Poor Barry Goldwater; he was just born too early. Much has been written about Goldwater’s historic wipeout in 1964; the conventional wisdom, which held for many years, was that America could only go so wingnut. Once a guy started to be associated, fairly or not, with the John Birch Society and unrepentant neoconfederates from the deep south, he would not only lose, but lose spectacularly, in the general election no matter the opponent.