Hillary Clinton closed out the Democratic National Convention last night (July 28) with a speech that drew a stark contrast with Republican rival Donald Trump. The stakes couldn’t be higher; the differences couldn’t be greater. And, the parallels to another era are scarily familiar.
Clinton preached the politics of inclusion, even including those who vote against her, if she becomes president.
Trump preached the politics of exclusion. He vowed to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, deport millions of immigrants living in the United States now and ban those from coming here, even if they are from European states like France, Belgium, Sweden and the UK.
He vowed to be the “law and order” candidate, which undeniably painted a target on the backs of African American males.
But even more unsettling, he vowed to upset the international order and endanger the world as we know it. He threatened to walk away from treaties in Europe and Asia that have maintained world peace for the past seven decades.
He refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, shrugged off the possibility other nations might obtain nuclear weapons and praised world dictators like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin and North Korean Despot Kim Jung Un.
“A man you can bait with a tweet, is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” Clinton said.
In fact, this year’s presidential campaign has a number of eerie parallels with the 1964 campaign. It pitted Democrat Lyndon Johnson against arch-conservative Barry Goldwater.
Like Trump, Goldwater was a militant. The threat then, at the height of the Cold War, was Communism. Goldwater, who represented the far right wing of the political spectrum, was virulently anti-communist.
The Johnson campaign zeroed in on Goldwater’s extremism and questioned his temperament to be Commander in Chief, with his finger on the nuclear trigger.
Goldwater’s slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right.”
But the Johnson campaign countered with the line “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.” And more chillingly, “In your heart, you know he might.”
The reference was to Goldwater’s suggestion that he would actually use nuclear weapons, not simply for deterrence, but offensively if necessary to halt Communism.
That led to one of the most chilling and devastating political ads in the history of modern presidential politics.
Check it out below, and think, again, about the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest election coverage.