Nixon and Trump, Then and Now

Nixon and Trump, Then and Now, by Pat Buchanan.

In many ways, the two men could not have been more different.

Trump is a showman, a performer, a real estate deal-maker, born to wealth, who revels in the material blessings his success has brought. Nixon, born to poverty, was studious, reserved, steeped in history, consumed with politics and policy, and among the most prepared men ever to assume the presidency.

Yet the “mess” Trump inherited bears striking similarities to Nixon’s world in 1969.

Both took office in a nation deeply divided.

Nixon was elected in a year marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, race riots in 100 cities, and street battles between cops and radicals at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. By the fall of 1969, Nixon had buses surrounding his White House and U.S. Airborne troops in the basement of his Executive Office Building.

Trump’s campaign and presidency have also been marked by huge and hostile demonstrations. …

Nixon took office with 525,000 troops tied down in Vietnam. Trump inherited Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history, and wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. …

The battle with the media and the ruling class:

Probably no two presidents have ever faced such hostility and hatred from the media. After his 1969 “Silent Majority” speech on Vietnam was trashed, Nixon declared war, authorizing an attack on the three networks by Vice President Spiro Agnew.

Trump has not stopped bashing the media since he came down the escalator at Trump Tower to declare his candidacy. …

Trump and Nixon were supported by the same loyalists — “forgotten Americans,” “Middle Americans,” “blue-collar Democrats” — and opposed and detested by the same enemy, a political-media-intellectual-cultural establishment. And this establishment is as determined to break and bring down Trump as it was to break and bring down Nixon.

Yet though Trump and Nixon ran up similar Electoral College victories, Nixon at the end of 1969 was at 68 percent approval and only 19 percent disapproval. Trump, a third of the way through his first year, is underwater in Gallup.

Nixon’s downfall — could the same happen to Trump?

[Nixon] then won a 49-state landslide in 1972, creating a “New Majority,” and setting the stage for Republican control of the presidency for 16 of the next 20 years.

But in June 1972, a bungled bugging at the DNC, which Nixon briefly sought to contain and then discussed as the White House tapes were rolling, gave his enemies the sword they needed to run him through.

The same deep state enemies await a similar opening to do to Trump what they did to Nixon. Rely upon it.