The rise in the presidential race of real estate mogul Donald Trump blindsided some of politics’ leading experts, but one video appeared to predict his success in the 2016 election and the current political climate — and it aired more than 50 years ago.
A 1964 presidential campaign ad is making waves on the internet for its striking clairvoyance, although it was made for the race between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. For four minutes in the video, titled “Confessions of a Republican,” actor Bill Bogert, a Republican, mulls the fate of his party after choosing Goldwater as its nominee at the GOP convention in San Francisco. The ad urges Republicans to vote for Johnson, the Democratic incumbent.
Bogert criticizes Goldwater for his fluctuating views and menacing rhetoric. “A craven fear of death is sweeping across America. What is that supposed to mean?” Bogert asks in the black-and-white ad.
Influential Republicans who have spoken out against Trump this election season are raising concerns similar to those Bogert voices about Goldwater. The 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted Trump in a speech last week. “Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes,” Romney said. “This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”
Like Goldwater in 1964, Trump has been endorsed by leading members of the Ku Klux Klan. Former KKK leader David Duke has called Trump the “best of the lot” for his immigration proposals.
“I wouldn’t have worried so much about party unity because if you unite behind a man you don’t believe in, it’s a lie,” Bogert says in the 1964 ad. “When the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor of the candidate of my party, either they’re not Republicans or I’m not.”
Trump’s rivals for the nomination have condemned his policies and remarks, but when pressed at the Republican primary debates, they have said they would vote for him if he is the nominee. By contrast, in the 1964 ad Bogert warns against rallying behind a candidate who does not reflect the party as a whole, even if he is the nominee.
“I thought about not voting in this election,” Bogert says in the ad for Johnson. “I thought about staying home, but that is saying I don’t care, and I do care. I think my party made a bad mistake in San Francisco and I am going to have to vote against that mistake.”
Many took to social media Wednesday to remark on the parallels between the two elections. “Swap the names, and you could run it today with almost no other changes. Uncanny,” one user wrote.
Campaign ad from 1964: https://t.co/ubRUBz7JQw
Swap the names, and you could run it today with almost no other changes. Uncanny.
— Doc Webb (@The_Doc_Webb) March 10, 2016