I've suggested before that 2016 is beginning to look more and more like 1968. This is true in terms of the presidential contests—on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is Eugene McCarthy, Hillary Clinton is Lyndon Johnson, Joe Biden will be Hubert Humphrey, and (the big question!) Elizabeth Warren could be Bobby Kennedy; and on the Republican side, where Donald Trump is "a kind of cartoon version of Richard Nixon."
But the reason our politics looks like 1968 is that our broader social condition is increasingly reminiscent of 1968. This was brought home in remarks Saturday by Houston district attorney Devon Anderson, after the shooting of Harris County sheriff's deputy Darren Goforth.
"Anderson...said the criticism of police had gotten out of hand: 'It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement,' she told reporters at a news conference."
"The silent majority." The phrase is back, and rightly so. I'm pretty sure the silent majority does support law enforcement, and will speak up. But isn't it time for political leaders to speak for and support the silent majority? Donald Trump claims to do so. Can't the Republican party do better? Won't some other Republican candidate—a current contender, or someone not yet in the race—emerge to speak convincingly for middle America?
After all, when GOP candidates did aim to speak for the silent majority, they won 5 of 6 straight presidential elections (1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988). Since then they've lost the popular vote 5 of 6 times—with the one exception being when George W. Bush came closest to being a silent-majority-type candidate in 2004. Obviously, the phrase won't be enough. There will have to be a re-thinking of Republican and conservative orthodoxy, something both Nixon and Reagan were willing to do. I'd prefer more of a Reaganite than a Nixonian re-thinking. But either way, the time is right and the moment is now.
Hillary Clinton compared Republican views on federal funding for abortion and elective contraception to the views of terrorists. Speaking in Cleveland Thursday, Clinton criticized Republicans who want to limit federal funding for abortions as wanting to deny "access to health care."
"Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be president of the United States," said Clinton. Watch the video below:
With South Carolina removing the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds, state and local Democratic parties seem to have developed an urge to purge. Salena Zito of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on an effort to get rid of the party’s founders:
[In] state after state, the new racial and identity politics of the modern Democratic Party is erasing them from its history.
Republicans have been slow in recognizing the real damage Donald Trump is doing to their party. The harm is not to the party’s image. What Trump has done is exacerbate the increasingly bitter rift between the party’s leaders and its grass roots. He’s made the GOP’s future dicey.
Last night’s debate in Cleveland won’t change the course of the Republican presidential race. But it’s likely to affect individual candidates and how they’re viewed. Some gained, some faltered, some were unaffected.
Cleveland In the first Republican debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, frontrunner Donald Trump spoke for two minutes more than anyone else on stage, a fact that provided a distinct advantage for the other nine candidates on stage. Trump’s performance here tonight was part populist bravado, part indignant defensiveness—and a whole lot of incoherence. Trump opened the debate by refusing to pledge his support for the Republican nominee.
If anyone believed Donald Trump would be any different in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, they were dead wrong. The Donald was his boastful, pugilistic, funny, and entertaining self, starting from the very first question of the night.
Carly Fiorina was the clear winner in a dull and relatively uneventful undercard debate Thursday evening. The former Hewlett Packard CEO was the most composed and effective of the seven candidates taking the stage in Cleveland, getting off a few memorable lines and detailed policy proposals.
Carly Fiorina tried to inspire the nation with a rift about how America is "being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government." She promised to fix that: