Politics

Hillary Tries to Drag America Back to 1964 to Defeat Trump

Clinton, already candidate of the status quo, deploys tactics Democrats have been using for 52 years

In case you were wondering why Democrats have been trying so hard to use disunity and even the Ku Klux Klan against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, it’s because it’s a proven tactic for the Democrats and their media allies.

In fact, it’s a 52-year-old tactic — at least.

If Trump can exploit Clinton’s reliance on over-the-top, and old, attacks, and her contempt for millions of Americans, he may be able to do what Goldwater could not: win on Election Day.

A 1964 TV ad run against Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater tells you all you need to know about Clinton’s failing effort to make the 2016 contest about Trump’s fitness for the presidency.

The old smears on Goldwater, who history now shows was not the arch-conservative of Democrats’ nightmares, have been resurrected this year by Hillary Clinton. The “Confessions of a Republican” ad was released by the Hillary Clinton campaign earlier this year, using the same format and the same actor.

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It hits the same themes as 1964: Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. The actor says the GOP made a mistake in nominating Trump — and encourages other Republicans to trust him as one of them.

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But the actor, Bill Bogert, is not a Republican.

Indeed the only Republican Bogert has ever said he voted for was John Lindsay, the liberal Republican mayor of New York City. Although Lindsay won the Big Apple mayor’s race in 1965, Lindsay was not well-liked by conservative Republicans. He drew opposition from William F. Buckley Jr., who ran against Lindsay on the Conservative Party line. Lindsay went on to quit the GOP in 1971.

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Bogert seems to show up as an actor in a lot of fictional stuff about the Klan. He appeared in comedian Dave Chappelle’s skit for Comedy Central about a black Klansman in 2004.

Another controversial LBJ ad displayed the Klan prominently, using an Alabama Klansman’s quotes to damage Goldwater. The 1964 ad suggested Goldwater and the Klan were kindred spirits.

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Hillary Clinton cut a similar ad for the web in late August. It’s right out of the Lyndon Johnson playbook.

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Racial attacks on Republicans are par for the course in most presidential contests — though there seems little question the degree of the smears against Goldwater in ’64 and Trump are the most extreme.

In 1988, the Democrats complained that then-Vice President George H. W. Bush was using racial implications in his ads attacking Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. Dukakis had approved a furlough program for felons, and on one such furlough, a convicted murderer named Willie Horton took flight and went on to rape a woman. Willie Horton was black.

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The anti-furlough ads infuriated the Democrats, the media, and the Left. The ads were the brain child of Lee Atwater, Bush’s right-hand man, a brilliant South Carolina GOP operative who became the focus of non-stop attacks after the campaign.

In the last days of the 1988 campaign, the Democrats charged the ads were racist. To this day, even Dukakis still complains about the ad. Dukakis can be seen whining about it in the 2008 documentary, “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.” The media even sought out Horton, a convicted murderer, for comment.

The temptation to charge Republican candidates with racism is particularly potent with Democrats because attacks along racial lines can rile up two key Democratic constituencies: black and Hispanic voters. And, as Johnson knew, predominantly white voters in America’s suburbs react to the attacks as well — not wanting to risk the label of racist themselves.

In late August, Trump supporter and church Pastor Mark Burns blasted out a statement through the Trump campaign: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign went to a disgusting new low today as they released a video tying the Trump campaign with horrific racial images. This type of rhetoric and repulsive advertising is revolting and completely beyond the pale. I call on Hillary Clinton to disavow this video and her campaign for this sickening act that has no place in our world.”

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Burns is black.

Trump himself tried to accuse Clinton herself of racism, suggesting she had a case of what President George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Clinton proceeded to double down on her racial attacks, famously overstepping on Sept. 9 when she told a Manhattan fundraising crowd that “half” of Trump supporters — millions of Americans — belong in a “basket of deplorables.”

It was the opening Trump needed. Unlike LBJ, Clinton got caught up in her own self-righteousness on race. It could be a crucial mistake.

But there is no sign of Clinton relenting on race attacks. On Sept. 16, a Clinton-aligned PAC, Priorities USA, released new digital ads attacking Trump as racist.

If Trump can exploit Clinton’s reliance on over-the-top, and old, attacks, and her contempt for millions of Americans, he may be able to do what Goldwater could not: win on Election Day.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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