The Atlantic

Trump Is No Richard Nixon

In 1968, Nixon offered a promise of peace and order. Today, Trump offers only conflict.
Source: Getty / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

As riots and looting have disordered cities across the United States, many have speculated that the troubles could help reelect President Donald Trump. The speculation is based on analogy. American cities were swept by riots in the mid-1960s, and then, in 1968, Richard Nixon campaigned on a pledge of “law and order” and won the presidency. As it was then, so it will be now—or so the punditry goes.

The riots of 2020 may or may not help Donald Trump. The analogy to 1968, however, misunderstands both the politics of

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