film soundtrack. It aimed to display the dichotomy between a “moral” America with farmland, smiling children and traditional labor against a “depraved” America with race riots and strippers.
The controversial film was seen as racially divisive, condemned by Goldwater and pulled before it could officially expand further than two markets.
Goldwater would handily lose the election to incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson, but the film was one of the most controversial aspects of the 1964 campaign, perhaps only outdone by LBJ’s infamous Daisy ad.
Result: Not elected.