Similar to Kennedy, he would have to run for re-election in 1964, and he had less than a year to convince skeptical northern and western liberals that a Southerner was an acceptable leader for the national Democratic party.
Age was not the only factor in the election. Kennedy was also Roman Catholic, and no Catholic had ever been elected President before. , a Catholic, suffered a crushing defeat to in 1928. This raised serious questions about the electability of a Catholic candidate, particularly in the Bible Belt South. Questions were raised about Kennedy's ability to place national interests above the wishes of his Pope.
1912 Presidential Election - The American Presidency …
President Lyndon B. Johnson, who took office following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, enhanced his image as a tough legislator by winning a hard-fought battle to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which guaranteed African-Americans access to all public facilities, and banned discrimination by race, religion, or sex. The Vietnam War was escalating, but had yet to become a real liability for Johnson.
Volume 8, Number 4, Winter 2005
It was symptomatic of the problems of Democratic presidents that Kennedy was taking his re-election bid first to Texas, the key southern state that had to be kept in the Democratic party if the Democrats were to retain the White House in 1964.
Liberalism’s Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of ..
Both President Kennedy and President Johnson had to deal with opposition in Congress, opposition within the Democratic Party, and the political realities of their prospective campaigns for re-election.