Seeds: In order to defend himself from accusations about accepting illegal gifts, Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice presidential running mate in the election of 1952, took to the small screen in order to save his career. Richard Nixon was the first politician to defend himself against accusations of misdemeanors on television. He painted himself as a family man, telling the story about how his daughter found a dog named Checkers and that he was going to let her keep it. This captured the hearts of many Americans and was a contributing factor to Eisenhower’s success in the election.
Core: Looking back, this speech may appear insincere and syrupy, however, at the time it was extremely influential in the outcome of the election. Never before had someone resorted to television to bolster one’s image as a politician. However, in today’s day and age, that is all politicians seem to resort to doing.
Skin: Whether Clinton’s defending herself about the Benghazi scandal or Trump is denying that he has repeatedly verbally assaulted others, videos of the two either defending themselves or tearing the other down are constantly circulating.
Leaves: It is clear that Nixon started the trend of televising speeches to aid in one’s personal image. However, seeing as Nixon was caught in another scandal called Watergate (you many have heard of it) during his Presidency, some are skeptical to whether his message from his speech was based in sincerity. However, presidential scandals from Grant to Nixon to Clinton seem to be an American tradition, and do not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Food For Thought: What are your favorite political scandals? What do you think of the current election?