Ghosts of ’68 in Election 2016

Michael Winship | Moyers & Company | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

Longtime observers of American politics have noted striking parallels between the unpredictable wartime election of 1968 and the bizarre presidential contest of 2016, another time of war and distress, as Michael Winship recalls.


atching the mad, mad, mad, mad world that is the 2016 presidential campaign, I was trying to remember a presidential campaign that was as jaw-dropping, at least in my lifetime, and easily settled on 1968.

For those too young to remember, imagine: As fighting in Vietnam rages on and the Tet Offensive makes us all too aware of the futility of our Southeast Asian military fiasco, Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy decides to run as an antiwar candidate against incumbent President Lyndon Johnson.

Supported by an army of “Clean for Gene” college students knocking on doors and making phone calls, McCarthy does surprisingly well, and then New York Sen. Robert Kennedy gets into the race, too. Johnson makes a surprise announcement that he will not seek a second term in the White House and McCarthy and Kennedy duke it out in the primaries.

Read more


The 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act Will Not Go Unremembered

Fox News
Bend the Arc Jewish Action | July Newsletter 2015

On the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Fox News will be moderating the first Republican presidential debate.

August 6th, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law with Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders by his side. This landmark piece of legislation, which created strong legal protections to prevent voter suppression, was gutted of much of its enforcement ability by the Supreme Court two years ago.

August 6 is also a significant date as it will be the first debate between the Republican presidential candidates hosted by Fox News. The leading figures of the Republican party, including Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, will gather to debate the future of their party and their party’s agenda for the 2016 election. The candidates are certain to debate the issues that they see as crucial to their party: immigration, law enforcement, and foreign policy. However, one topic we are sure they want to avoid is the issue of voting rights and the tide of voter suppression laws that have passed since 2013, some with their help.

Bend the Arc wants to ensure that the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is fully present in the minds of the American public as we enter the 2016 election cycle. That is why we will be delivering a petition to Fox News to demand that the moderators of the debate pose the following question to the candidates: “What will you do to restore the Voting Rights Act, which was first signed into law 50 years ago today?” 

Read more

The Lyndon Johnson Tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘Treason’

David Taylor | BBC News | Reader Supported News | March 18, 2013

Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson’s telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations – he planned a dramatic entry into the 1968 Democratic Convention to re-join the presidential race. And he caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks… but said nothing.

fter the Watergate scandal taught Richard Nixon the consequences of recording White House conversations none of his successors has dared to do it. But Nixon wasn’t the first.

He got the idea from his predecessor Lyndon Johnson, who felt there was an obligation to allow historians to eventually eavesdrop on his presidency.

“They will provide history with the bark off,” Johnson told his wife, Lady Bird.

The final batch of tapes released by the LBJ library covers 1968, and allows us to hear Johnson’s private conversations as his Democratic Party tore itself apart over the question of Vietnam.

The 1968 convention, held in Chicago, was a complete shambles.

Read more