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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Nixon and Trump: Similar Men, Different Times

This post appears here.


Bozon said...

Great comparison. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are some large differences, but the similarities are striking.

Americans are up in arms now, partly because the media is even closer to the events unfolding, and even less reticent to muckrake, than in Nixon's time...

I think any American President, who wants to do anything much, has to take extra onstitutional measures.

The office itself is hemmed around with limitations of all kinds.

Only in areas like international trade, and diplomacy, crucial as it turned out, was the President given more powers than the founders had anticipated he should ever have, or need.

Certainly FDR did not shrink from this expansive course, even though he enjoyed wide Congressional, but of course not judicial, support.

Great carefully crafted article.

All the best

Energyflow said...

People who admire Trump compare him to Andrew Jackson, who opposed an established Eastern Seaboard order in favor of the common folk and had a raw way of speaking. Nixon was a conservative ruling in a time of social revolution. The historical trend of the emerging boomer generation and cultural consensus was against him so he became isolated and paranoid. Trump is perhaps on the crest of the historical backlash against just this trend of the 60s and 70s boomers towards a leftwing consensus. The leftwing consensus grew out of the racial /nationalist/imperialist past of Eurasian powers and of course out of our own slavery and jim crow past. Why has this consensus begn to break down? Is the emerging new consensus comparable to Htler, Tojo, British imperialism, Jim Crow racism? Hardly. The economic consensus between 1946-1970 was rising middle class as basis for democracy. After Reagan it became gilded age capitalism. The middle class has been decimated. Now it is every man for himself. This entails naturally a struggle for distribution of ever less wealth. US population has doubled since Nixon.Income has been redistributed upwards, mainly in coastal and regional metropolitan areas which hold onto the old leftwing consensus of increasing equality through income distribution, affirmative action, equal income for women, etc. Under communism there was a problem that work was not worth doing. Doctors earned less than workers. Everyone was equally poor. Among whites and minorities, excluding the small professional class and the rich, equality of poverty is becoming the norm. 50 million live from food stamps. Bernie and Trump together were a rebellion by poor, minority and white, against the rich. Corruption of a Nixonesque Hillary Clinton enabled an outsider into the White House. That he, as a non-politician, with no Washington experience and basis, should react with difficulty towards a Washington media caste is to be expected. The president(Sanders would have been similar) is leading a revolution against a system, unelected govt., security system, banking elite, fourth estate. The press has openly hoped for his assassination. Paranoia is common sense.

Energyflow said...

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Bozon said...


Just a reference or two to add. Randall Collins did a very insightful analysis of charisma, in connection with Trump, and also one comparing the Trump family with the Sopranos family.

In this sense, of course, Trump is quite different from Nixon.

All the best,