The American people are angry with the President of the United States. This is not a new phenomenon. In my life alone, we’ve been mad at every president from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump. We’ve suffered through Watergate, fumed over the Iranian hostages, gasped at selling arms to the enemy, grimaced through a sex trial, and we’ve ripped the letter W right off our dang keyboard.
It seems different this time, though, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it seem like we’re historically angry? Like this is as angry as we’ve ever been? Well, to answer that question, we have to remember how angry the country was in 1968.
In 1968, everybody was angry. Black people were angry. Young people were angry. Republicans were angry. Democrats were angry. They were all angry about the same thing: the Vietnam War, and they all blamed Lyndon Johnson. Heck, the week before the eventual Democratic convention, there were 125 separate protests by the American people. Johnson had already decided not to run again; now Johnson decided not to go to the convention.
The 1968 Democratic convention turned famously awful. Protesters were more likely to get beaten and dragged to jail than left alone. Inside the convention itself, Democratic delegates were also beaten and dragged to jail.
When the convention went haywire, President Johnson hatched a plan to fly in by helicopter and take the nomination. Except the Secret Service had some bad news. They told the President that there was no way to guarantee his safety if he made the voyage. Chicago was a war zone that night. It was too dangerous for the President of the United States to go to his own party’s convention. The people were angry.
Is this more anger than the current anger against Donald Trump? Well, yes and no. According to the Washington Post, there are more protests now and the percentage of those protests that are against President Trump specifically are over 80%. That’s the “yes” part.
However, the majority of the American people never liked Donald Trump anyway. He started with a 45% approval rating and it’s dropped since. Their anger is intense but predictable. Johnson, on the other hand, started his term with a 76% approval rating. The rating consistently plummeted until he left at the 45% Trump started with. With Johnson, their anger was cloaked in disappointment as well. Donald Trump hasn’t really “disappointed” anybody. Ah, the joy of low expectations.
For a full explanation of the Elections of 2016 and of 1968, please read my book.