The reasons as to why it was politically necessary for him to have been there that day.
Historical memory, often, needs to be reawakened from some stagnant slumbers. With every passing anniversary of the assassination, fewer and fewer people accurately, correctly, know why he was there and what exactly he was really doing in that one particular city where he was shot to death. President John F. Kennedy was very afraid of losing the Solid South (named so because of the Democratic Party’s grip on that region) or at least most of it to US Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party nominee, in the then upcoming 1964 presidential election. Those are the objective circumstances.
Too many people, assuming some people have that much recall, forget this really major fact in the rush to say that, supposedly, JFK would have (his admirers had later claimed) easily defeated Goldwater. If so, the then Democratic candidate, who was also the then actual President by the way, did not really have to ever go to Texas to campaign, rather intensely so, for those volatile Southern votes. But, Pres. Kennedy’s victory was supposedly yet assured.
Historicist accounts, meaning done by those who read backwards into history qua historicism, would conveniently support such a very tenuous, at best, supposition not based upon the facts. A Democrat President ought not to have felt the real need to reach profoundly into the deep South, to say the least, for what ought to have been simply expected votes, especially with already having a Texan VP: Lyndon B. Johnson. The empirical test of political reality is, however, what had actually happened, not what clearly biased JFK worshippers would wish to believe, as to the merely assumed but still false “truth” being propounded endlessly.
Kennedy was, in fact, in a rather tight political contest with Goldwater and, consequently, the former needed to be, at that particular time, in that Southern state, which ought not to have been the desired case, meaning if he were truly confident of past party affinity and loyalty there. Goldwater lost not to JFK but to his quickly-fabled ghost, as the unfortunately slain President was re-interpreted by the mass media; he was, lovingly and lavishly, depicted as being some notable kind of martyr sacrificed on the high altar of “Liberalism,” which was not, back then, a dirty term of public reference.
No Republican, that particular year, could have possibly succeeded in defeating LBJ who ran, in terms of the psychological conditions of that time, as a seeming “conservative” campaigning against the then widely denounced “radical” Goldwater; the latter was vilely portrayed, by most of the press, as a mad bomber-type fanatic, with real mental problems no less, who would, as suggested, put at least a half million ground troops in Vietnam if elected; for the record, it was the highly duplicitous LBJ, the peace candidate, who, in fact, later did so with gusto.
If the contest had only remained Goldwater v. Kennedy, many informed observers would not, at a minimum, have been so readily sanguine about the probable results as to assume automatically that JFK would still have (easily) won.
Moreover, a Goldwater victory, backed by most (or, perhaps, all) of the Southern states was not at all inconceivable prior to the momentous assassination of Kennedy; the post-assassinated politician was essentially deified and glorified in terms of what- later- became called a new age of Camelot that supposedly had existed in the White House and, by extension, in America itself. It is, in short, a feature of massive ideological propaganda, aided by much massive and still ongoing historicism, which now overwhelmingly idolizes JFK as having been some sort of a domestic demigod-martyr.
The following hard truth must, thus, be realistically said with needed emphasis. It was not, therefore, LBJ who had, ultimately speaking, decisively defeated Goldwater but, rather, the ever hovering ghost of JFK, which no Republican candidate (in reiteration) could have ever successfully campaigned against, in 1964, with any real hope of winning. Kennedy’s tragically fateful appointment in Dallas, as has been properly noted, ensured the highly easy victory that he himself was not that likely to have gained had he been the then living candidate standing for his reelection.
LBJ’s winning was held to be a much needed and truly superb vindication of the allegedly noble spirit of JFK and his hallowed memory, moreover, sanctified everlastingly by solidly defeating Goldwater. And, this absurd ideological belief exists, however, only as the forever sanctimonious nonsense it truly is. But, the political mythology involved is so tremendously pervasive, within the popular mind, such that the bold myth will, nevertheless, forever so remain as an assumed predominant fact, regardless of the historical known truth to the contrary.