Midterm Elections: 1966 Midterms Signal a Realignment, Shaping Today’s Parties

Lesson Duration

From Retro Report

“Southern voters, once loyal to the Democratic Party, elected Republican candidates in 1966 as the two parties began to sort themselves into distinctly partisan camps.”

Centered on the short documentary (9:14) Midterm Elections: 1966 Midterms Signal a Realignment, Shaping Today’s Parties, this lesson likely fits best in a U.S. History class examining the 1960s or the Civil Rights Movement or in an American Government/Civics class covering campaigns and elections. Transcript included.

This lesson is part of the Midterm Elections Collection featuring films, podcast episodes and lessons that focus on historical and contemporary midterm elections; presented in partnership with Retro Report and New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101 podcast. 

Objectives -

  • Evaluate election results from 1964 to make predictions about future elections.
  • Judge the impact of the Civil Rights movement and legislation on elections in the mid-1960s and beyond.
  • Compare and contrast the political issues of the 1966 midterm election with the current midterm election cycle.

Extension activities:

  • Research influential politicians during the 1966 midterm election and examine the party affiliation of these figures before, during and after the 1966 election.
  • Identify voting trends, describe key political issues and explain what is meant by the term “realigning election.” (Quantitative analysis free response question [FRQ] for AP U.S. Government and Politics courses)




Retro Report is a documentary news organization dedicated to examining stories after their headlines fade; it is non-partisan, independent and nonprofit.