MSNBC Host/Guest Worry Campus Protests Could Spark ‘Ferocious’ Backlash, New Reagan Era
US President Ronald Reagan gestures while answering a reporters question from the podium during his 38th news conference held in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel during a trip to the Chicago area and visiting the State Fair in Springfield earlier in the day in Chicago, Illinois on August 12, 1986 (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

MSNBC host Alex Wagner and her guest, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, assessed the chaotic situation on many American college campuses and worried that the mass protests, anti-Semitic chants, and violence could spark a new Reagan era.

Wagner and Goldberg were responding to the New York Police Department’s actions in clearing protesters from Hamilton Hall — which was seized and barricaded by anti-Israel protesters — and they drew a direct comparison to 1968, the last time “anti-war” protesters had taken over that same building.


“Michelle, the — Hamilton Hall is — for people who are not familiar with the Columbia campus: in April of 1968, 56 years ago, hundreds of students seized the building during protests over the Vietnam War.  I do not think that was lost to the people who stormed Hamilton Hall. After a week- this is, again, in 1968, police entered through underground tunnels and cleared them out. Over 700 people were arrested,” Wagner explained.

“Right, and that’s remembered as a really dark chapter in Columbia’s history, which is why it’s so breathtaking to see them repeated,” Goldberg added.

Wagner went on to say that, with the 2024 presidential election fast approaching, she could see many similarities to the 1960s and the division being felt by many Americans on various issues.

“The country feels catastrophically divided on every — on every issue from basic facts to an actual policy vision,” she said. “Echoes of 1968 and I just wonder, you know, it’s hard to imagine that this is — that this imagery of the NYPD storming Columbia in this — in this moment is not going to reverberate in ways that we cannot yet see across the political divide.”

Goldberg followed Wagner down that road, noting that no matter how unpopular officials and law enforcement had become as photos circulated of them cracking down on protests — sometimes violently — the anti-war protesters also lost popularity and public support.


“I think we should remember what the kind of images of protest disorder did in the late 60s. Because even as the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular, so did the antiwar protests. And it was in part the backlash to that as well as to urban crime that gave us not just Richard Nixon but kind of un — except for a four-year oasis of Jimmy Carter, unbroken Republican rule until Bill Clinton,” Goldberg said. “And so I would expect that we are already seeing the backlash to this, but I would expect it to be ferocious.”

“The late ’70s were a period of retrenchment. And then 1980 saw Ronald Reagan and a conservative agenda that was fiercer, more focused and more effective than maybe any other conservative agenda in ways that we are still grappling with to this day,” Wagner complained, taking the comparison a step further. “I mean, it’s the establishment. The Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society. Any number of right-wing organizations. A master plan to retake the judiciary. I mean, what we saw in the aftereffect of the Vietnam War was really a brand of conservatism, a new Right that the country had never seen before.”

While addressing the audience at the White House News Photographers Association dinner, President Reagan said, "I've been told this is all off the record and the cameras are off and I've been waiting years to do this."

Getty Images

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  MSNBC Host/Guest Worry Campus Protests Could Spark ‘Ferocious’ Backlash, New Reagan Era