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Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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When Did Republicans Turn Against Nixon

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Us Federal Government Reports

This article incorporatespublic domain material from websites or documents ofthe U.S. federal government.

  • Cole, Jared P.; Garvey, Todd . Impeachment and Removal . Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. R44260 via University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.
  • Hudiburg, Jane A.; Davis, Christopher M. . Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History . Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. R45087 via University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

Final Investigations And Resignation

Resignation speech of President Richard Nixon, delivered August 8, 1974.
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Nixon’s position was becoming increasingly precarious. On February 6, 1974, the House of Representatives approved H.Res. 803 giving the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate impeachment of the President. On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted 27-to-11 to recommend the first article of impeachment against the president: obstruction of justice. The Committee recommended the second article, abuse of power, on July 29, 1974. The next day, on July 30, 1974, the Committee recommended the third article: contempt of Congress. On August 20, 1974, the House authorized the printing of the Committee report H. Rep. 931305, which included the text of the resolution impeaching Nixon and set forth articles of impeachment against him.


The Party Of Kennedy V The Party Of Nixon In The Civil Rights Era

Two things started happening at the same time:

  • Racist Democrats were getting antsy
  • Neither party could afford to ignore civil rights anymore

In 1960 Kennedy defeated Nixon. At the time of his election, the both parties unevenly supported civil rights. But President Kennedy decided to move forward.

After Kennedys assassination in 1963, Johnson continued Kennedys civil rights focus.


As you can imagine, that did not sit particularly well with most Southern Democrats. This is when Strom Thurmond flew the coop for good.

In fact, a greater percentage of Congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. Support for the Act followed geographic, not party, lines.

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Soon after, the Republicans came up with their Southern Strategy a plan to woo white Southern voters to the party for the 1968 election.

The Kennedy and Johnson administrations had advanced civil rights, largely through national legislation and direct executive actions. So, the Southern Strategy was the opposite states rights and no integration.


As in the Civil War, the concepts of states rights and tradition, were codes for maintaining white supremacy.

Starting with Thurmond in 1964, and continuing throughout the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Dixiecrats left the Democrats for the Republicans.

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Trump May Be So Much Worse Than Nixon But Republicans Dont Seem To Care

S.V. Date

BEDFORD, N.H. Richard Nixon used tens of thousands of his campaign dollars to finance a burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in order to cheat in his 1972 presidential reelection.


Forty-seven years later, Donald Trump, according to witness testimony in congressional hearings, used hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to coerce a foreign government in order to cheat in his 2020 reelection.

Yet while Nixon wound up resigning after his fellow in the Senate told him they would vote to remove him from office, Trump today appears likely to survive a Senate trial, even as the House prepares to debate two articles of impeachment later this week.

Americans are guided in many ways by their leadership, said Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. There was significant bipartisan agreement that President Nixon had breached the threshold regarding abuse of power and thus was impeachable. Either todays values have evolved, partisanship has hit a new high or the caliber of our GOP representation has diminished. Take your pick.

Reflecting or perhaps driving that across the decades: 31% of Republicans wound up abandoning Nixon and saying he should be removed from office, while only 7% of Republicans today believe that about Trump.

Anthony Scaramucci, Trumps short-lived White House communications director in 2017 who has now become a Trump critic, has a two-word answer for whats different: Fox News.


Senate Watergate Hearings And Revelation Of The Watergate Tapes

Why Did Republicans Turn Against Life On Earth?

Fred Thompsonranking memberHoward BakerSam Ervin

On February 7, 1973, the United States Senate voted 77-to-0 to approve 93 S.Res. 60 and establish a select committee to investigate Watergate, with Sam Ervin named chairman the next day. The hearings held by the Senate committee, in which Dean and other former administration officials testified, were broadcast from May 17 to August 7. The three major networks of the time agreed to take turns covering the hearings live, each network thus maintaining coverage of the hearings every third day, starting with on May 17 and ending with on August 7. An estimated 85% of Americans with television sets tuned into at least one portion of the hearings.

On Friday, July 13, during a preliminary interview, deputy minority counsel Donald Sanders asked White House assistant Alexander Butterfield if there was any type of recording system in the White House. Butterfield said he was reluctant to answer, but finally admitted there was a new system in the White House that automatically recorded everything in the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room and others, as well as Nixon’s private office in the Old Executive Office Building.


Political And Cultural Reverberations

According to Thomas J. Johnson, a professor of journalism at University of Texas at Austin, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger predicted during Nixon’s final days that history would remember Nixon as a great president and that Watergate would be relegated to a “minor footnote”.

When Congress investigated the scope of the president’s legal powers, it belatedly found that consecutive presidential administrations had declared the United States to be in a continuous open-ended state of emergency since 1950. Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act in 1976 to regulate such declarations. The Watergate scandal left such an impression on the national and international consciousness that many scandals since then have been labeled with the “-gate suffix“.

Disgust with the revelations about Watergate, the Republican Party, and Nixon strongly affected results of the November 1974 Senate and House elections, which took place three months after Nixon’s resignation. The Democrats gained five seats in the Senate and forty-nine in the House . Congress passed legislation that changed campaign financing, to amend the Freedom of Information Act, as well as to require financial disclosures by key government officials . Other types of disclosures, such as releasing recent income tax forms, became expected, though not legally required. Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt had recorded many of their conversations but the practice purportedly ended after Watergate.


Final Legal Actions And Effect On The Law Profession

Charles Colson pled guilty to charges concerning the Daniel Ellsberg case; in exchange, the indictment against him for covering up the activities of the Committee to Re-elect the President was dropped, as it was against Strachan. The remaining five members of the Watergate Seven indicted in March went on trial in October 1974. On January 1, 1975, all but Parkinson were found guilty. In 1976, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Mardian; subsequently, all charges against him were dropped.

Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell exhausted their appeals in 1977. Ehrlichman entered prison in 1976, followed by the other two in 1977. Since Nixon and many senior officials involved in Watergate were lawyers, the scandal severely tarnished the public image of the legal profession.

The Watergate scandal resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 being found guilty, including:


  • G. Gordon Liddy, Special Investigations Group, convicted of masterminding the burglary, original sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Served 4+12 years in federal prison.
  • E. Howard Hunt, security consultant, convicted of masterminding and overseeing the burglary, original sentence of up to 35 years in prison. Served 33 months in prison.
  • James W. McCord Jr., convicted of six charges of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping. Served two months in prison.
  • Virgilio Gonzalez, convicted of burglary, original sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Served 13 months in prison.
  • From Our April 2017 Issue

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    David A. Nicholss Ike and McCarthy is a well-researched and sturdily written account of what may be the most important such conflict in modern history: the two years, 1953 and 1954, when Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first Republican president elected since Herbert Hoover, found himself under assault from the demagogic senator who perfected the politics of ideological slander. Joseph McCarthy had begun his rampage against subversives in the federal government, some real but most of them imagined, during the Truman years, amid the high anxieties of the Cold War. Hostilities had broken out in Korea, and threatened to draw in Red China or escalate into a doomsday showdown with the Soviets, newly armed with the atomic bomb. Meanwhile, billions were being doled out in foreign aid to left-wing governments in Western Europe, and homegrown spies like Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg had been uncovered and exposed.

    Then as now, the press could achieve only so much, and for a reason that hasnt changed. McCarthy was a political problem, not a journalistic onea problem that could be solved in the end only by politics, by Eisenhower himself, who fooled almost everyone in deftly outmaneuvering McCarthy. Nichols is not the first to make this argument. But his timing is good. Americans have as much to learn today from Eisenhower as his many liberal critics did in 1954.


    Nixon’s Support In Congress Deteriorates

    Despite “a triple whammy” of events in late Julythe widely covered Judiciary Committee hearings, the Supreme Court’s order to surrender the tapes, and six Republican defectionsNixon, according to White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig, had not “changed one iota his sense of self?confidence and sense of determination to see this thing through.” He was closely studying the possible vote counts that impeachment in the House or trial in the Senate would get; Henry Kissinger later sympathetically described the president at this time as “a man awake in his own nightmare.” Republican leaders in Congress were also estimating vote counts. During a July 29 meeting between House Minority Leader John Rhodes and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, Rhodes estimated that impeachment in the House would get as many as 300 votes and Scott surmised that there were 60 votes for conviction in the Senate . Both felt that the situation was deteriorating for the president.

    Public support for the president was also deteriorating. A Harris Poll completed August 3 found that two?thirds of the American public “believe that President Nixon should be impeached over Watergate scandals and tried.” The “pro?impeachment” total had increased by 13 percentage points during the course of the Judiciary Committee’s televised debate and votes on the articles of impeachment.

    Releasing Evidence To Public

    On July 9, the Judiciary Committee released its own version of eight of the White House tapes of which Nixon had previously issued his own transcript. The committee transcripts benefited from superior playback equipment, which restored some of the potentially damaging statements that Nixon staffers had removed or heard differently. This was followed three days later by the committee’s release of its accumulated evidence, which ran to 4,133 pages in all3,891 pages assembled by the impeachment inquiry staff, as well as a 242-page rebuttal by James St. Clair, but contained neither commentary nor conclusions from the committee. Afterward St. Clair acknowledged for the first time publicly that a committee vote in favor of impeachment was likely, but White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler said the president remained confident that the full House would not impeach.

    A Harris Poll was released in mid-July which showed that 53 percent of Americans supported Nixon’s impeachment by the House. That same poll showed that 47 percent thought he should be convicted in a Senate trial and removed from office, and 34 percent thought he should be acquitted . A Gallup Poll, released July 25, revealed that Nixon’s overall job approval rating had slipped to a new low point of 24 percent, down considerably from its pre-Watergate hearings peak of 67 percent at the end of January 1973 .

    The Myth Of The Republican

    When faced with the sobering reality that Democrats supported slavery, started the Civil War when the abolitionist Republican Party won the Presidency, established the Ku Klux Klan to brutalize newly freed slaves and keep them from voting, opposed the Civil Rights Movement, modern-day liberals reflexively perpetuate rather pernicious myth–that the racist southern Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s became Republicans, leading to the so-called “switch” of the parties.

    This is as ridiculous as it is easily debunked.

    The Republican Party, of course, was founded in 1848 with the abolition of slavery as its core mission. Almost immediately after its second presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln, won the 1860 election, Democrat-controlled southern states seceded on the assumption that Lincoln would destroy their slave-based economies.

    Once the Civil War ended, the newly freed slaves as expected flocked to the Republican Party, but Democrat control of the South from Reconstruction until the Civil Rights Era was near total. In 1960, Democrats held every Senate seat south of the Mason-Dixon line. In the 13 states that made up the Confederacy a century earlier, Democrats held a staggering 117-8 advantage in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party was so strong in the south that those 117 House members made up a full 41% of Democrats’ 283-153 advantage in the Chamber.

    So how did this myth of a sudden “switch” get started?

    It would not be the last time they used it.

    Republicans Stuck By Nixon For Two Years

    Not only did Republicans continue to back Nixon after five men were caught trespassing at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the building during the summer of 1972 â Nixon was that fall in a landslide over Democrat George McGovern. 

    According to polls conducted by the Nixon campaign at the time, the Washington Postreported, more than two-thirds of voters said they wouldn’t be any less likely to vote for Nixon if it was discovered that top Republicans were involved in the DNC break-in â and most that summer saw it as “just politics” as opposed to “very serious,” according to the Post. 

    But as the scandal went on, public opinion began to shift. 

    In 1973, Archibald Cox was appointed independent prosecutor to investigate Watergate â something about 75% of Americans believed was necessary to get to the truth, according to May 1973 polls cited by the Post. 

    In October of that year, Nixon fired Cox and accepted the resignations of his attorney general and deputy attorney general in what would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” More than 50,000 Americans sent telegrams to Washington over the firing, and 21 members of Congress called for Nixon’s impeachment.

    Republicans Were Consolidating An Enduring Majority Back Then Not Now

    Trump Did What Nixon Did, but Todays GOP Wont Convict ...

    While Nixons disgrace and resignation temporarily plunged his party into crisis its important to remember that he won a second term by a landslide in 1972, and that the Democratic Party was in the middle of a chronic ideological crisis. Democrats won 43 percent of the popular vote for president in 1968 and 38 percent in 1972. They got a temporary respite when one-time southern voters and those disgusted by Watergate gave Jimmy Carter 50 percent in 1976, but they were back down to 41 percent in 1980 and didnt win a popular-vote majority again until 2008. Republicans didnt have much rebounding to do at all: They came within an eyelash of winning in 1976 and didnt lose the presidency again until 1992.

    Now its Republicans who are on a long-term popular-vote losing streak in presidential contests . And the GOP is famously on the wrong side of demographic trends that are shrinking its coalition rooted in older white voters and expanding the oppositions younger and more diverse base. Yes, they enjoy more robust power than their actual support merits thanks to the distorting effects of the Senate, the Electoral College, and gerrymandering of House and state legislative districts. But its not like they have a stiff wind at their backs as they seek to recover from a lost presidential election and now a doubly impeached president.

    Early Calls For Impeachment

    During the opening months of the 93rd Congress, multiple calling for a presidential impeachment inquiry were introduced in the House and referred to its Judiciary Committee. The committee began an examination of the charges under its general investigative authority. In February 1973, the House approved a resolution providing additional investigative authority that did not specifically mention impeachment.

    The first resolution to directly call for President Nixon’s impeachment was introduced on July 31, 1973, by Robert Drinan. His resolution, which did not contain specific charges, was made in response to Nixon’s clandestine authorization of the bombing of Cambodia, as well as his actions relative to the growing Watergate scandal. The resolution was effectively ignored by leaders of both parties. House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill later said,

    Morally, Drinan had a good case. But politically, he damn near blew it. For if Drinan’s resolution had come up for a vote at the time he filed it, it would have been overwhelmingly defeatedby something like 400 to 20. After that, with most of the members already on record as having voted once against impeachment, it would have been extremely difficult to get them to change their minds later on.

    Gop Unlikely To Reprise Role It Played In Nixons 1974 Exit

    NEW YORK – On Aug. 7, 1974, three top Republican leaders in Congress paid a solemn visit to President Richard Nixon at the White House, bearing the message that he faced near-certain impeachment because of eroding support in his own party on Capitol Hill. Nixon, whod been entangled in the Watergate scandal for two years, announced his resignation the next day.

    Could a similar drama unfold in later stages of the impeachment process that Democrats have now initiated against President Donald Trump? Its doubtful. In Nixons time, there were conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. Compromise was not treated with scorn.

    In todays highly polarized Washington, bipartisan agreement is a rarity. And Trump has taken over the Republican Party, accruing personal rather than party loyalty and casting the GOP establishment to an ineffectual sideline.

    In the past in the U.S., party members would dissociate themselves from disgraced leaders in order to preserve the party and their own reputations, said professor Nick Smith, who teaches ethics and political philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. But now President Trump seems to have such a personal hold on the party more like a cult leader than a U.S. president that the exits are closed as the party transforms into his image.

    Congressional leaders

    That would change if Trumps troubles become so serious that congressional leaders think it will affect them and their party, Jillson said.

    A more powerful Congress

    Legal Action Against Nixon Administration Members

    On March 1, 1974, a grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted several former aides of Nixon, who became known as the “Watergate SevenH. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, John N. Mitchell, Charles Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinsonfor conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation. The grand jury secretly named Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator. The special prosecutor dissuaded them from an indictment of Nixon, arguing that a president can be indicted only after he leaves office. John Dean, Jeb Stuart Magruder, and other figures had already pleaded guilty. On April 5, 1974, , the former Nixon appointments secretary, was convicted of lying to the grand jury. Two days later, the same grand jury indicted Ed Reinecke, the Republican Lieutenant Governor of California, on three charges of perjury before the Senate committee.

    Impeachment Wasnt Popular Until Right Before Nixon Resigned

    When the House of Representatives voted in February 1974 to give the House Judiciary Committee subpoena power to investigate Nixon, it did not have the weight of public opinion behind it. According to a poll conducted by Gallup just days before the vote, only 38 percent of Americans were in favor of impeachment. And although a solid majority of Americans did eventually come to support impeachment, that moment didnt arrive until quite late in the game.

    But this didnt mean the public wasnt souring on Nixon as the Watergate scandal unfolded. After winning a , the president began his second term with an approval rating around 60 percent, according to FiveThirtyEights tracker of presidential approval. Then that spring saw a stunning 30-point drop in Nixons support starting around when one of the people charged with breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters confessed to a judge that he and the other conspirators had been pressured to stay silent.

    Release Of The Transcripts

    The Nixon administration struggled to decide what materials to release. All parties involved agreed that all pertinent information should be released. Whether to release unedited and vulgarity divided his advisers. His legal team favored releasing the tapes unedited, while Press Secretary Ron Ziegler preferred using an edited version where “expletive deleted” would replace the raw material. After several weeks of debate, they decided to release an edited version. Nixon announced the release of the transcripts in a speech to the nation on April 29, 1974. Nixon noted that any audio pertinent to national security information could be from the released tapes.

    Initially, Nixon gained a positive reaction for his speech. As people read the transcripts over the next couple of weeks, however, former supporters among the public, media and political community called for Nixon’s resignation or impeachment. Vice President Gerald Ford said, “While it may be easy to delete characterization from the printed page, we cannot delete characterization from people’s minds with a wave of the hand.” The Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott said the transcripts revealed a “deplorable, disgusting, shabby, and immoral” performance on the part of the President and his former aides. The House Republican Leader John Jacob Rhodes agreed with Scott, and Rhodes recommended that if Nixon’s position continued to deteriorate, he “ought to consider resigning as a possible option”.

    Last Baseball Game Played At Historic Yankee Stadium

    The Dixie Democrats seceding from the Democratic Party. The rump convention, called after the Democrats had attached President Trumans civil rights program to the party platform, placed Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi in nomination.

    Up until the post-World War II period, the partys hold on the region was so entrenched that Southern politicians usually couldnt get elected unless they were Democrats. But when President Harry S. Truman, a Democratic Southerner, introduced a pro-civil rights platform at the partys 1948 convention, a faction walked out.

    These defectors, known as the Dixiecrats, held a separate convention in Birmingham, Alabama. There, they nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a staunch opposer of civil rights, to run for president on their States Rights ticket. Although Thurmond lost the election to Truman, he still won over a million popular votes.

    It was the first time since before the Civil War that the South was not solidly Democratic, Goldfield says. And that began the erosion of the southern influence in the Democratic party.

    After that, the majority of the South still continued to vote Democratic because it thought of the Republican party as the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. The big break didnt come until President Johnson, another Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

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