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Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, the election saw the incumbent president forced out of the race and a Republican elected for the first time in 12 years. It was a wrenching national experience, conducted during a year of violence that included theassassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and subsequent race riots across the nation, the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, widespread opposition to the Vietnam War across university campuses, and violent confrontations between police and anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as the Democratic party split again and again.
This was the last election in which New York had the most votes in the electoral college (43 votes). After the 1970 census, California gained the most electoral votes and has remained the most populous state since then. This was also the last election where at least one state was carried by a third-party candidate. (John Hospers received an electoral vote from Virginia in the next election but did not carry any states.)