Friday, July 22, 2016

American Presidential Politics as Apocalyptic Drama

I am not particularly interested in the history of American presidential politics. It doesn't take a PhD. in history (something I actually have), however, to see that virtually every presidential election since the 1960s (and likely every presidential election before World War II) seems, at least if you listen to the media and partisans of each presidential candidate, to be a war between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

In 1964 Republican Barry Goldwater was portrayed as the beast of the apocalypse who would end the world literally if the famous television advertisement of the LBJ campaign was to be believed. In 1968 many suggested that Republican Richard Nixon, if elected, would bring about the end of America and the world as Americans knew it. By 1972 when Nixon ran for re-election the world hadn't ended but many said it would if he were re-elected. In the late 1970s many Republicans and even some Democrats thought that Democratic president Jimmy Carter was bringing about the end of America the great. In 1980 many prophesied that Republican Ronald Reagan would bring about the end of the world if elected. He almost did though not in the way most imagined it would end when the Soviets misread NATO war games in Scandinavia as an attack on them. In the 1990s many thought that Democrat Bill Clinton was the very essence of evil in the modern world and that he was bringing an end to America as "Americans" knew it. In 2000 many prophesied that Republican George Walker Bush would end the world. He didn't even though he led the US into two wars and a massive budget deficit. From 2008 to 2012 many Republicans thought that Barack Obama was involved in a liberal, commie, nazi, Muslim conspiracy to end America as "Americans" knew it. Currently Democrats and Republicans proclaim that if Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton are elected the world world as each of them know it or wish it was will end.

All this end time apocalyptic rhetoric is enough to make one believe that fear is a Democrats and Republicans best friend...

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