Trump is clearly modeling a great deal of his campaign on Nixon’s successful 1968 and 1972 runs for president. His “law and order” message and his appeal to the resentment of white Americans both recall Nixon’s core campaign messages.
Roger Ailes, whose 20-year reign at Fox News appears to be coming to an end due to a sexual harassment scandal, helped Nixon hone that message. In 1968, Ailes assisted Nixon in crafting a strategy of adopting some of George Wallace’s racist positions while rejecting his overtly racist language. In 1970, he and Nixon worked on GOP TV, something of a precursor to Fox News.
Ailes and Trump have apparently grown very close over the past year, despite the occasional Trump-Fox drama—the presidential candidate is reportedly “advising” Ailes on how to handle more than a dozen allegations of sexual harassment. And there are rumors that, after Ailes quits Fox, he could replace Paul Manafort as Trump’s campaign manager. Here’s a gossipy bit from the kicker of Michael Wolff’s Cleveland dispatch:
As of this morning, with Ailes nearly as much a subject in Cleveland at the Republican convention among political professionals as Trump himself (the rumor of Ailes replacing Paul Manafort as campaign manager is an active one, with a further rumor putting Trump in favor of this and his children against it), the negotiation continues.
Trump recruiting Ailes—who, it’s worth noting again, is facing dozens of sexual harassment allegations—would be another amazing and ridiculous turn in an amazing and ridiculous campaign, as well as a gift to those who have consistently highlighted Trump’s long history of misogyny. And while the Republican Party spent decades trying to shake off Nixon’s ghost, it would also represent his reincarnation, if not necessarily rehabilitation.