The main candidates were: a shopworn Democratic front-runner who embodied the party establishment; a white-haired, professorial anti-war protest candidate beloved by college students; a disruptive, race-baiting outsider with a knack for drawing press attention; and an unctuous, beady-eyed Republican lawyer practicing dirty tricks.
At its nominating convention in a Midwestern city that summer, one of the two political parties was torn apart, both inside the hall and out, as protestors clashed with police, who, it was later determined, were the instigators of the riots.
The general election hinged on which party could woo the most votes of a white working class that had been energized in the first place by the outsider candidate, who had railed against a powerful “Them” against “Us.”
Mark Twain allegedly said that “history does not repeat itself but it does rhyme.” If that is so, then this year has been that ancient — but still very relevant one — in a similar form.
Instead, the United States was in the grip of tribalism and seething fear. Voters were energized by anger and resentment. The media ran red with violent language; surging crowds, cops and protesters filled city streets.