Social Crises, Political Conflicts, and Cultural Contradictions of Nixonland: Tracing Constitutional Crisis in the USA from Nixon to Trump

  • Timothy W. Luke Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Keywords: Trump, Nixon, Constitution, Normal


Many developments, like greater domestic turmoil, economic dislocation, social immobility, and political gridlock, suggest "the public" and "the private" are different domains with the US than they were decades ago in 1969 when President Nixon entered office. The constitutional state, as a theory and set of practices in the USA in the Nixon era was put under tremendous strains, and it seems clear that those pressures fractured it. After Vietnam, stagflation, Watergate, and the transitional Ford Administration, has it ever been the same? The Reagan-Bush assault on the New Deal and Great Society as well as the essentially permanent mobilization for war in the Middle East since 1991 all should force us to conduct a radical check-up of the body politic, and ask if The Constitution is, in fact, the nation's benchmark for foundational law. This paper argues that major political and cultural shifts within the USA, as it has faced these new challenges since the 1970s that have been both domestic and global in nature, suggest that its 1787 Constitution no longer organically underpins the nation's dominant modes of the governance, principles of sovereignty, or notions of political legitimacy, as they have been expressed since 1969 or 2001 in the larger New World Order organized in Washington, D.C.



Author Biography

Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Timothy W. Luke is a University Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science. Luke's areas of research specialization include environmental and cultural studies as well as comparative politics, international political economy, and modern critical social and political theory. He teaches courses in the history of political thought, contemporary political theory, comparative and international politics. He has published books on a variety of topics including ecology, cyberculture, and art.


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This Is Not Normal