November 8, 1966. Election Day. LBJ casts his vote at the Pedernales Electric Coop, Johnson City, Texas.
The campaigning in these midterm elections has been fierce: after the 1964 Demoratic sweep, the Republicans have rebounded and are focused on issues of inflation; the costs of the Great Society programs, and those programs’ failures and disappointments; crime; racial strife and riots; a stalled Vietnam War effort, as well as its rising toll in money and lives; and the perceived ”credibility gap” of the Johnson administration on many of these issues.
Democrats had enjoyed two years of a 295/140 majority in the House, and 67/33 majority in the Senate, and have controlled the majority of state governors and legislatures. Few Democrats expect to keep all of their contested seats: the question is how many they will lose. LBJ, for his part, was too good a student of politics to not expect a backlash against his policies—as early as February 1965 he warned his staff that their days of effective leadership were numbered.
LBJ Presidential Library photo #3849-30a. Public domain.