RICHARD NIXON VERSUS THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA
Richard Nixon v. George McGovern, President, 1972
No look at dirty politics would be complete without some words about Nixon's near-total destruction of the Democratic Party in 1972. Ostensibly, the campaign was about the Republican nominee Nixon and the Democratic nominee George McGovern, but it was much bigger than that. Nixon's campaign was waged against the entire Democratic Party and, ultimately, against the rule of law.
President Nixon's campaign committee, the Committee to Reelect the President (CRP, or CREEP as it was known), actively coordinated with White House staff to weaken Democratic candidates for president throughout 1971 and 1972. This was accomplished through espionage, wiretapping, blackmail, forged documents, financial payoffs, burglary, cover-ups, and purgery, all sanctioned by the highest authorities in the land—the president, his senior staff, and the attorney general's office.
As a campaign strategy, it was incredibly effective-—that is, until everyone involved went to jail or resigned from office. What Watergate came to symbolize was an organized conspiracy from the highest office in the world to subvert the democratic process and evade any form of accountability. The general election campaign between Nixon and McGovern was just one act in this ongoing tragedy. Shakespeare would probably blush.
The feeling among Nixon and his confidants was that they had already had one election stolen from them (1960) and that his amazing political comeback in the late 1960s was endangered by Vietnam, civil rights, and economic uncertainties. They would have to take matters into their own