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How Nixon's Presidency Marked The Turn to More Conservative Politics

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This year marks 50 years since Richard Nixon won the presidential election in 1968, beating then Democratic nominee Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The beginning of his presidency marked the end of an era of tumultuous activism across the country, anti -Vietnam protests and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boston was not spared from that volatility. Nixon’s election also marked a shift to more conservative politics. As part of our year long series, 1968 +50, WGBH’s Morning Edition anchor Joe Mathieu spoke with John Farrell, a presidential biographer and author of the “Richard Nixon: The Life.”

Joe Mathieu: Talk to us about the political temperature in America the day of that election.

John Farrell: It was an astonishing year, as your viewers have learned listening in the past weeks, with all the trauma that you spoke of. And there was almost a sense of exhaustion by the time that Nixon was elected. And in fact, although an awful lot is said about Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the law and order campaign, the real demagogue that year was George Wallace who was running as a third party candidate. And Nixon was seen by many, including a lot of the liberal intelligentsia, as sort of the candidate who could restore order- the rightful way of things, conventional thinking and behavior. And so you even had people like Hunter Thompson and Norman Mailer coming out and endorsing Nixon and young folks like Bob Woodward voting for him.

Mathieu: Fear and loathing on the campaign trail.

Farrell: Exactly. Yeah.

Mathieu: Massachusetts was of course home to the Kennedys. What was Nixon’s relationship with this state?

Farrell: Because Massachusetts was identified with the Kennedys, his relationship with the state was always very frosty and it went both ways. Massachusetts never loved him. And of course in 1972, when he ran for re-election, the state was the only state to vote for George McGovern. And when we finally got on into the Watergate era, the bumper sticker appeared ‘don’t blame me, I voted for McGovern’, so Massachusetts got the last laugh.

Mathieu: What do you make, though, of the political pendulum swinging toward Richard Nixon? Nobody could have imagined that the time he ran before.

Farrell: No, he was a pragmatist, a cynic, somebody who was always going to read the tea leaves. He had a wonderful political antenna. He had this way of taking his own personal grievances, identifying them in his audiences and then drawing on his own feelings to tap that resentment in the voters. He said famously once that the secret to politics is that people react to fear, not to love. They don’t teach you that in Sunday school but it’s true. And that was the way that he practiced politics so when it was required for him, for example, to try to get black votes in the late 50s and early 60s, he voted for all the major or supported all the major civil rights legislation. Then in 1968, as the country began to change, you see Nixon, the candidate, talking about how busing for racial equality is awful. You see old supporters like Jackie Robinson leaving his side. And you see an uptick in the harsh rhetoric about law and order.

Mathieu: This is sounding familiar. We keep hearing ahead of tomorrow’s elections that the Republican Party is now Donald Trump’s party and Trump has boasted, John, about getting letters from Nixon and as you suggested, well maybe you didn’t mean to but it kind of sounds like the Trump playbook.

Farrell: I personally think Trump is much more like Wallace. I think that if you look at his first two years in office, he has none of the accomplishments that Nixon had. If Donald Trump manages to turn things around in his second two years and actually get some accomplishments, then I’ll begin to listen to the comparisons but at this point I think Trump is more of a demagogue, he’s a showman, he’s a con man, much more like George Wallace than Richard Nixon.

Mathieu: Point taken. But he also knows how to harness fear as a political tool.

Farrell: Yes he does. I mean, the basic Nixonian way of arousing resentment and grievance- I call it the politics of grievance. I think Trump may have even gotten it from the Nixon playbook because back during the campaign he’s talked about things like. He used Nixonian phrases like ‘silent majority’ and ‘law and order’. They had close friends in Roy Cohn and Roger Stone so on his way up they sort of shared advisers. So there is there is a connection, I think, with Trump the candidate but not with Trump the president.

Mathieu: Are there lessons for voters today when we look back on that time in 1968?

Farrell: I think one thing that you really have to do as a voter is understand how valuable and precious that right to vote is. Nixon got in a great deal of trouble by polluting the 1972 elections- not quite the way that the Russians did last time, although both of them involved break ins at the Democratic National Committee. But Watergate was a big scare and for people of my age we remember that it was followed by these great reforms, campaign finance reforms and lobbying reform, all these were diluted over the years as the special interests came out from under the rocks and decided that they were going to exert themselves again. And I think that the power of the individual vote began to shrink. People started thinking that the game is rigged that the big guys have all the money and have all the power. But on Tuesday, I think that we will show that from all the early voting totals, that Americans have sort of been reawakened to the value of the ballot. And one thing that I hope is that in the future some of these laws like campaign finance reform and lobbying disclosure laws are reinvigorated because in one thing, Trump is right, Washington D.C. is a swamp and it needs to be drained.

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Tory remainers 'getting cold feet' about Brexit deal rebellion

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  1. Tory remainers ‘getting cold feet’ about Brexit deal rebellion  The Guardian
  2. Politics Briefing: May takes draft Brexit deal to cabinet  The Globe and Mail
  3. Brexit: Mixed political reaction to Brexit text  BBC News
  4. Full coverage



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On Politics: Democrats Continue to Gain as More Midterm Races Are Finalized

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On Politics: Democrats Continue to Gain as More Midterm Races Are Finalized

Good Wednesday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.

_____________________

What seemed like a mixed midterm result for the G.O.P. has turned more grim as Democrats continue to pick up seats in the House and narrow the Republican hold on the Senate. Read about the stronger Democratic gains.

President Trump is considering firing Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security who has long been a target of the president’s displeasure, according to three people close to him. Read about the staff shake-up.

There were conflicting reports on Tuesday on whether Mira Ricardel, a deputy national security adviser, had been fired. But there is no question that the first lady, Melania Trump, no longer wants her at the White House.

Mr. Trump issued a blistering personal attack against President Emmanuel Macron of France, and sought to defend his decision not to visit a cemetery of American soldiers while in France because of rain. Read more on his comments.

With a recount underway in the Florida governor’s race, Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee, is back on the campaign trail a week after conceding the election. Though the outcome is unlikely to change, Mr. Gillum has made it clear he is not going away.

Representative Kyrsten Sinema’s victory marked the first time a Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Arizona since 1988. Read more about Ms. Sinema, and here are six takeaways from her historic race.

On an otherwise bleak election night for North Dakota Democrats, Ruth Buffalo became the first Native American Democrat elected to the state legislature, unseating the architect of the very law tribes had feared would disenfranchise them.

As freshman orientation for new members of Congress began, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led activists in a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office. The move is an early notice to Democratic leaders that the new House may be divided.

Despite a dismal election last week, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California looks set to become House minority leader. Read more about Mr. McCarthy — and his chances of securing the new role.

For weeks before the midterms, Mr. Trump warned ominously about the threat from a caravan of migrants streaming toward the United States border. But only a week after the election, he has dropped the issue almost entirely.

An independent bipartisan commission concluded in a sharply critical report that strained forces and budget shortfalls have cast doubt on the Pentagon’s strategy to confront global threats, in a challenge to Mr. Trump’s commitment to support a strong military.

Mr. Trump’s trade war is stoking an internal fight among his top economic advisers, with officials sparring over the White House’s approach to dealing with China and other trading partners. Here’s more on the feuding.

_____________________

Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Margaret Kramer in New York.

Check back later for On Politics With Lisa Lerer, a nightly newsletter exploring the people, issues and ideas reshaping the political world.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.

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Brexit deal: Tory ministers meet to decide fate of agreement – Politics live

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  1. Brexit deal: Tory ministers meet to decide fate of agreement – Politics live  The Guardian
  2. This is a Brexit deal that delivers! May breaks EU deadlock as Cabinet summoned TODAY  Express.co.uk
  3. Brexit: UK and EU ‘agree text’ of draft withdrawal agreement  BBC News
  4. Full coverage



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