Riots Helped Elect Nixon in 1968. Can Trump Benefit From Fear and Loathing Too?Historians in the News
tags: conservatism, 1968, Richard Nixon, presidential elections, Donald Trump, Law and Order
Timothy Naftali, a New York University historian who was founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California, rates Trump’s chances at being re-elected less highly. Like Rather, he is convinced that Trump is copying the Nixon playbook.
“He is absolutely trying to revive the 68 metaphor. He is scrambling in a cynical and irresponsible way to ginny the system so that he can eke out a victory,” Naftali said.
But Naftali went on to argue that his literal repeat of Nixon’s “law and order” gambit might be Trump’s undoing, as it is based upon a fundamental misreading of history. Nixon in 1968 was the outsider, seeking to challenge a Democratic White House in the form of the lame-duck president, Lyndon Johnson.
Trump, by contrast, is an incumbent president trying spuriously to wrap himself in the cloak of the outsider. “It shows the absurdity of the man that Trump thinks he can run as an outsider when he is the ultimate insider. He got it wrong. He clearly misunderstands the moment. The 68 analogy is a trap he is creating for himself.”
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