The media typically begins any Presidential campaign with comparisons to Harry Truman. The Reagan re-election in 1984 had the comparison. The Bush re-election in 1992 had the comparison. The Clinton re-election in 1996 had the comparison. Humorously, the off year election of 2002 used the Truman comparison too, as did 2004.
The media does this not only because a lot of them are lazy and not only because a lot of them talk with each other at beltway soirees where they infect each other with their various often contrived narratives and talking points, but also because they really do want to help put the election in some historic context.
The media likes the Truman analogy and I am actually surprised it has not already gotten play. But we have not yet crossed over into 2016 yet and the voting is still more than a month away. Give it time.
But there is something else the media does — and typically does because of a leftward bias, a reliance on both establishment Republicans in Washington as their chief GOP sources and their Democratic friends as Democratic sources— they compare the Republican Primary to 1964.
Every conservative candidate must withstand the “Is he Barry Goldwater” question. Never mind that Barry Goldwater has been tried repeatedly by the Democrats and the only person it ever worked against was Barry Goldwater. Likewise, to really appreciate Barry Goldwater’s loss you must ask the question the media and many Establishment Republicans hope you’ll never ask yourself, i.e. was the country really going to vote out John F. Kennedy’s Vice President less than a year after Kennedy’s assassination?
The Democrats and Establishment Republicans are all now starting to talk about Barry Goldwater as Ted Cruz goes up in the polls. Let’s get into the way back machine and take look at the news as it existed on the campaign trail of 1979 and 1980.
“Is defeat probable for GOP if Reagan wins nomination?” blared the headline of the Christian Science Monitor on March 5, 1980. That was just the start of it.
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