Donald Trump's Presidency

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Student Question

Do you see similarities between the 1968 and 2016 elections? Give three points of comparison.

Expert Answers

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In the United States presidential election held on on Tuesday, November 5, 1968, the Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, defeated the incumbent vice president, Hubert Humphrey. The period was one of major social and cultural upheaval, with frequent and often televised protests supporting the Civil Rights Movement and opposing the unpopular Vietnam War. Some might argue that these protests were similar to the "#MeToo" movement and other recent political protest movements.

An additional similarity was the Democratic nomination process, which pitted Eugene McCarthy, an older leftist populist strongly opposed to the Vietnam War, against Humphrey, a moderate who was the eventual nominee. McCarthy generated much of the same enthusiasm as Bernie Sanders, and disappointment over his not getting the nomination left internal wounds and divisions in the Democratic Party in a way similar to the divisiveness fostered by the Sanders movement.

Finally, Nixon, like Trump, had a history of acting at the margins of the law, with a string of minor scandals before his presidency and habits of considering himself above the law, which eventually culminated in the Watergate scandal.

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