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Nixon ’68::Trump ’20


Here’s the new RNC ad that Ryan Saavedra mentions. Note to readers — and let this be an evergreen — my quoting or posting an ad for any candidate or cause does NOT mean that I support that candidate or cause. I’m “quoting” this ad here because it tells us a lot about the kind of campaign the Republicans are going to run in 2020:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF0A3nt8ekU]

Here’s a clip from the Gang of Four the Squad appearing on CBS, to call out Nancy Pelosi, of all people, for aiding and abetting racism, and those who issue death threats — this, for criticizing them:


New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is flipping out. From his piece today:

I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.

And I was shocked by how feeble was front-runner Joe Biden’s response to the attack from Kamala Harris — and to the more extreme ideas promoted by those to his left.

Friedman says he wishes the radicals would stifle it and stay focused on the economy, and themes of unity, at least long enough to get Trump out of office. More:

But please, spare me the revolution! It can wait. Win the presidency, hold the House and narrow the spread in the Senate, and a lot of good things still can be accomplished. “No,” you say, “the left wants a revolution now!” O.K., I’ll give the left a revolution now: four more years of Donald Trump.

That will be a revolution.

I know, I know: it’s Thomas Friedman. But you know, he’s right. And look, he’s not talking about the Squad. He’s talking about the party’s presidential aspirants!

With the release of today’s GOP video, it’s clear that Trump is making the Squad the face of the Democratic Party. And this quartet of amateurs are even attacking their party’s leader and framing her as a threat to “women of color.” You watch: none of these Democratic presidential hopefuls are going to criticize the Squad. Only Kamala Harris and Cory Booker might, because they’re black, which gives them some protection — but after what Rep. Ayanna Pressley said at Netroots Nation over the weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Squad responded by calling Harris and/or Booker Oreos.

Golly, 2020 is gonna be lit. Trump is going to run as Nixon ’68, positioning the Democrats as the party of “acid, amnesty, and abortion.” It lacks the alliteration of Tricky Dick’s line, but “open borders, socialism, and anarchy” has a beat, and you can dance to it. Check out this 1968 Nixon campaign ad:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEdtwQ8OguY&w=525&h=300]

Notice the slogan at the end of the ad, one that is repeated on other Nixon ads that year:

If Trump follows Nixon’s successful path, he’ll figure out a way to make the 2020 race a referendum not on particular policy differences, but on rival ways of viewing the world — and make the choice feel like an existential one.

UPDATE: I’m so stupid. A reader points out that “acid, amnesty, and abortion” was Nixon ’72. Still, the general point holds.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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