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Bye Bye Birds

Bye Bye Birds Ice Breakers Button Museum
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Bye Bye Birds button back Ice Breakers Button Museum
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Red text on yellow background

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union bug

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The 1964 U.S. presidential election saw a contentious battle play out between incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson and his Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. Johnson championed his passage of the 24th Amendment, which outlawed poll taxes, as well as the Civil Rights Act. Lyndon and his wife Claudia were sometimes referred to as the “Birds” due to the First Lady’s nickname. Born Claudia Alta Taylor, she was called “Lady Bird” from a young age when her nursemaid remarked that she was as “purty as a ladybird.”

In contrast, Goldwater ran on the promise of lower taxes and states’ rights. He was also a fierce opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and believed that the Johnson administration was overreaching its powers. To show their support, Goldwater’s defenders donned anti-Johnson buttons that read “Bye Bye Birds” and “Lady Bird, Lady Bird, Fly Away.” Although Goldwater “built his career on bashing unions,” many of these campaign pin-backs were ironically created and worn by union members. In the end, Johnson carried 44 states along with the District of Columbia and won in a landslide.


270 to Win. (n.d.). 1964 presidential election.

Heritage Auctions. (2009, November). Barry Goldwater: Lot of approximately ninety small pinbacks.

Rauch, J. (2017, July/August). The conservative case for unions. The Atlantic.

The White House. (n.d.). Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson.

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