This debate between Norman Thomas and Barry
Goldwater took place on a college campus in Tucson, Arizona in
November of 1961. The event is mentioned in W.A. Swanberg's biography
of Norman Thomas, Norman Thomas: the Last Idealist, on
page 436. There's no indication in the notes whether Swanberg
had listened to a recording of the debate or if he had cribbed
from a written account of the event. The December 8, 1961 (Volume
2, Number 3) issue of the Socialist Party's newspaper, New
America, had this account:
Norman Thomas addressed a series of successful
meetings in Arizona in late November. In Phoenix he spoke at
the Phoenix Public Library on Conservatism and the Anti-Communist
Craze. The sponsor of the meeting was the New America Forum.
In Tucson, he debated Senator Barry Goldwater, and spoke at a
dinner of the Tucson local of the SP-SDF. A drive to organize
SP-SDF locals and YPSL chapters at Phoenix and Tempe is now taking
place. New America readers in those areas are invited to participate.
Contact George Papeun, 1628 N. Tyndall, Tucson, Arizona.
The opening statements and rebuttals were
followed by a question and answer session. The question and answer
session was not included in the copy we digitized, unfortunately.
Norman Thomas speaks first, then Senator Goldwater.
This is an interesting exchange, especially
as many of the issues remain the same, more than a half century
later. However, while both Thomas and Goldwater have reputations
as ideologists, in truth both were rather more interested in