President Richard Nixon won a second term in the White House, by being the avenger of left-wing cultural chaos.
Will challenger Mitt Romney win a first term as President, because he provides a similar alternative?
This year’s election will mark the fortieth anniversary of another historic contest. In November of 1972 President Richard Nixon defeated his opponent George McGovern in the Electoral College by a landslide margin of 49 states to 1. Setting the U.S. presidential record for the widest margin of victory among the popular vote, Nixon received nearly 18 million more votes than McGovern.
While Nixon is most often remembered for his downfall and near-impeachment following his second inauguration, his re-election victory – and the cultural conditions that led up to it – was nonetheless dramatic. And in an age where overwhelming majorities believe that America is “heading in the wrong direction,” it’s worth noting how concerns of “right and wrong” shook the election of 40 years ago – and how these concerns might play out this year.
During Nixon’s first term, a great awakening began among a broad sector of the American population. After decades of having been disengaged from politics and public policy debates, and without much in the way of formal organization, millions of faith-based Americans—at that time mostly white, middle-class, Protestant and evangelical Christians—had become increasingly alarmed at the cultural trends and growing civil unrest of the late 1960's and early 1970's.
The challenges to marriage and Judeo-Christian sexual norms posed by the so-called “sexual revolution;” the youthful rebellion against societal authority structures brought about by the so-called “hippie” culture; and the Vietnam War protests by the first generation of American youth who thought it was something less than “honorable” to fight on behalf of the country—all these developments and others proved to be quite unnerving to these millions of Americans.
In the midst of this upheaval, Nixon delivered an important address to the nation during his first term in office, on November 3, 1969. In the speech, Nixon famously made reference to a so-called “silent majority” of Americans—people who supposedly agreed with him on issues of culture, “law and order,” and his desire to fight back against Communism, even though the views of this “silent majority” were largely ignored by political, media, and academic elites.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.