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The Ghosts of ’68 Haunt the Election of 2016


The Ghosts of ’68 Haunt the Election of 2016

Michael Winship

Watching the mad, mad, mad, mad world that is the 2016 presidential campaign, I was trying to remember a presidential campaign that was as jaw-dropping, at least in my lifetime, and easily settled on 1968.


For a look at what we might be in for with a Trump presidency, I suggest the novel by Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here. The disaster today might be even more than that predicted by Lewis, as consolidation of executive power is already at an all-time high. Pre-Trump activities would be co-equally culpable in a disastrous Trump presidency.


For a look at what we'd be in for with a Clinton Presidency, look at the reign of Bush II.

Sanders 2016.


That's Sanders 2016!


I helped on the McCarthy campaign in '68 and I remember all too well how the party establishment robbed him of the nomination. Would like to say that the party has become more democratic, but it just ain't so. Watch your back, Bernie.


The press actually covered the McCarthy campaign, that's one of the differences today vis a vis 1968, today the press is ignoring Bernie. Did the MSM cover Bernie at the Pine Ridge Reservation yesterday?, or in Sioux Falls, where people lined up six hours in advance to get a seat. Sioux Falls is not a large city, yet the arena was packed. It is surreal to follow Bernie and realize the world of Washington and the MSM exists on a different plane entirely, Bernie's world goes ahead full steam, with nobody paying attention, except the people in the states he is visiting. The pomposity of pundits in DC and New York ignore Bernie, so what, something is rotten in this campaign, and in American politics, and many know it. Bernie or Bust!


Excellent article.

This is powerful and true, nor is it specific to America. After all, Hitler utilized the German Equivalent in the 1930s to arrive at the same (or worse) outcome:

"During times of insecurity, a sizable minority of Americans has been drawn to forceful figures who confidently promise the destruction of all enemies, real and imagined, allowing Americans to return to a past that never existed."

For Germany, the promise of military potency to make that society great was championed and the premise held major resonance with angry white males. As usual.


Having solicited door to door for McCarthy in 1968, and Sanders this year, the biggest difference I am observing is that the economic plight of more Murkins is more desperate in 2016 and while there is little difference between Trump and Wallace, to say that the Democratic Party's economic agenda today is unrecognizable compared to 1968 is an understatement.

Recall that evil Nixon started EPA and OSHA shortly after being elected. The Democrats would never have done anything close to that when they had total control during 2009-2010.

Cleaning out my basement recently, I found a McCarthy bumper sticker.


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In 1966 Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention rather than cringing from the violence, denial, dissonance and hypnotic consumerism turned it to art and orchestrated the geography of the climate in observations that still echo the chilling immanence of what is in conflict.
It Can't Happen Here


Back in them thar days, I wrote:

'Tis Nixon or Noxin, the hound
In madness to vengeance is bound.
At the rate he is going,
Away we'll be blowing,
No America left to kick 'round.

I guess it is now just a case of, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."


What is also an ironic parallel to Russell Baker's story is the possible triumph of a sitting Vice-President. Should Clinton the Despicable #2 be knocked out of the race on account of her inveterate mendacity and traitorous misconduct, VP Biden could be the Democratic nominee. I see him having an easier time defeating Trump than Clinton.



Don't quit your day job there, Madame Grizelda.


I don't entirely think it is 1968 quite yet. It is a hybrid situation more like 1980. However, one thing is curious, the Kennedy family has been conspicuous by their absence in the endorsement of a candidate. Which just might say it all. After all, President Kennedy gets sited constantly by the Republicans for his tax cuts. Bernie should use Ted's stuff. Though, I did hear The Trumpster once quote Jack Kennedy, " Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. " Really inspiring guy.


At least you can say the transition of power in America is peaceful. We came. we saw, he died, cackle cackle.


Now, that is ancient history. Nothing to see here, please move along.... James Buckley was William F. Buckley's brother and in the Nixon Adm. Among other interesting places, of course.


Let her watch these videos, 1 minute each. What Can a Comedian Teach Us About Propaganda? (Not immediately related to the topic of the article itself.)


Powerful, powerful evidence. Startling. Thanks.


Siouxrose, please read the history of Germany. Adolph HItler was not elected to office (the German people were not so dumb as to elect him to office).

But the German industrialists were deathly afraid of a Marxist revolution and since Hitler was a rabid anti-communist, they convinced President Hindenburg to hold his nose and appoint Hitler Chancellor (the head of government) by telling Hindenburg that they could control Hitler (famous last words). Hindenburg hated Hitler because he was a lowly corporal and Hindenburg was a field marshal. Hitler was not even a German (he was an Austrian).

Once Hitler was Chancellor, he convinced enough conservatives in the Reichstag to join with the Nazis (a minority party like our tea party) and pass and Enabling Act giving Adolph absolute power. The Weimar Republic became a fascist dictatorship becaue the German industrialists did not heed that old warning: "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."

Will US voters stupidly elect Trump president? Given what happened in Germany, I might be optimistic. However, as Mencken said: "Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."

It is true that Hitler wanted to establish the Third Reich (the Roman Empire was the First Reich and the Holy Roman Empire was the Second Reich). And Hitler blamed the government for stabbing the German Army in the back by signing the armistice ending WWI, but this was irrelevant in Hitler's rise to power. The blame for Hitler can be placed solely with the German industrialists who were afraid of a Marxist revolution and didn't care about Hitler bashing Jews and wanting to make Germany great again. If there were angry white males in Germany, they played no role in Hitler's rise to power.