52 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and the rioting which broke out was the worst civil unrest in this country since the Civil War. Women feared for the safety of their families, and voted accordingly. Richard Nixon, a politician no one liked or trusted, emerged as the beneficiary. He ran as the law and order candidate, and only the candidacy of segregationist George Wallace prevented him from winning in a landslide.
Democrats are the caring, Mommy party, while Republicans are the strict Daddy party. If the rioting around the country continues, and gets worse, Joe Biden will wind up paying the political price. He’s the Mommy party candidate, and when people feel unsafe, they don’t want Mommy, they want Daddy.
1968 was a nightmare of a year. The country seemed on the verge of falling apart. Lyndon Johnson had lied to the country about the war in Vietnam, and the President of the United States was therefor loathed by a strong bipartisan majority of the country. I don’t think a more despised man ever served as President.
The war had the country split down the middle, but Tricky Dick Nixon figured out how to win a majority in the electoral college. When someone says presidential politics is a popularity contest, have them explain President Richard Nixon.
All of which bodes well for President Trump. He can’t win without the votes of people who actively dislike, even loathe him. But the way things are going, he’ll get enough of their votes to win a second term.
You could even make a bumper sticker: Rioters and Looters for Trump.
Robert A. Caro is one of the great presidential biographers, and his four volume “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” is a masterpiece. The fourth volume was completed in 2011, and I’ve been waiting for the fifth, final volume ever since. This will cover Johnson’s prosecution of the Vietnam War, and his ultimate humiliation. It isn’t a pretty story, and there’s no way Caro can make Johnson look any better than he was.
Caro is 84 now, and he’s apparently having trouble bringing his story, Lyndon Johnson’s story, to an end. He greatly admires Johnson’s passage of civil rights legislation, and doesn’t want to tarnish his reputation. But as a professional historian, he has no choice. I think that’s what taking him so long.
If you think I’m being too hard on Johnson, consider this. Our POW’s were being tortured in North Vietnam, but Johnson made sure the American people never found out about it. He was afraid the public reaction would force him to take the measures which could win the war. But he didn’t want to do that, so we never knew.
When Nixon took office in 1969 the stories of torture were allowed to go public, and there was outrage. Fearing that the American public would demand drastic action, the North Vietnamese stopped the torture. From 1969 until they were released in 1973, our fellow Americans, who put their lives on the line for us, no longer had to endure the hideous brutality that went on from the time of their capture until Lyndon Johnson was no longer President.
That’s a story Caro has no choice but to tell. And the great “civil rights champion” Lyndon Johnson will go down in history as the most despicable man ever to hold the office.