Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I recently saw a Trump supporter refer to those who voted for the next President as, "the silent majority." That phrase was, of course, made famous by Richard Nixon, whose Presidency ended in scandal and the only resignation in our history. It makes me wonder why Trump supporters would so willingly wrap their arms around that legacy. Maybe they don't know?

But it got me thinking about the similarities between Richard M. Nixon and Donald J. Trump. They include:

•  Law and order. Both Nixon and Trump exploited fear about violence by promising that the Federal government could help curb street crime. This has always seemed cynical to me: Men who decry Federal interference in our lives suddenly try to inject themselves into local issues when it helps them earn votes.

•  Demonization of the press. Trump's "dishonest media" is easier to remember but not as musical as the way Nixon's Vice President Spiro Agnew referred to the press: "nattering nabobs of negativism."

•  High-profile daughters. Before Ivanka tried to convince us all that her father cared about women's rights, Julie tried to soften her father's image.

•  Secret plans. Trump doesn't want the bad guys to know how he's going to defeat ISIS, just as Nixon touted a "secret plan" for an end to the Vietnam War. We were in Vietnam for another 7 years. Just sayin'.

There are some very important differences. With time and maturity, I've begun to view Nixon as a multi-dimensional man and think of him with more compassion. Therefore I realize that in some very important ways, the Trump-Nixon comparisons are very unfair to Nixon.

•  Military service. Nixon enlisted in the Navy during WWII. Trump was eligible but avoided military service during Vietnam (even though he was comfortable making fun of John McCain's time as a POW).

•  Public service. Instead of practicing law, which would have been more lucrative, and perhaps easier on his basically introverted nature, Nixon went into politics as a young father and was still in his 30s when he served in the House and the Senate. When Trump was in his 30s, he was starting his own real estate business, seeded by a $1 million loan from his father.

  Marriage. No matter what other sins one may wish to put at Nixon's doorstep, there has never even been a whisper about infidelity in his marriage to Pat. Trump was already married to third wife Melania when he made his infamous Access Hollywood comments about how easy it is for him to fondle women.

Oh yeah, and Nixon voters actually were in the majority.  
If Trump would like to enjoy a smoother ride than Nixon, he might want to remember that Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than he did.