Red, white and blue background with white and blue text and a red and blue heart
EMRESS SPECIALTY CO. illegible, union bug
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. He also touted his largely successful War on Poverty, which brought about programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.
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 “LBJ’s for LBJ!”. Although Goldwater “built his career on bashing unions,” many of these campaign pin-backs were ironically created and worn by union members. Ultimately, Johnson carried 44 states along with the District of Columbia and won in a landslide. He remained in the Oval Office for four more years until Richard M. Nixon took over in 1969.
Political buttons like “LBJ’s for LBJ!” were widely manufactured by the Emress Specialty Company in the 1960s. The business was started a decade prior by New Yorker Emanuel “Manny” Ress in Atlantic City with the hopes of one day pinning his buttons on politicians. Once his dreams were fulfilled, Ress later branched out to include humorous buttons among his products.
270 to Win. (n.d.). 1964 presidential election. https://www.270towin.com/1964_Election/
Lardner, R. (1952, April 12). Alliteration is reputation. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1952/04/19/alliteration-is-reputation
Queens man off to Atlantic City to push buttons (1964, August 25). New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1964/08/25/archives/queens-man-off-to-atlantic-c...