Making America (History) Great Again–Part 31

As the calls for the impeachment of an American president…..Maj. Danny Sjursen takes a look at the dark days around the Nixon re-election years…….

Maj. Sjursen has a unique way of looking into the soul of American history….his series should be taught…if not in high school then in college…..his perspective is similar to the writings of Howard Zinn, another historian with a great look at our history,,,the good and the bad……

Before we go to Part 31….I want to help my readers able to read all the Parts of this series…..

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28; Part 29; Part 30.

This Part of the series looks at the “Dark Lecacy Of The Nixon Years”…..

He was corrupt. He was petty, angry and resentful. He was also one of the most astute politicians in the annals of the American presidency. Time after time he overcame obstacles and defeats to rise again. His genius, ultimately, was this: He envisioned a new coalition and knew how to channel white resentment over the civil rights and antiwar movements into political triumph. This was his gift, and his legacy. Americans today inhabit the partisan universe that Richard Milhous Nixon crafted. Republican leaders to this very day speak Nixon’s language and employ Nixon’s tactics of fear and anger to win massive white majorities in election upon election. Indeed, though Nixon eventually resigned in disgrace before he could be impeached, the last half-century has been rather kind to the Republican Party. Only three Democrats have been elected president in that period, and Republicans have reigned over the White House for a majority of the post-Nixon era.

For all that, Nixon remains an enigma. Though he crafted a lasting conservative majority among American voters, he also supported popular environmental and social welfare causes. He secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia and orchestrated a right-wing coup in Chile but also reached out to the Soviets and Chinese in a bold attempt to lessen Cold War tensions and achieve detente. A product of conflict, Nixon operated in the gray areas of life. Though the antiwar activists, establishment liberals and African-Americans generally hated him, Nixon won two presidential elections, cruising to victory for a second term. He was popular, far more so than many would like to admit. Although the 1960s began as a time of prosperity and hope, they produced a president who operated from and exploited anxiety and fear, and in doing so found millions of supporters. Nixon was representative of the dark side of American politics, and no one tapped into the darkness as deftly as he did. The key to his success was his ability to rally what he called the “silent majority” of frustrated Northern whites (most of whom traditionally were Democrats) and angry Southern whites (in what came to be known as his “Southern strategy”). It was cynical, and it worked.

As an old fart that remembers these days all too well…..appreciate the observations from this historian…..all Americans need to remember or at least learn about those dark days of the American presidency….so that it cannot happen again……(too late!)……

7 thoughts on “Making America (History) Great Again–Part 31

  1. I never voted for Nixon. Always thought he was pretty mentally unstable, or at I said at the time, crazy. I no longer think he was crazy, but terribly unstable with delusions of paranoia.

    I believe he was much worse than Trump.

    Enjoyed reading the history. He describes it just about like I remember it. Those were some scary times yo live through. And done present historians are saying we almost didn’t, that we came closer to nuclear war than anyone knew st the time, closer than Kennedy brought us. And closer than Ed std now.

  2. Always an enjoyable read. I used to be amazed that anyone who had ever actually seen Nixon would vote for him. Same with Reagan, and now Trump. I recall the anti-Nixon campaign line, “Would you buy a used car from this man?” Well I certainly wouldn’t have.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. He wrote a good part on Carter….I will post it later…..I am pleased that you like the series…I wish more people knew of the Major. chuq

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