Lawrence O'Donnell: Trump is bad, but the '60s were worse

The MSNBC host is sympathetic with millennials' feelings, but says nothing compares to Nixon and 1968

Published November 11, 2017 8:30AM (EST)

 (Salon/Peter Cooper/AP)
(Salon/Peter Cooper/AP)

Opposition to Donald Trump’s election has activated a resistance movement that has lead to nationwide protests and galvanized a wave of new political candidates across the country. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell sees parallels with the 1968 election when culture wars, racial tensions, and opposition to the Vietnam War were at their height.

When O'Donnell sat down with me on "Salon Talks" to discuss his new book, “Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics," he opened up about conversations he's had recently with millennials who feel downcast about today’s political climate.

O’Donnell couldn't help but compare today's atmosphere to his experiences growing up during the Vietnam War. In hearing those stories, the younger generation, according to the host, remarked that Trump is "our Vietnam."

“And I thought, yes. You’re right, that’s what it felt like. It felt hopeless, it felt impossible, and also at the very same time, it felt absolutely imperative to rise up in resistance to it," he said.

What was different -- and worse -- according to O’Donnell, was that the stakes in 1968 were a matter of life and death, something most of today’s voters don’t feel. Hear more of his comparisons between then and now in the video above.

The 1968 election was a chaotic political moment that divided the Democratic party and led to the election of Richard Nixon. One key person who O’Donnell highlights as playing a pivotal role in Nixon’s win, and the success of the Republican party since, is former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

To listen to more of O’Donnell’s thoughts on Ailes, Trump and the takeaway political lessons from the 1960s, watch our full conversation on Facebook.

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By Alyona Minkovski

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