Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Nixon, Trump and the lessons of Watergate – Audio Long Reads

Fifty years ago, the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon revealed flaws in American democracy that still haunt US politics today.

By Colin Kidd and Emily Tamkin

On 17 June 1972, a nightwatchman stumbled across a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington DC – triggering what became known as Watergate, the investigation that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Fifty years on, the historian Colin Kidd reflects on Watergate’s renewed relevance in a populist, post-Trump era. Did the scandal help fuel today’s political conspiracy theories? And did Donald Trump’s war on “fake news” begin with the “journalistic aggrandisement” of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein?

Kidd examines the parallels between Nixon and Trump – “the vindictiveness, the casual indifference to norms, the authoritarian instincts” – and the long-term lessons of Watergate: that lobbyists, millionaires and law-breaking still loom large in a corrupt system.

This article was originally published on Newstatesman.com on 6 April and in the New Statesman magazine on 8 April 2022. You can read the text version here.

Read by Emily Tamkin.

Podcast listeners can subscribe to the New Statesman for just £1 a week for 12 weeks using our special offer. Just visit newstatesman.com/podcastoffer.

Content from our partners
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up

How to listen to Audio Long Reads

1. In podcast apps

Audio Long Reads is available to listen on all major podcast players, including Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsYouTube and more.

Either click the links above to open in your preferred player, or open the podcast app on your device and search for “Audio Long Reads”.

Follow or subscribe in your podcast app to receive new episodes as soon as they publish.

2. On the New Statesman website

The podcast is also available to listen right here on the New Statesman website. Bookmark https://www.newstatesman.com/podcasts/audio-long-reads, where we will publish new episodes every Saturday morning.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod, ask it to “play the latest episode of Audio Long Reads from the New Statesman”.

The command will also work on other smart devices equipped with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.