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Letter: Troubling echoes

A disconcerting aspect of the upcoming presidential election is its similarity to the Humphrey/Nixon race of 1968. With the backdrop of the turmoil of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movement, the Gene McCarthy campaign, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the election pitted an establishment Democrat against a law-and-order Republican appealing to a “silent majority” of older white voters.

The disillusionment of young voters (equivalent to today’s Millennials) with the Democratic Party was a major factor in the election of Richard Nixon and all its future ramifications.

Also of historical concern is the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush, in which the third-party candidacy of Ralph Nader (and a curious spate of votes for Pat Buchanan in Florida) led to Bush winning in the Electoral College despite Gore winning the overall popular vote. Here again there were future ramifications. Similarly, Ross Perot’s campaign helped Bill Clinton be elected.

The current Clinton/Trump contest, with the overwhelming focus of both parties on how catastrophic will be the outcome if the opponent wins, is discouraging enough without these gloomy historical precedents, but, as the Buddhists say, we shall indeed see what the future brings.

Robert Porath

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Boulder


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