Spiro Agnew was the Vice President of the United States under Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He resigned from his position in disgrace after being convicted of bribery and tax evasion. Despite his fall from grace, the legacy of Spiro Agnew has continued to cast a shadow over American politics, long after his death.
Spiro Agnew’s Political Career
Spiro Agnew was born in 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his political career as the County Executive of Baltimore County, before being elected Governor of Maryland in 1966. In 1968, he was chosen by Richard Nixon to be his running mate in the presidential election.
Agnew was known for his controversial statements and actions during his time in office. He was critical of the media and accused them of biased reporting, famously calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism.” He also made derogatory comments about African Americans, Jews, and other minority groups.
In 1973, Agnew was indicted on charges of bribery, conspiracy, and tax evasion. He was accused of accepting bribes from contractors during his time as Governor of Maryland. He eventually pleaded no contest to a single count of tax evasion and resigned from his position as Vice President.
Despite his downfall, Spiro Agnew’s legacy continues to influence American politics. He was one of the first politicians to tap into the growing conservative movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and his populist rhetoric and attacks on the media have been echoed by many politicians since.
Spiro Agnew’s ghost has also been invoked in recent years to criticize the Trump administration, which many see as a continuation of the politics and rhetoric that Agnew championed. In an op-ed for the New York Times in 2018, journalist Tim Weiner wrote that the spirit of Spiro Agnew is alive and well in Donald Trump.
Spiro Agnew may have left office in disgrace, but his legacy continues to shape American politics today. His populist rhetoric, attacks on the media, and controversial statements have been echoed by many politicians in the decades since his resignation. As long as these ideas continue to resonate with a certain segment of the American population, Spiro Agnew’s ghost will continue to haunt American politics.