Messitte contributes to opinion piece about Baltimore riots

President Zach Messitte was one of the authors of an opinion piece published in The Baltimore Sun. “Channelling Spiro Agnew in the Baltimore riots” addresses the fact that the current situation in Baltimore echoes a time when Agnew was a newly elected Republican governor of Maryland with little previous political experience that hailed from the suburbs and had to deal with racial unrest and rioting in the city during his first term.

“As the situation in Baltimore unfolded over the past week, it brought back memories of the violence that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968,” the piece reads. “His reaction to the unfolding situation helped make him a household name and led to a reshaping of American electoral politics.”

While local reaction was largely negative, the response around the nation was different, the piece reads. “Agnew’s handling of the Baltimore riots brought him onto the national stage and helped define political buzzwords like: ‘law and order,’ ‘Southern strategy’ and ‘silent majority’ to the body politic. And before his ignominious end, resigning in 1973 after pleading no contest to tax evasion from bribes, Agnew helped orient an important part of the Republican Party on a trajectory that leads directly to 2015.”

Messitte and his colleagues are writing a book on Spiro Agnew and the Republican Party.


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