A Look At Chaotic Past Presidential Election Years
2020 has been a chaotic year.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to turn our lives upside down and now demonstrations against racism, racial inequalities and police brutality pop up across the nation.
Believe it or not, there have been other unprecedented times in our nation’s history.
It was 1968 when demonstrators took to the streets after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
That same year, protests broke out across the nation against the Vietnam War.
This was all in the midst of a presidential campaign.
“Richard Nixon used the events of 1968 to insist and campaign on need for a return to law and order,” said Scott LaDeur, a political science professor at North Central Michigan College.
Flash forward to 1992.
Rodney King becomes the face of police brutality, and when officers involved were acquitted, riots broke out in Los Angeles.
Once again, in the midst of a presidential campaign.
“Bill Clinton was able to portray George H.W. Bush as out of touch and unable to meet the moment these racial riots needed,” LaDeur said.
“Candidates, especially for president, are going to use these issues to differentiate themselves from each other and offer contracting prescriptions as to what should be done,” LaDeur said.
That’s something both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have already started doing this election cycle.
“This race is going to be very interesting,” LaDeur said. “Biden is going to call for change, police reform in attempts to heal and repair social inequality and the President is going to call for more of law and order stance. Both of these stances have worked in the past.”
LaDeur says Americans feel the need to vote in times like these.
“People tend to vote when they believe that a) their vote matters and b) the outcome of the election matters to them,” LaDeur said. “This is an extremely important time for citizens to make their voices heard.”
“With all of these big issues starting to crest, I think American voters are going to start to look at it and say I’m going to get out and vote,” LaDeur said.