Updated Nov. 5, 2023 at 12:35 p.m.
It was 55 years ago today.
Some say this was the day the 1960s ended (or really began...)? The man who would eventually bring shame on the White House, resigning after the Watergate scandal, was already dividing opinion when he ran for President for the second time in 1968.
Richard Nixon wound up squeaking past his Democratic rival Hubert Humphrey to become the 37th President of the United States.
How did Richard Nixon become President?
Having served eight years as vice president alongside President Dwight Eisenhower, Nixon was the presumed Republican candidate in the 1960 election to succeed Eisenhower. His Democratic rival was John F. Kennedy. Nixon performed well in radio debates, only to be humiliated on television, where the juxtaposition between his sweaty, unpresidential appearance and Kennedy's sharp presentation made a serious blow to his candidacy.
After being defeated on the national stage, Nixon ran in 1962 for California governor, and lost again. But he would finally triumph in 1968's run for the White House. Running on a “Law and order” platform, Nixon also pledged to end the draft, which he hoped would also stop affluent college-aged men from protesting the war in Vietnam, since it would no longer concern them directly.
After third party candidate George Wallace split the Democrats’ New Deal coalition, Richard Nixon was able to win the electoral college, as well as the popular vote by a small margin over Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
What is Nixon best known for?
Nixon went on to win a second term four years later, in 1972, though it would plant the seed for his demise. Perhaps the most detested president in the 20th century, Richard Nixon is mostly remembered for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, which began with a break-in of Democratic party headquarters during the 1972 campaign.
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