Michael Walsh: Three Things Trump Could Learn from Nixon’s 1968 Campaign

Associated Press

Michael Walsh writes at the New York Post about the three lessons Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump can learn from Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 campaign.

Stop me if you’ve seen this movie before. On the Democratic side is a wounded, unloved establishment candidate tied to the outgoing administration and bearing the burden of a failed war and the challenge of an insurgent candidate from the left. In the Republican corner we have a familiar face, equally adored and despised by the electorate and unanimously loathed by the media, courting a silent majority, pledging to make peace and restoring national honor.

America 2016? No, America 1968.

No historical parallels are exact, of course, and the annus horribilis of 1968 — a year that saw the Tet Offensive, two major political assassinations, race riots and a contentious political convention that featured pitched battles in the streets and a November showdown between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey — is unlikely to be reproduced in all its ugly glory this year.

Still, now that Donald Trump has named Mike Pence as his running mate and prepares to engage Hillary Clinton and whichever fellow traveler she chooses as her running mate, perhaps it’s wise for him to learn some of the political lessons of ’68.

With a potentially long hot summer approaching, he’s going to need all the help from history he can get.

Lesson No. 1: Never give up. In 1968, Nixon was coming off a heartbreaking presidential loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and a crushing defeat in the California governor’s race two years later. He’d held his famous “last press conference” and promised the nation we wouldn’t “have Dick Nixon to kick around any more.” He was about as dead as a politician can be.

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